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: September 2016

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

PLATO vs. Business as usual

1 Semester

Full sample;
39 classes




Show Supplemental Findings

Math test score

PLATO 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 3 school districts and across 13 different schools. Two of the school districts were considered to be located in urban fringe areas and the other one was located in a small town. The average district had 63 schools with roughly 41,000 students.

Study sample

Teachers in the classrooms averaged 11 years of teaching experience (intervention = 8.56; comparison = 12.74) with just under half of the teachers holding a master's degree (33%; 24% in intervention and 44% in comparison). The teachers were mostly female with 81% in the intervention and 78% female teachers in the comparison group. Students in these classrooms were an average age of 11.7; all students were in 6th grade. Fifty-one percent of the students were female (intervention = 52%; comparison = 51%). No other characteristics were reported.

Intervention Group

Classrooms in the intervention used the PLATE Achieve Now program. PLATO Achieve Now is a supplemental math curriculum published by PLATO Learning Inc., for teaching students pre-algebra topics in grade 6. Topics instructed include rational numbers in related organizational patterns, proportion and percent, integers, probability, statistics, problem solving, geometry, measurement, and the foundational concepts of algebra I. The program is used by students independently and helps to reinforce math skills. Students are assessed and scores from the assessment are used to place students within different sections. Students work at their own pace on activities identified by the teacher. The program recommends that students use the program at least 30 minutes per day, four days a week, for at least 10 weeks.

Comparison Group

Comparison students received business-as-usual.

Support for implementation

Intervention classroom teachers received training through web-based meetings and on-line self-tutorials. Teachers also received on-going support throughout the school year. The estimated annual cost, per student, to implement the program was $36. Of that amount 42% was used for license fees and the remaining 58% was used for teacher training and support, technical support, and printed materials and supplies.


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