WWC review of this study

Effectiveness of Reading and Mathematics Software Products: Findings From Two Student Cohorts. NCEE 2009-4041

Campuzano, Larissa; Dynarski, Mark; Agodini, Roberto; Rall, Kristina (2009). National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance. Retrieved from: https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED504657

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
    , grade

Reviewed: February 2017

No statistically significant positive
Meets WWC standards without reservations
General Mathematics Achievement outcomes—Indeterminate effect found for the domain
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
Significant? Improvement

Math test score

Larson Pre-Algebra vs. Business as usual

1 Semester

Full sample;
39 classes




Show Supplemental Findings

Math test score

Larson Pre-Algebra vs. Business as usual

1 Semester

Year 2 classrooms only;
18 classes





Evidence Tier rating based solely on this study. This intervention may achieve a higher tier when combined with the full body of evidence.

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.

  • Female: 51%
    Male: 49%

  • Urban


The study took place within 5 school districts and across 13 different schools. Three of the school districts were considered to be located in urban fringe areas and the other two were considered urban areas. The average district had 225 schools with roughly 186,975 students.

Study sample

Teachers in the classrooms averaged 11 years of teaching experience (intervention = 11.58; comparison = 9.02) with just under half of the teachers holding a master's degree (31%; 33% in intervention and 27% in comparison). The teachers were mostly female with 46% in the intervention and 73% female teachers in the comparison group. Students in these classrooms were an average age of 11.62; all were in 6th grade. Fifty-one percent of the students were female (intervention = 51%; comparison = 50%). No other characteristics were reported.

Intervention Group

Intervention classrooms implemented the Larson Pre-Algebra curriculum as a supplement in their classrooms. The Larson Pre-Algebra supplemental curriculum is the same as the Larson Algebra curriculum with the exception that it starts at a different time point and covers earlier topics. Topics covered in this curriculum include whole numbers, fractions, decimals, percents, rational numbers, probability and statistics, coordinate geometry, pre-algebra, and algebra. The curriculum works on skill building and problem solving. Teachers track student progress during the curriculum. The curriculum developer recommends that the curriculum is used at least once on a weekly basis. The curriculum is designed to be used in computer labs.

Comparison Group

Comparison students received business-as-usual.

Support for implementation

Teachers received between two hours and one full day of pre-implementation training. Teachers had access to support via phone, email, or the product web site. The estimated annual cost, per student, to implement the program was $15. Of that amount 60% was used for license fees and the remaining 40% was used for teacher training and support, technical support, and printed materials and supplies.


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