As the seventh-largest school district in the U.S., Houston Independent School District (HISD) sought a solution to support technology centralization across its 284 K-12 schools. With the help of ESSER funds, HISD partnered with Quizizz, a teacher-powered learning platform selected to promote equity and positively impact student achievement.
By upgrading to a Quizizz District Plan, HISD unlocked:
- Unlimited districtwide library access and account storage
- Greater engagement, motivation, and mastery for all students
- Standards tagging, and enhanced tools for differentiation and scaffolding
- Professional development and dedicated support
- LMS integration with Canvas for the 2022–2023 school year
Commitment to Equity is a Core Value for HISD
As the largest school district in Texas, HISD covers 333 square miles of Houston and is one of the largest employers in the city. Vast in size and in diversity, HISD places a wealth of pride on its mission, as does its Academic Instructional Technology (AIT) team.
“We hold equity at the center of the long-term vision of our district,” said James Newman, HISD’s Senior Manager of AIT. “We are responsible for developing 21st century classrooms that increase engagement, communication, creativity, and close gaps in access and achievement for all learners.” A 20-year HISD veteran, Newman taught for over a decade in elementary education, then later joined the Professional Support & Development Team. Today he manages a group of EdTech specialists who coach throughout the district.
AIT’s Key Initiatives Included Technology Alignment
HISD had a steady history of instructional technology use, but when the pandemic caused a quick and crucial surge in the need for online resources, teachers across the district scrambled to register for a variety of learning platforms to use in their virtual classrooms.
As a result of all the new options, the AIT team developed a plan to better align technology tools districtwide, and educate all HISD teachers on how to use them. This decision, Newman explained, enables the district to ensure that equity and achievement are accessible for every child, no matter which teacher they have or which school they attend. Additionally, it benefits student security and curricular alignment.
“My vision for this team of AIT specialists is that all we do is grounded in instruction and best practices,” Newman said. “Once we establish instructional needs, we embed digital tools and tech integration to increase engagement, rigor, communication, and achievement.”
Quizizz Engagement and Value Consistent Across HISD Campuses
After returning to in-person learning, HISD’s AIT team was anxious to assess which platforms remained on educators’ radar and why. “Quizizz was an early contender as a tool to check for understanding and increase student interactivity in lessons, both virtually and in hybrid, concurrent settings,” Newman said. “The ease of use and cross-platform interoperability made Quizizz accessible for 1:1 and low- or no-tech campuses alike.”
With the 2020–2021 school year underway and the Quizizz Basic plan continuing to prove its worth, teachers began to emphasize the additional benefits of upgrading. The AIT team noticed Quizizz engagement remained high even after the return to in-person learning, whereas many other platforms’ numbers had dipped, Newman said. It was then that a Quizizz District Plan became a serious consideration.
ESSER Funding Made HISD’s Quizizz Procurement Possible
Eventually, securing ESSER funding was what helped seal the deal for HISD to acquire a Quizizz District Plan. HISD began the Quizizz pilot program in July 2021, and shortly after in the fall, a two-year contract was signed.
In order to provide supportive onboarding services, HISD’s AIT team underwent initial training sessions with Quizizz, said Vania Willms, the AIT team’s Senior Business Systems Analyst. Even for a district of this size, Quizizz ensured authentication was straightforward. “Along with accessing via Google or Microsoft, teachers also have the option to click on a link under ‘Resources’ via Clever,” Willms said. “It’s just a web link, no Clever authentication.” Quizizz also integrates with Canvas, HISD’s LMS beginning the 2022–2023 school year.
Quizizz Caters to 21st Century Instruction
By providing HISD untethered access to the platform’s teaching tools — which are based on the learning science principles of gamification, spaced repetition, and adaptive learning — the Quizizz District Plan supports every educator and, most importantly, every learner.
Making up for pandemic-related learning loss and achievement gaps is a key focus for schools around the world, and now that technology is such a paramount part of learning, districts like HISD are using Quizizz to help adapt to the future rather than revert to the past.
“I have visited, coached, co-taught and taught in classes that use Quizizz,” Newman said. “With the proper planning, Quizizz engages students in ways that paper-pencil tasks cannot. When the lesson and assessment are turned into collaborative game-like experiences, students are required to communicate and justify thinking in ways that aren’t expected of them through more traditional methods. With digital tools such as Quizizz, students are required to engage at 100 percent, which leads to better discussion, misconceptions rise to the surface to be addressed, and overall discourse and high-level thinking increases.”
Accessibility for All Learners Across All Ages
As a platform that empowers teachers to motivate students, Quizizz offers HISD’s 194,000 students and 10,000 educators unlimited access to state standards-aligned content, account storage, customizable reporting, collaboration opportunities, and more. Along with these benefits, meeting the needs of a wide variety of age ranges, subject areas, ability levels, and backgrounds is simplified on Quizizz because the platform is teacher-powered.
“We appreciate the fact that Quizizz encourages teacher input and creation,” Newman said. “It allows for ease of access through read-aloud, visuals, ability for teachers to record questions and students to record responses, and translation support. We also value how easy it is to differentiate for learners throughout the lesson, depending on mastery level or individual or small group needs. You can simply reteach using the Live Whiteboard feature, for example, and access scaffolded content for continued review or accelerated learning. Since Quizizz is data-driven and focused, our users are able to quickly assess learning, group students based on mastery of a specific objective, and inform instruction in the moment.”
Quizizz is popular amongst middle and high school teachers, but HISD elementary teachers strategically using the platform can also see big gains in academic growth. With choices that include Quizzes, Lessons, Homework and more, the flexibility of implementation is in the hands of the teacher, but the overall benefits remain constant across all grade levels.
“When used to engage students in an aligned interaction,” Newman said, “Quizizz motivates, increases confidence, and can help to establish a culture of learning and growing from mistakes.”
Engagement and Collaboration Continue to Flourish
Less than six months after acquiring a Quizizz District Plan, HISD’s engagement numbers on the platform are impressive and prove that HISD is successfully promoting the use of Quizizz so far.
As an ongoing effort to continue educating users about the platform across the district, Quizizz participates in HISD’s monthly Tech Tuesday trainings. These sessions, Newman said, have been a successful way to get the word out and build teacher and leader awareness of HISD’s available technology resources.
Additionally, HISD teachers and even administrators collaborate with one another by sharing best practices on social media. In the future, Quizizz and HISD will partner on more training and coaching initiatives to ensure engagement remains strong, learnings stay fresh, and professional development inspires best practices to benefit all students.