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IES Grant

Title: Closing the Achievement Gap in Middle School Mathematics Utilizing Stanford University's Education Program for Gifted Youth Differentiated Mathematics Program
Center: NCER Year: 2008
Principal Investigator: Suppes, Patrick Awardee: Stanford University
Program: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education      [Program Details]
Award Period: 4 years Award Amount: $2,996,641
Type: Efficacy and Replication Award Number: R305A080464

Purpose: The failure to meet the educational needs of low socioeconomic status students continues to be a problem of national significance. The Stanford University's Education Program for Gifted Youth (EPGY) can help meet the educational needs of low socioeconomic status students. Results from an evaluation of the EPGY program in Title I elementary schools in California showed that students who used the program improved their mathematics performance on the California Standards Test. Following the same methodology used for the elementary school evaluation, the researchers will determine the degree to which the EPGY program can improve students' mathematics performance in middle school. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the efficacy of the EPGY program in middle schools with large percentages of low socioeconomic status students.

Project: The EPGY intervention is a computer-based program that is used as a component of or a supplement to traditional math instruction. The researchers will conduct a randomized control trial of the efficacy of the program with 1200 students from 12 middle schools in northern California. Students within each class will be rank ordered by their previous year's California Standards Test score and then, starting from the top, be randomly assigned to treatment or control conditions. The randomized controlled trial will take place during Phase I the study. During Phases II and III of the study, the researchers will move to a whole school implementation of the program and decrease the amount of program support provided at the school from two to three days per week to three days per month, respectively.

Products: The expected outcomes of this research include published reports on the efficacy of the EPGY program for use in increasing middle school students' mathematics achievement.

Structured Abstract

Setting: The participating schools are in northern California.

Population: The sample consists of sixth and seventh grade students from 12 Title I middle schools. These participating schools serve a large percentage of minority students, English language learners, and socioeconomically disadvantaged students. A target sample of 300 students per school will participate in the study with a total of 3,600 students across the twelve middle schools.

Intervention: The EPGY intervention is a computer-based program that is used as a component of or a supplement to traditional math instruction. Students will use the program between 100 and 150 minutes per week. The EPGY program is self-paced, individualized, and designed to detect and address gaps in student preparation. Because of the continual assessment and individualization, the program is ideal for students who have had poor preparation, and who may be presently performing below grade level in some skills while excelling in others. In addition, the EGPY program can provide information on student progress ranging from summaries of performance measures to detailed reports showing student learning trends, areas of strengths and weaknesses, and forecasts of end-of-year performance. Reports are available at different levels of aggregation ranging from student, class, grade, school, or district level. In addition to the summary reports, teachers can replay actual student sessions, and allow them to monitor students' learning, identify problem areas, and intervene as necessary.

Research Design and Methods: An efficacy study will be conducted on students in sixth and seventh grade from 12 middle schools. Four middle schools will participate in Year 1, three additional middle schools will be added in Years 2 and 3, and two additional middle schools will be added in Year 4. During the first year that each school implements the study (i.e. Phase I), a randomized controlled trial will be conducted with randomization occurring at the student level. Within each of the sixth and seventh grade classes in the school, students will be rank ordered by their score on the mathematics section of the California Standards Test and randomized into treatment and control conditions. The treatment group will use the course on a daily or every-other-day basis, under the direction of their teacher, but with EPGY personnel on hand in a non-instructional role during the initial phases to ensure proper implementation of the program. Beginning in the second year (i.e., Phase II) of implementation at each school, the experimental design will change to whole class implementation, with the program being made available to the entire school for use inside and outside the regular school day.

Control Condition: The control group will receive their usual mathematics instruction without EPGY.

Key Measures: Math achievement will be measured by students' scores on the mathematics section of the California Standards Test.

Data Analytic Strategy: Data analyses using regression, covariate analyses, and multilevel models will be conducted along with paired sample t-tests, Mann-Whitney tests, and binomial tests of changes in proficiency levels.



Suppes, P. (2013). Individual Difference in Online Computer-Based Learning: Gifted and Other Diverse Populations.Stanford, CA: CSLI Publications.

Journal article, monograph, or newsletter

Suppes, P., Holland, P.W., Hu, Y., and Vu, M.T. (2013). Effectiveness of an Individualized Computer-Driven Online Math K-5 Course in Eight California Title I Elementary Schools. Educational Assessment, 18(3): 162–181.

Suppes, P., Liang, T., Macken, E.E., and Flickinger, D.P. (2014). Positive Technological and Negative Pre-Test-Score Effects in a Four-Year Assessment of Low Socioeconomic Status K-8 Student Learning in Computer-Based Math and Language Arts Courses. Computers and Education, 71: 23–32.