Carnegie Learning Drives Significant Math Achievement in Kentucky

Eight school districts in Kentucky make significant strides in math, thanks to a new software program.
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Eight Kentucky districts that used Carnegie Learning Math curricula in 2009 moved up in math percentile rankings at both the high school and middle school levels.

Owsley County in rural eastern Kentucky improved a remarkable 70 points in high school math and 42 points in middle school rank. Schools in Owsley, Ohio, and Union County districts demonstrated Adequate Yearly Progress for the first time since the institution of NCLB. Each of these districts implemented Carnegie Learning Math textbooks and Cognitive Tutor software in all middle schools and high schools. The districts implemented the curricula with fidelity and with the recommended professional development.

The five other districts showing improved math performance using Carnegie Learning are Carroll County, Corbin Independent, Harlan Independent, Henry County, and Knox County.

“Math-achievement data from these districts indicate that Carnegie Learning math curricula are associated with positive overall school district improvement, a reduction in the number of students identified as novice performers, and improved achievement in both low- and high-performing schools and with a wide range of student groups, including gifted and students in poverty,” says Josh Powell, superintendent of the Union County Public Schools. “When implemented with fidelity, the ability to differentiate instruction with a blended textbook and software approach is a tremendous complement to instruction, and the results are impressive.”

In Kentucky, performance in subject areas is scored using an index scale from 0-140, with the goal of achieving a score of 100 or above. Consistent with math tests and index scores used for NCLB assessment, a score of 100 or above represents proficiency. The Kentucky state average 2010 index improvement in High School Math was 1 index point. In comparison, the average index score gain for the eight districts implementing Carnegie Learning math programs was 9 index points, representing a 22-percent improvement. Kentucky’s average 2010 index improvement in middle school math was 2 index points, compared to an average index score gain of 7 points for the eight districts implementing Carnegie Learning.

“A significant reason for the success of Carnegie Learning in Owsley County is that our students enjoy learning because the math feels relevant,” says Jennifer Carroll, director of curriculum and instruction at Owsley County Schools. “Real-world examples, self-paced software, and individualized sequencing and scaffolding make the math understandable and students see their progress daily. Teachers find that the program allows for flexible scheduling and the double-blocking of students who have specific learning needs to provide additional instruction easily. From my perspective as an administrator, I am excited to find such close alignment to the new Common Core Standards.”

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