A learning management system built for progressive grading systems that encourages students to take ownership over their educucation.

Photo of Ozzy Simpson
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  • Education

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  • No

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(626) 676-2120 1801 Country Lane, Pasadena, CA 91107

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Date You Started Your Project Started


Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.

  • Start-Up (first few activities have happened)

1. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

Traditional grading systems are outdated and don’t accurately reflect students’ skills and progress. High schools know this, but face two roadblocks in switching to better grading systems: college admissions and clearly implementing complex grading systems. Work is already being done on the former, but schools still do not have clear and developed digital systems to use grading systems that better represent a student’s abilities.

2. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

We’re building Shoosh, a learning management system (LMS) that is built around mastery- and standards-based grading systems and other progressive education ideologies. With Shoosh, students and teachers will be able to easily keep track of their progress on the learning objectives (LOs) of their classes. The Mastery Transcript Consortium (MTC) is building a transcript that is based on interdisciplinary “credits” in skill areas that students will exemplify throughout their high school careers. Credits will be supported on the transcript by the student’s work. We’re working with the MTC to make it easier for students to keep track of the credits that they have received credit for already and which they are working in. Shoosh will be able to suggest credits students should try to exemplify based on their progress on LOs. It will also be able to suggest classes they should take based on what credits they are aiming to show on their transcripts. Shoosh will also encourage collaboration and self-reflection with an integrated project dashboard that makes it easy to collaborate on projects with classmates and through self-assessments on assignment rubrics after a student submits work.

3. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project?

Since fourth grade, Ozzy’s been interested in building an LMS, even before he knew what an LMS really was. But at that age, Ozzy didn’t have the skills necessary to start building it (although he was starting to develop websites then). Fast forward to ninth grade, where we both started at a new high school that was using mastery-based grading. It was hard to understand how the new grading system worked, and the digital tools we were using were making it more complex. Teachers have designed elaborate spreadsheets to keep track of our grades, but it doesn’t allow the grading system to do what it really is meant to do. After being frustrated with the issue, we decided to work on the issue for our 11th and 12th grade Social Impact project. As students, we have a unique perspective on the issue and can identify with stakeholders more than executives at educational technology companies can.

4. Selfie Elevator Pitch: Include 1-minute video that answers the following “I am stepping up to make change because...”

5. Example: Please walk us through a specific example of what happens when a person or group gets involved with your project.

A teacher just shared feedback on a student’s assignment and the student receives an email saying so. They go to the assignment page and see that they “met” the learning objective for analysis, but are still approaching the standard for grammar conventions. The teacher also left the student some comments about their work related to the LOs that were assessed. There, the teacher compared the student’s self-assessment done in the LMS with their own assessment and commented on how the student was undervaluing their work. The assignment page also showed to the student that this assignment was on par with some of their latest work in the class. The student goes back to the class page to see what work they have coming up, and the LMS recommends to the student that they should take an advanced English class based on their mastery of certain LOs in that class.

6. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?

Within the LMS space there are very few companies that have put in the effort to implement progressive grading into their platforms. And those that do often fail to create an inviting user experience and face low adoption rates because their systems are still built on the foundation of a traditional grading experience. Our goal is to create a platform that eases the burden of transitioning to and simplifies progressive grading systems with the help of digital tools. By leveraging machine learning, we aim to give students more ownership over their education and become excited to learn.

7. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?

While we’re a little past idea-stage, nothing has been implemented yet. However, we have conducted some testing of our wireframe with some students and teachers and got good feedback about what to change. Going forward, we hope to measure our impact by doing more user testing sessions with real prototypes and ensuring that we’re building effective tools for schools. During testing, we will gather data from stakeholders about how easy it is to navigate, understand progress in classes, and how quick they are able to complete common tasks. Once the LMS is built, we’ll be able to measure our impact by the number of schools using it and whether students are learning more and/or have a better understanding of the progress they’ve made in their classes. After the LMS is being used in schools, we will continue doing regular user feedback sessions to continue to adapt to our users’ needs.

8. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?

A year from now we hope to have a high quality mockup of the LMS that has been tested with stakeholders from at least five schools. We hope to have a prototype in the next two years that schools can start to beta test and provide real-world feedback on. We hope to have at least five schools beta testing the LMS by the start of the 2021-22 school year. In ten years, we hope every high school in the US is using more progressive grading systems that reflect students’ progress and knowledge. While we hope by then that we’re not the only LMS supporting these grading systems, we still hope that our LMS is leading the way in using technology to further progressive education ideologies.

9. Which of the following types of expertise would be most useful for you?

  • Web/Mobile Development

10. Finances: If applicable, have you mobilized any of the following resources so far?

  • Mentors/advisors

Help Us Support Diversity! Part 1 [optional] Which of the following categories do you identify with?

  • White (for example: German, Irish, English, Italian, Polish, French) (6)

Help Us Support Diversity! Part 2 [optional] Do you identify as part of any of the following underrepresented communities?

  • Disability community
  • Religious minority (non-Christian)

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Recommended by others
  • Participated in previous Ashoka challenges
  • Email

Evaluation results

3 evaluations so far

1. Overall evaluation

5 - This idea rocked my world. It’s awesome! - 0%

4 - This idea seems really exciting. With a little more polishing, it’d be among my favorites. - 66.7%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 33.3%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - It didn’t make my heart beat faster. - 0%

2. Changemaker Quality

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 0%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 66.7%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 33.3%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

3. Creativity

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 0%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 100%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 0%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

No Answer - 0%

4. Commitment

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 50%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 0%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 100%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

No Answer - 0%

5. Connection

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 0%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 33.3%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 66.7%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

No Answer or No Connection - 0%

Attachments (1)


This PDF contains all of the pages already wireframed. All pages shown are the student's view, although admin and teacher pages will have similar elements.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Levi Grimm

Hi Ozzy! What a great idea! I am a junior at a high school in Ohio and this is exactly what we need. In fact, our English class is currently doing project-based learning focused on school pressure and teens. One of the biggest stressors right now are grades and the desire to be seen as successful. Our class has actually talked about changing the grading method at our school from a letter system to progressive grading. Having just completed lots of research on student mental health and I am in awe of your idea! I love it! If you ever need a school to test in or would like more student feedback please contact me at Good luck with all your testing!

Photo of Ozzy Simpson

Thanks so much, Levi! You’re kind of exactly who we need to talk to right now—a student at a school that isn’t fully using progressive grading systems, but is looking into it. James and I would love to talk to you to get your feedback on what we have so far, and hear about your research! I’ll email you soon to schedule a time to talk :)

Photo of Levi Grimm

Sounds great! Let's get the conversations started!

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