WWC review of this study

The Impacts of Three Educational Technologies on Algebraic Understanding in the Context of COVID-19 [From Here to There! vs. Business-as-usual]

Decker-Woodrow, Lauren E.; Mason, Craig A.; Lee, Ji-Eun; Chan, Jenny Yun-Chen; Sales, Adam; Liu, Allison; Tu, Shihfen (2023). AERA Open v9 n1 p1-17 . Retrieved from: https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED627889

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
    , grade

Reviewed: December 2023

At least one finding shows strong evidence of effectiveness
At least one statistically significant positive finding
Meets WWC standards without reservations
Algebra outcomes—Statistically significant positive effect found for the domain
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
Significant? Improvement

Algebraic Knowledge Assessment (posttest)

From Here to There! (FH2T) vs. Active Control Problem Sets with Post-Assignment Feedback

2 Weeks

Full sample - From Here to There;
1,119 students





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: 48%
    Male: 52%

  • Suburban
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  • Race
    Native American
    Other or unknown
    Pacific Islander
  • Ethnicity
    Not Hispanic or Latino    
  • Eligible for Free and Reduced Price Lunch
    Other or unknown    


This study took place in grade 7 classrooms from one large district in the southeastern United States and included 9 suburban middle schools and 34 teachers. For students in the 8 schools providing in-person instruction, the study occurred during math classrooms. For students in the one school providing virtual instruction, the study assignments were given as part of the student’s home learning assignments.

Study sample

The researchers randomly assigned a total of 2,149 students within classrooms to the intervention group (1,430 students) or the comparison group (719 students). The analytic sample included 753 and 366 intervention and comparison students, respectively, in 143 classrooms taught by 34 grade 7 math teachers in 9 schools. The sample was made up of 48% female, 52% White, 25% Asian, 5% Black, 1% American Indian, less than 1% Pacific Islander, and 18% of students had other or unknown race. The sample included 15% Hispanic students. The sample also included 8% students with individualized education programs.

Intervention Group

From Here to There! (FH2T) is an educational technology game that seeks to improve student math proficiency by using embodied cognition and perceptual learning theories. Within FH2T, algebraic notations undergo a transformation into interactive elements that enforce mathematical rules through their physical movements. Students interact with and alter mathematical expressions through a range of gestures, including dragging and tapping, which are performed on the screen. In each problem presented by FH2T, students are confronted with two expressions: an initial expression, which is dynamic and amenable to transformation, and a target goal that, while mathematically equivalent, differs from the initial expression. To reach the target, students employ algebraic principles. Intervention students were provided with a total of nine 30-minute sessions throughout the academic year. They were given a two-week timeframe to complete each session, with four sessions in the fall semester and five in the spring semester. Before and after the intervention, students underwent assessments that lasted 40 to 45 minutes, covering topics such as algebraic knowledge, mathematics anxiety, and self-efficacy. All interventions and assessments were conducted online, with students working independently at their own pace using electronic devices. The mathematical content included arithmetic and algebraic equation solving. A countdown timer was integrated into the system to ensure that students spent a similar amount of time using the technology. Students had the flexibility to pause and resume the timer, allowing for breaks and resumption at their convenience.

Comparison Group

Students in the comparison condition received the same math content as the intervention group, including arithmetic and algebraic equation solving. Comparison students also completed assignments using the same types of technology offered to the intervention condition students. Students in the comparison condition received feedback after their assignments were complete, rather than during the exercise.

Support for implementation

The authors did not describe any support for implementation.


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