Study Type: Correlational Study
Principal Investigator: Alisa Szatrowski – Zearn
Project Description: This is a retrospective correlational study of more than five million instances of student math performance based on data from the 600,000 students in first through seventh grade who (i) used the Zearn math learning digital platform during the 2020-21 and 2021-22 school years and (ii) had multiple instances of repeated “struggle” with math content during the two-year study period, as defined by instances in which a student repeatedly answered a math question incorrectly following in-the-moment online support. Students who struggled on a particular question received automated support from Zearn either through remediation—defined as being assigned below grade-level lessons that were not directly connected to grade-level lessons—or learning acceleration, defined as being assigned brief foundational lessons that were directly linked to grade-level materials, prior to returning to grade-level lessons. Researchers examined the relation between instances of student receipt of either remediation or acceleration and the student’s subsequent performance on the next on-grade math lesson to assess the relative efficacy of Zearn’s two types of mostly-automated (greater than 99 percent) digital interventions. The study included students in all 50 states.
Key Findings: Researchers found that when a student was consistently accelerated, they completed twice the amount of grade-level lessons and struggled less in their math learning. More specifically, researchers found:
- A student struggled 17 percent less in math when they experienced learning acceleration versus when they were remediated.
- A student that experienced consistent learning acceleration completed twice as many grade-level lessons over the course of the year when compared to a student who was frequently remediated.
- A student enrolled in a majority Black, Latino, or low-income school was more likely to be remediated when compared with white and high-income peers—even when they had already demonstrated the same level of success with grade-level work.
- A student enrolled in a majority Black, Latino, or low-income schools struggled 19 percent less in math when they experienced learning acceleration.
Study Citation: Szatrowski, Alisa. Catching Up and Moving Forward: Accelerating Math Learning for Every Student. Zearn, 2022. Retrieved from https://webassets.zearn.org/Implementation/Zearn_LearningAccelerationStudy.pdf.
Full report here.
The Key Findings above were reproduced from the published report and do not necessarily reflect interpretation of Overdeck Family Foundation staff.