The schools included in the study were distributed across the state of Georgia and represented
a mixture of rural, urban, and suburban communities.
Using information provided by the Georgia Department of Education, the study authors identified
Georgia schools that used the Saxon Math curricula between 2000 and 2005, as well as
schools that did not use Saxon Math but had similar student demographics to those who did.
The study sample included students in grades 1–8 in 170 intervention schools and 172 comparison
schools. This intervention report focuses only on findings for grades 1–5, because
grades 6–8 are outside of the scope of this review. Data for the intervention group came from
85 schools for first grade, 85 schools for second grade, 83 schools for third grade, 79 schools
for fourth grade, and 79 schools for fifth grade. Data for the comparison group came from 144
schools for first grade, 144 schools for second grade, 135 schools for third grade, 131 schools
for fourth grade, and 129 schools for fifth grade. The authors reported no significant differences
in baseline math performance between the Saxon and non-Saxon schools.
The Saxon Math curricula were used as a core curriculum in the intervention schools. These
schools used the version of the Saxon Math program that was appropriate for each grade
level. Participating schools had used the program for an average of three years.
Comparison group schools were selected from among all Georgia schools that did not implement
Saxon Math based on propensity score matching methods. Schools were matched
based on the their percentages of students who were female, African American, White, Hispanic,
Native American, limited English proficient, educationally disadvantaged, migrant, disabled,
gifted, and having left school during the prior year. The comparison group schools used
a mixture of non-Saxon curricula. Sixty-two percent of the schools in the comparison group
used basal math curricula with chapter-based approaches to teaching math. Five percent of
the schools used curricula with an investigative approach. The remaining 33% of the schools
used curricula that were a mix of basal, investigative, and computer-based approaches. No
additional information was provided by the authors about the specific components of the
basal, investigative, or computer-based approaches.
Study authors measured outcomes using Georgia’s Criterion-Referenced Competency Test
(CRCT), which assesses competency in number sense and numeration, geometry and measurement,
patterns and relations/algebra, statistics and probability, computation and estimation,
and problem solving. The authors note that per state policy, only school-level data
could be released. Fourth-grade students were tested in each school year from 1999–2000 to
2004–05. First-grade, second-grade, third-grade, and fifth-grade students were tested in the
spring of school years 2001–02, 2003–04, and 2004–05. All posttest scores are from spring
2005. For a more detailed description of this outcome measure, see Appendix B.
Support for implementation
The intervention and comparison schools in the study were all using their curricula as part of
business-as-usual operations and did not receive additional implementation support as a part
of the study. Therefore, teachers received the training and implementation support normally provided with their school’s curriculum. The study does not provide additional details on implementation support that schools may have received from curricula developers or other parties.