Educational Software News
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SmartMath Program Part of Congressional Study of Technology's Role in Raising Achievement in Math & Reading Scores
ATLANTA, GA - April 6, 2004 /Send2Press Newswire/ -- Locally based CompuTaught announces today
that its flagship academic software, SmartMath, has been selected for participation in a study
mandated by the US Congress and funded by the US Department of Education. This study will
evaluate the effectiveness of computer-based instruction for improving reading and math skills.
The few selected participants in the $10 million study met rigorous requirements for documented
proof of gains in achievement when students used their tools.
Results from this landmark study will be presented to Congress and will provide information for
policymakers and educators on the effective use of educational technology to improve student
achievement in reading and math, becoming the cornerstone of the national policy debate
concerning educational technology investments.
Study to be Conducted
The US Department of Education announced last month that it is funding the congressionally
mandated study of 16 computer-based reading and math products from 12 different companies,
chosen via stringent peer-review from a pool of 163 competing applicants nationwide. "We
believe the products selected will help us to gather accurate and comprehensive data on student
learning via technology, which will be critical to informing the debate about how to enhance
achievement in the future," said Mark Dynarski, study director and senior fellow at Mathematica
Policy Research, Inc., the company contracted by the Department of Education to perform the
study in 120 schools within 40 school districts nationwide, under the No Child Left Behind Act.
As an element of the study, SmartMath will be placed in 120 schools during the 2004-2005 school
year. Educators will be trained in using SmartMath, and student performance will be tracked to
assess gains in achievement at the end of the school year.
After years of heavy investment in educational technology, policy makers and budget decision
makers are driving this rigorous evaluation to generate evidence that the investment is
producing improvements in instruction and in student achievement. This study is the latest
effort in understanding the effective implementation of educational technology for reading and
math and the conditions necessary for its successful use. This groundbreaking study will use
the most rigorous standard of the scientific method-random assignment and a pre-test and post-
test design-for determining what actually works, an approach that is rare in the field of
education. This is the first national study to assess the academic effectiveness of educational
software. Previous studies focused on correlating the availability of technology with academic
achievement, rather than on the nature and application of the technology in education. The
value of technology lies in its effective use, not merely its presence.
SmartMath will be evaluated for effectiveness in teaching pre-algebra in the sixth grade.
SmartMath is 1 of only 4 such programs nationwide with proven gains over classroom instruction
for pre-algebra level mathematics. Other programs in this study are from such educational
powerhouse companies as Scholastic, Pearson, and Plato. Founded in 1989 in Marietta, Georgia,
CompuTaught, the creator of SmartMath, is the first company in the country to offer state-
approved real estate courses on computer, and continues to be the leading developer of
computer-based real estate education, handling over 50,000 enrollments annually.
Business Chronicle acknowledged CompuTaught's preeminence by listing it as the top Atlanta
provider of computer-based education in its 2003-2004 Book of Lists. Known for its advances in
education, CompuTaught's latest innovation is SmartMath, a line of computer-based Math and
Algebra courses for K-12 schools. SmartMath's business model is predicated on producing large,
measurable gains in student achievement.
"We have always maintained that the only basis for selecting software for use in the classroom
is scientific evidence that it produces gains not attainable without it. The production of
software that meets this scientific standard is our only business," remarked Robert L. Collins,
Ph.D., CEO of CompuTaught. CompuTaught's preliminary research using SmartMath provided
documentation of significant gains in student achievement over traditional classroom
instruction after using the SmartMath learning tool. SmartMath has produced exceptionally large
improvements in student performance in less time than traditional classroom instruction or
other well-known software packages.
"We are pleased that SmartMath was selected for the
Department of Education study, because it validates the effectiveness of SmartMath in improving
student achievement. We fully support this study, because it will provide additional
scientific data on a large scale that will make it easier for schools to evaluate software on
the basis of its effectiveness, the criterion that matters most," says Collins.
Computaught's preliminary research demonstrated that SmartMath students outperformed students
in the control groups in all comparisons. Those who received SmartMath instruction consistently
scored higher on nationally recognized norm-referenced tests, the Stanford 9 and the Iowa Test
of Basic Skills (ITBS), as well as the Georgia Criterion Referenced Competency Test (CRCT). The
results revealed overwhelming improvements across all the different measures used, for both 5th
and 6th graders, and for students at varying levels of performance, in one of the toughest
schools in Georgia-a rural, high poverty, high minority school with the highest dropout rate.
At-risk 6th grade students who used SmartMath increased ITBS scores a phenomenal 117%.
SmartMath 6th graders scored 31% higher on the ITBS than the students in the control group.
SmartMath 6th grade students achieved a 46-52% decreased failure rate on the Georgia CRCT over
the control groups. Gifted 5th graders who had the benefit of using SmartMath scored an
astounding 4.8 grade levels higher on the Stanford 9 than students in the control group,
testing remarkably at a post high school grade level.
A results-oriented, web-based math curriculum designed to accelerate learning for all students,
remedial to advanced, SmartMath provides a student with targeted instruction and mastery-based
practice, using the instruction methods proven to be the most effective, while tracking results
for educators and administrators. Real, documented results are produced in SmartMath by
leveraging pre-tests for targeting the interactive instruction and practice problems which
address one concept at a time, followed by reviews and testing.
Source of News:
Stephenson Consulting Services for CompuTaught, Inc.
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