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 is a top-rated online math learning platform used by one in four elementary school students nationwide. Altogether, Zearn serves 6.8 million students, across free individual classroom accounts and paid school and district accounts. Over 9 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 school and district settings. A recent multi-year, quasi-experimental design study statewide across Louisiana shows schools that programmatically used Zearn demonstrated achievement gains equivalent to an additional 1.5 months of instruction—and positive effects compound over time. In a separate analysis, students in schools with high Zearn usage in Louisiana showed 1.5 to 2.5 times higher growth than students in non-Zearn schools—and the gains were even larger for students in low-income schools and schools predominantly serving Black and Latino students.
Zearn’s earned income growth came from several channels including the retention of existing school accounts, new sales into states (including Delaware, Massachusetts, Nebraska, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, and Washington, DC), scale of its middle school pilot, and growth of its teacher community on social media.
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 larger national sales pipeline, engaging in rigorous external evaluation, and building new capacities such as in-platform tutoring, a K-5 Spanish curriculum, and the release of new middle school and algebra curricula.
We also supported the expansion of Zearn’s research team to help drive Zearn’s new research and learning agenda, which focuses on a multi-year efficacy study to evaluate Zearn’s impact on student outcomes, engagement, and mindsets, as well as sharing Zearn’s current data with the field to improve math pedagogy.