Blog & News

Starting Quarter # 4? Here's A Student Challenge!

Lots of teachers write in to ask about how they can create student incentives and challenges to help drive usage and get maximum results with students using Penda. Penda's Implementation & Support Services Team put together some simple DOs and DONTs to support teachers (and schools) in executing successful student competitions/challenges.



- Student Choice - keep in mind that while some students are extrinsically motivated, other students are driven intrinsically so striking a balance is key! Give students a choice to opt in or out for a competition/challenge. Not all students are motivated by peer competition, but might still want to have their own independent competition - comparing their progress and scores against top performing students.

- Know Your Penda Data - take time to explore your teacher account to fully understand what data is available to you through the leaderboard (class and student tab) and via detailed Report views. This preparation will help you implement and execute your competition/challenge with ease and avoid frustration when it comes to pulling or analyzing data - there's nothing worse than starting a competition/challenge, only to realize you can't get the data you were hoping or wanting. For example, the leaderboard class points tab resets each month to promote competition, while the student tab shows total points earned by students since the beginning of the academic year. Currently, class points are not logged for each month, and date range filters cannot be applied. Thus, teachers must export class points on the last day on the month before the class tabs reset, if they wish to use this data.

- Quality Over Quantity! In using Penda, the goal is for students to complete the activities with accuracy, so be sure to frame your challenge/competition around completing activities with a minimum score of X% (we recommend 80%). Create a competition that focuses on "green activities" (green = mastery, 80%+).

- Whole Picture - consider holistic usage, taking into consideration task hours, average score on review activities, amount of time outside of school (4:00pm - 7:00am) **since it's outside of school, this truly is independent practice, total class points as presented on the leaderboard at the given time. Items 1, 2, and 3 listed can be found easily through your teacher account under "Reports - detailed," using the yellow status bar across the top of right pane.

- Stick To The Plan - develop a competition with clear start and end dates, competition factors, and incentives then stick to it! Consider starting competitions/challenges on the first of the month and ending on the last day of the month. By doing so, you'll be able to easily monitor competition data points, such as the leaderboard (keep in mind the leaderboard class tab resets each month).

-Visual, Visual, Visual - make a conscious effort to promote your competition/challenge visually. Reserve whiteboard/wall space to chart progress and recognize students. Display class points and update regularly to keep competitive spirits ignited. Recognize students throughout the competition/challenge period through verbal praise (MVP of the week, most improved of the week, etc) and whiteboard/wall space where student names can be placed onto once they reach certain thresholds.



- Don't mandate that every student must participate. Instead, gain student buy-in.

- Don't focus only on total student points or number of activities completed. Instead, focus on quality of work (scores, mastery level, color indicator)

- Don't change the competition mid-stream, changing the target, start/stop dates, or incentives. Instead, stick with the plan full steam ahead.

- Don't expect students to be excited about the competition/challenge, if you aren't.


Have you had success with a Penda competition/challenge in your classroom or school? We'd love to hear what made it a success, your list of DOs and DON'Ts, and learn from expert Penda teachers in the field. Write us via email at to share your competition/challenge experience.

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