Math program gets high marks

The U.S. Department of Education’s What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) recently updated its online database of middle school math interventions and found only one program to have strong evidence of a positive effect on student achievement, with no contradictory evidence.

The WWC rates the effects of an intervention in one of seven ways: positive, potentially positive, mixed, no discernible effects, potentially negative, or negative. One program, the I CAN Learn® IIS, earned the highest score, a "positive" rating. Ratings of eight other math intervention programs ranged from no discernible effects to potentially positive effects.

The WWC rating of effectiveness takes into account four factors: the quality of the research design, the statistical significance of the findings, the size of the difference between participants in the intervention and the comparison conditions, and the consistency in findings across studies.

Two recent examples of schools boosting their math scores highlight the WWC results. At Florida's Indiantown Middle School, a school with an 80 percent Hispanic enrollment, roughly half of which are English Language Learners, the percentage of students scoring at or above state grade levels in math has increased from 38 percent (2003) to 67 percent (2009) since implementing the I CAN Learn® IIS six years ago.

At Granite Public Schools in Oklahoma, the percentage of eighth grade students passing the state’s Algebra I test more than doubled, increasing from 43 percent in 2007 to 91 percent in 2009. This occurred in the school’s first two years using the I CAN Learn® IIS.

“We are proud of the work that we have done in the past to achieve the What Works Clearinghouse’s positive effects rating and continue to improve the program every day to keep it,” said Jacqueline Canales, curriculum specialist for the I CAN Learn® IIS.