Only 34 percent of U.S. eighth graders can do eighth-grade math—the prerequisite to algebra, which is predictive of high school graduation and post-secondary success. The numbers are exacerbated for traditionally underserved students: only 14 percent and 20 percent of Black and Hispanic eighth-graders are proficient in math, respectively.
Zearn Math, created by the nonprofit Zearn, is a top-rated online math learning platform used by one in four elementary school students and more than 1 million middle-school students nationwide. Over 11.5 billion math problems have been completed on the platform to date.
By combining curriculum and digital math lessons, Zearn has demonstrated effectiveness in accelerating learning across a variety of in- and out-of-school settings. A longitudinal study across five years and 800 Louisiana schools shows that programmatic usage of Zearn Math demonstrated outsized achievement gains equivalent to an additional one and a half months of instruction—and positive effects compound over time. A separate quasi-experimental study in Nebraska showed that students at the lowest level of math achievement who consistently used Zearn Math are two to three times more likely to improve their math achievement level when compared with students who did not.
Overdeck Family Foundation’s flexible and multi-year funding has helped Zearn position itself as one of the most widely used, impactful math learning platforms through three key activities: building a more partnerships with state and local educational agencies nationwide, engaging in rigorous external evaluation, and building new capacities such as tutoring supports, a K-5 Spanish curriculum, and the development of Zearn for Middle School.
We also supported the expansion of Zearn’s research team to help drive the organization’s new research and learning agenda, which focuses on a multi-year Randomized Control Trial to evaluate Zearn’s impact on student outcomes, engagement, and mindsets, as well as sharing Zearn’s insights on math learning with the field to improve math pedagogy.