Study Shows HMH Fuse™ iPad® App Can Dramatically Improve Student Achievement - Tech Learning

Study Shows HMH Fuse™ iPad® App Can Dramatically Improve Student Achievement

With the excitement surrounding the iPad in education and growth in its use, it's critical to study its various applications in the learning environment and establish best practices. Empirical Education has released its report on the impact of the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Fuse: Algebra I app. The study shows that implementation is a key factor in improving student achievement through mobile technology, as well as underscores the importance of school leaders examining their own mobile learning programs and results to uncover effective methods that should be reinforced and ineffective methods that need to be modified or eliminated.
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Strong implementation in Riverside Unified School District associated with nine-point increase in percentile standing

BOSTON — April 10, 2012 — A study of HMH Fuse™: Algebra 1 app released today by research firm Empirical Education Inc. identifies implementation as a key factor in the success of mobile technology. The 2010–2011 study was a pilot of a new educational app from global education leader Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) that re-imagines the conventional textbook to fully deploy interactive features of the mobile device. The HMH Fuse™ platform encourages the use of personalized lesson plans by combining direct instruction, ongoing support, assessment and intervention in one easy-to-use suite of tools.

Empirical found that the iPad®-using students in the four participating districts: Long Beach, Fresno, San Francisco and Riverside Unified School District (Riverside Unified), performed on average as well as their peers using the traditional textbook. However, after examining its own results, Riverside Unified found an increase in test scores among students taught with HMH Fuse™ compared to their peers. Empirical corroborated these results, finding a statistically significant impact equivalent to a nine-point percentile increase. The Riverside Unified teachers also reported substantially greater usage of the HMH Fuse™ app both in teaching and by the students in class.

“Education technology does not operate in a vacuum, and the research findings reinforce that with a supportive school culture and strategic implementation, technology can have a significant impact on student achievement,” said Linda Zecher, President and CEO of HMH. “We’re encouraged by the results of the study and the potential of mobile learning to accelerate student achievement and deepen understanding in difficult to teach subjects like algebra.”

Across all districts, the study found a positive effect on student attitudes toward math, and those students with positive attitudes toward math achieved higher scores on the California Standards Test.

The research design was a “gold standard” randomized control trial that examined the performance of eighth-grade students during the 2010–2011 school year. Each teacher’s classes were randomly assigned to either the treatment group that used the HMH Fuse™ app or the control group that used the conventional print format of the same content.

“The rapid pace of mobile technology’s introduction into K–12 education leaves many educators with important questions about its efficacy especially given their own resources and experience,” said Denis Newman, CEO of Empirical Education. “The results from Riverside highlight the importance of future research on mobile technologies that account for differences in teacher experience and implementation.”

To access the full research report, go to A white paper detailing the implementation and impact of HMH Fuse™ in Riverside is available on the HMH website.

About Empirical Education
Empirical Education Inc. is a Palo Alto, Calif.-based research company that provides rigorous and independent evidence to inform school system decisions. The company partners with education leaders to evaluate the effectiveness of school policies, programs and technologies. The company brings its expertise in research, data analysis, engineering, and project management to customers that include the U.S. Department of Education, educational publishers, foundations, leading research organizations, and state and local education agencies. Learn more at

About HMH
With education products and services used by 57 million students throughout all 50 U.S. states and 120 countries, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is a global education and learning company. The world’s largest provider of materials for pre-K–12 learning, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is leading the way with innovative solutions and approaches to the challenges facing education today. Through curricula excellence coupled with technology innovations and professional services, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt collaborates with school districts, administrators, teachers, parents and students, providing interactive, results-driven learning solutions. Its Educational Consulting Services group works to increase student achievement in underperforming schools by developing, implementing and supporting education transformation through sustained district partnerships. With origins dating back to 1832, the Company also publishes an extensive line of reference works and award-winning literature for adults and young readers. For more information, visit

Media Contacts
• Josef Blumenfeld, Senior Vice President, Corporate Communications, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 617-351-5432,
• Robin Means, Empirical Education,
• Kristen Plemon, C. Blohm & Associates, 608-216-7300 x18,

iPad® is a registered trademark of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.



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