math achievement math scores

How a major MD district boosted middle math achievement

Groundbreaking study of 1,600 classrooms using research-based platform finds a significant positive effect on both math and English language proficiency test scores

Improving math achievement has long been a sticking point for U.S. schools, particularly after the COVID-19 pandemic’s negative impact on learning. Now, one Maryland school district is seeing substantial improvements in grades 6-8 math scores.

A new impact study at Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) found that students in grades 6 to 8 who used Speak Agent Math+Language outperformed their peers who did not use the program. Students who completed 10 Speak Agent learning activities experienced a 10 percent higher mean score than their peers on the PGCPS Math Benchmark assessments.

In addition, multilingual learners experienced a 17-point (five percent) higher mean score on the WIDA ACCESS for ELLs test, in addition to a higher math score. This is the first large-scale study to find a positive, independent effect at a 99.9% confidence level for both Math and English language proficiency scores, as measured by third-party assessments, caused by a single education technology program.

“We chose Speak Agent’s Math+Language program to develop middle-grade math literacy, communication, and reasoning skills,” said Dr. Michelle Dyson, PGCPS Mathematics Instructional Supervisor for Grades 6-8. “We could see students making progress, so we collaborated with our ESOL department to commission this study to quantify the impact. This research shows that our implementation – which closely integrates with our curriculum – helped students make strong gains on math and ELD assessments.”

Speak Agent Math+Language empowers students to learn math through language. Students use the program to master key math concepts, develop reasoning and modeling skills, and to express mathematical thinking and ideas.

Speak Agent courses map to fit the school district’s curriculum so that teachers can seamlessly integrate the program into their teaching practice. It includes learning supports and scaffolds for all learners, including multilingual and historically marginalized learners.

“Our cross-departmental goal was to improve outcomes for not only our multilingual learners but for all learners,” said Dr. Melissa Kanney, PGCPS ESOL Supervisor. “All of our students who used the Math+Language program were able to improve both their math outcomes and English language proficiency. What’s so exciting about this study is that it provides evidence that our implementation of Speak Agent is helping us meet our goals.”

Students are still behind in math–what needs to change?

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