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Texas Education Agency Report Finds Students Using TTM Significantly Improved Their STAAR Performance

 

Austin, Texas —In a comprehensive study by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) evaluating computerized interactive programs that are part of the state’s Students Using Curriculum to Ensure Sustained Success (SUCCESS) program, Think Through Math (TTM), a web-based math instructional system for grades 3 through Algebra 1, has been found to significantly improve STAAR performance outcomes for students.

Most notably, according to the evaluation, “advanced statistical modeling, accounting for other observable factors that may influence student outcomes—such as students’ prior STAAR-Mathematics performance—showed that students in Grades 3-8 who attempted 20 or more Think Through Math lessons had statistically significant higher STAAR-Mathematics scores than non-users”. On average, TTM users realized an average improvement of nearly 17 percentage points, with 3rd grade improvement highest at 26 percentage points. TTM users who attempted 20 or more lessons achieved an average 90% pass rate on the STAAR-Mathematics exam versus only a 74% pass rate for non-TTM users.

“We are thrilled with the findings of the TEA’s evaluation of Think Through Math. It also confirms that the more TTM lessons students pass, the better they do on the STAAR Exam,” said Mary Davis, Think Through Math’s Director of Implementation for Texas. “Consistent, longer-term implementation of TTM is the most effective for students. School year-long usage enables TTM’s adaptive technology, integrated with on-demand, on-line 1:1 tutoring from certified math teachers, to identify and remediate areas of weakness for students. Think Through Math is delighted that we are having a significant impact on the students of Texas and we are committed to continually improving the program implementation to be ever more helpful to teachers and students.”

Using a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods to examine TTM usage and efficacy, the study commissioned by the TEA found that in general, students using TTM had more positive gains in their STAAR scores than non-TTM users.  Findings include:

  • “Passing Think Through Math lessons was positively related to student performance on STAAR- Mathematics tests, meaning that passing Think Through Math lessons was an important indicator of readiness for STAAR- Mathematics content.”
  • “Consistent usage of Think Through Math at the recommended threshold—five or more lessons completed per month—was associated with statistically significant gains on STAAR-Mathematics, particularly among middle school students.”
  • “Grade 5 students who failed the first administration of STAAR- Mathematics and attempted 15 or more Think Through Math lessons before the second administration of STAAR were significantly more likely to pass the STAAR retest” than students who did not use Think Through Math
  • “Grade 8 students who failed the first administration of STAAR- Mathematics and attempted between 1 and 9 Think Through Math lessons before the second administration of STAAR were significantly more likely to pass the STAAR retest than students who did not use Think Through Math.”

TTM is a supplemental web-based mathematics program that provides adaptive instruction and live tutoring in a motivating learning system designed to improve students’ understanding of critical math concepts and problem-solving skills. TTM instruction covers math content for Grades 3-Algebra I. TTM is offered free-of-charge to Texas public school students in Grades 3-8 as part of the Texas SUCCESS program. TTM includes a diagnostic assessment that maps out a custom learning pathway for each student based on that students’ individual academic needs; students’ pathways are continuously adjusted in response to performance on quizzes given at the completion of lessons.

“The TEA evaluation speaks volumes about the impact that TTM is having not only in Texas but in thousands of schools across the country,” said Lou Piconi, co-founder of Think Through Math. “While helping to improve performance on standardized tests is certainly important, the TTM program goes far beyond ‘test prep’ by bringing together students, teachers, parents and content in order to promote sustained learning and critical thinking.”

Conducted by Gibson Consulting Group, in cooperation with the TEA, the study includes a comprehensive evaluation of Think Through Math (TTM), a computerized interactive mathematics programs provided by to all Texas public school students in Grades 3-8. Part of The Texas Students Using Curriculum Content to Ensure Sustained Success (SUCCESS) program, which offers state-funded access to the program, TTM is designed to support student achievement by adjusting instruction based on student skill levels.

 

Methodology

Gibson Consulting Group, Inc. in partnership with Shore Research, Inc. employed a mixed-methods approach to evaluating the Texas SUCCESS program through a number of different sources, including online system usage and student growth data, interviews with district and campus academic intervention staff in local education agencies using the programs, and extensive analysis of student outcomes data related to the 2013-14 State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) performance. Usage and outcomes for TTM were examined in great detail by the evaluation team.

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