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Effectiveness of Reading and Mathematics Software Products: Findings from the First Student Cohort
NCEE 2007-4005
March 2007

Effects of Sixth Grade Math Products

The sixth grade study included three products that were implemented in 10 districts and 28 schools. The sample included 81 teachers and 3,136 students. The three products were Larson Pre-Algebra (published by Houghton-Mifflin), Achieve Now (published by Plato), and iLearn Math (published by iLearn).

Products provided tutorial and practice opportunities and assessed student skills. Topics covered include operations with fractions, decimals, and percents; plane and coordinate geometry; ratios, rates, and proportions; operations with whole numbers and integers; probability and data analysis; and measurement. Two products were supplements to the math curriculum, and one was intended as a core curriculum. The study estimated the average licensing fees for the products to be about $18 a student for the school year, with a range of $9 to $30.

Student usage was about 17 hours a year, or about 11 percent of math instructional time, according to data from product records (available for two of the three products). In control classrooms, teachers reported about 3 hours of use of other technology products, which was much less than the 51 hours of study product usage reported by treatment teachers.

Sixth grade math products did not affect test scores by amounts that were statistically different from zero (see Figure 4). As with other products, the study observed large effects between schools. However, statistical tests indicated that the school and classroom characteristics measured in the study were not related to the differences in test scores.