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Technology + Innovation = Gains in Math

• Andrew Kossack

Recently, New Classrooms released an independent study of the first two years of implementation of its new middle school math program called Teach to One, which is a blended and personalized learning program that allows students to learn at their own academic level in an instructional format that is most likely to help them succeed. In the Teach to One program, students might learn through a combination of classroom instruction, collaborative group work and online learning formats – often all within the same open classroom.

The study, which was conducted by Dr. Douglas Ready of Columbia University’s Teachers College,  analyzed progress on the Northwest Evaluation Association’s Measures of Academic Progress from students in Teach to One programs in New York City, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Charlotte, N.C., and northern New Jersey. The results showed that during the program’s second year, approximately 6,000 fifth through eighth grade students in the math programs showed 1.5 years of progress, which is 47% above the national average. The gains were impressive across subgroups, with African-American students making 1.4 years of progress, or 36% above the national average. Dr. Ready characterized these results as “quite promising.”

These encouraging results come in the wake of November’s report from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Early Progress: Interim Report on Personalized Learning. That study, conducted by the Rand Corporation, showed that students in personalized learning programs made significantly greater gains in math and reading over a two-year period than students in traditional classroom environments.

In November, prior to the National Summit on Education Reform, ExcelinEd and Digital Learning Now hosted a policy hackathon for policy makers that included a tour of several Washington, D.C. schools. One of those schools was Hart Middle School, which has implemented the Teach to One math program for its students. Tom Vander Ark and Carrie Schneider of Getting Smart blogged about Hart’s Teach to One program after the tour:

Hart features Teach to One from New Classrooms, an R&D project aiming to redefine math education. Exit tickets drive a recommendation engine which develops a suggested schedule for every student every day that is customized to individual academic goals. Students rotate through eight different stations. Hart is one of 15 schools nationally with the groundbreaking personalized math program.

Stay tuned to the ExcelinEd’s EdFly Blog and Digital Learning Now for more information about how personalized and blended learning initiatives like these are impacting student achievement and success.

About the author

Andrew Kossack

Andrew is the Deputy Policy Director for Next Generation Reform for the Foundation for Excellence in Education. Previously, he served in a number of senior roles for the State of Indiana under two governors and a state superintendent of public instruction. Most recently, Kossack was General Counsel and Policy Director at the Office of Management and Budget under Governor Mike Pence. Kossack also served as Governor Pence’s first Education and Workforce Policy Director. Before joining the Office of the Governor, Kossack was Deputy Chief of Staff under Indiana State Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. Tony Bennett. His first role for the State of Indiana was under former Governor Mitch Daniels, who appointed him as the Indiana Public Access Counselor. Kossack received his undergraduate degree from Butler University and his law degree from Indiana University’s Robert H. McKinney School of Law, where he was an editor of the Indiana Law Review.