The study was conducted in 524 classrooms across 36 schools in the Hillsborough County Public School District in Florida. The study occurred in the 2000–01 and 2001–02 school years.
The district implemented I CAN Learn® Algebra and I CAN Learn® Pre-Algebra in select classrooms within 12 middle schools during the 2000–01 school year. In the 2001–02 school year, the 12 middle schools continued implementing I CAN Learn®, and two more middle schools began implementing it. For the evaluation, within each study school, district staff selected comparison classrooms that used traditional instruction and matched them on several factors including: students’ prior achievement, time of day, instructional time, class size, and proportion of minority students. This review is based on the I CAN Learn® Pre-Algebra classrooms in the first (2000–01) and second year (2001–02) of the study, which included students in all of the district’s 36 middle schools in MJ-3 and MJ-3 Advanced classrooms with pre- and posttest data. In 2000–01, the MJ-3 analysis included 32 I CAN Learn® classrooms and 32 comparison classrooms. The MJ-3 Advanced analysis included 10 I CAN Learn® classrooms and 10 comparison classrooms. In 2001–02 school year, the MJ-3 analysis included 64 I CAN Learn® classrooms and 264 comparison classrooms. The MJ-3 Advanced analysis included 37 I CAN Learn® classrooms and 75 comparison classrooms.
There were 9,886 students in the study: In the 2000–01 school year, there were 1,420 MJ-3 students and 430 MJ-3 Advanced students. Approximately 50% of the students were male, and about 45% were categorized as qualifying for free or reduced-price meals. In terms of racial/ethnic composition, the intervention group was 37% White, 33% Hispanic, and 30% Black, compared to the comparison group, which was 47% White, 28% Hispanic, and 25% Black. In the 2001–02 school year, there were 5,957 MJ-3 students and 2,079 MJ-3 Advanced students. Less than 10% of the students were categorized as Exceptional Education (ESE), Limited English Proficiency (LEP), or home-schooled. Approximately 50% of comparison students were male. About 65% of intervention students and 39% of comparison students were categorized as qualifying for free or reduced-price meals. In terms of racial/ethnic composition, the intervention group was 34% White, 34% Hispanic, and 28% Black, compared to the comparison group, which was 53% White, 22% Hispanic, and 20% Black.
The author conducted analyses using alternate samples in the second year of the study (2001–02), and the additional second year analytic samples that met standards are also presented as supplemental findings in Appendix D. These include an alternate sample of students in all 36 of the middle schools in the district and a sample of students in the 14 middle schools that piloted I CAN Learn®. The supplemental findings do not factor into the intervention’s rating of effectiveness.
Intervention students were taught using I CAN Learn® as the primary source of math instruction for the entire academic school year. The curriculum includes 109 lessons, each of which has a five-part format that includes a warm-up activity, lesson presentation, journal activity, guided practice, and a quiz to ensure mastery of the lesson content. Students are expected to complete the lessons individually and at their own pace using interactive software with a virtual teacher that presents the multimodal lessons and demonstrates how to solve a problem if students make errors. In each class, a classroom teacher supported students with the lessons. The study did not specify which edition of the curriculum was used.
Comparison students used a traditional math curriculum already in place in the district. The author did not describe or name the comparison curriculum.
Support for implementation
The study did not specify how much training intervention teachers received. The district contracted with JRL Enterprises, Inc. to use I CAN Learn® during the year prior to the study (1999–2000). To implement the curriculum, classrooms were equipped with desks, computer equipment, and electrical connectivity. JRL Enterprises, Inc. provided maintenance on the equipment and technical and instructional support to teachers.