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Educational Software News


Original editor for Send2Press: Christopher L. Simmons

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.

Evaluating Effectiveness
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.

The Atlanta 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.

Overwhelming Results
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.


DISCLAIMER: the above business news article is believed accurate but not guaranteed, and is based on business news supplied by the company or organization mentioned and/or quoted in the story. The organization providing the news to Send2Press is solely responsible for its accuracy. Financial/Stock news may contain forward looking statements and public companies should be thoroughly researched before considering material investment. Neotrope/Send2Press makes no claims of accuracy or suitability for any purpose. Any opinions expressed by representatives of company(s) mentioned in news item are solely those of the person indicated, and do not reflect any opinion or policy of Neotrope/Send2Press. Your use of any information contained herein is done solely at your own risk, and you are fully responsible for using any information herein, or on sites mentioned or linked to in the article.

Article is Copr. © 2004 Neotrope/Send2Press. Reproduction of this news article in any form requires written authorization. You may freely link to this article. For more information on using this article in print or on your website, please visit:™.

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