STEM Action Center-Funded Math Digital Learning Software Increases Student Proficiency

SALT LAKE CITY (Dec. 7, 2016)—Students across the state using math digital learning programs available through Utah STEM Action Center grants had a greater level of success on the 2016 SAGE assessment than similar students without access to the learning tools.

The STEM Action Center worked with school district administrators and teachers, along with product partners, to deploy nine math digital learning software programs across the state.  Third party evaluation data indicated that three of the most widely-used products generated statistically significant results. Students using these three products were 1.2 to 3.1 times more likely to reach grade level proficiency on the SAGE test.

“The success of this grant program is due to the hard work and commitment of Utah teachers and administrators,” said Dr. Tamara Goetz, executive director of the Utah STEM Action Center. “They are committed to integrating these supplemental programs into their classrooms to help students achieve greater success in math, which is a fundamental skill. The Utah Legislature had a clear vision when they created our center in 2013, and it’s rewarding to see that vision come to fruition.”

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The outcomes closely follow the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP)—the gold standard in national scoring.  The results for the 2015-16 school year indicate that Utah students are leading out in STEM subject proficiency. Utah eighth-graders scored highest in the country on the norm-referenced standardized science test, and fourth graders ranked no. 8 in math after raising their scores by six points.

The Math Digital Learning Grant, the STEM Action Center’s first program, was designed to research and deploy math digital learning tools into Utah classrooms to improve math learning. As the program enters its third year full year of implementation, more than 168,000 students, or 27 percent of Utah’s student population, now have access to the K-12 technology math tools. The digital learning tools are intended to be integrated into daily classroom math instruction. The tools target knowledge gaps, adapt lessons and provide real-time feedback, ultimately creating a more personalized math learning experience.

Bill McKay, head of the math department at Centerville Junior High School, which uses STEM-funded math digital learning software, says their school has seen their ninth grade math scores move from 52 percent to 73 percent and that whole math department’s proficiency scores move from 55 percent to 63 percent since last year.

“As a department, we attribute a large part of this increase to student’s ability to receive immediate feedback and have additional attempts to work through problems,” McKay said. “In addition, as educators we are able to quickly pull reports with a few mouse clicks and identify areas students are having difficulty with for additional instruction in order for them to become proficient. We appreciate the work the STEM Action Center does at the state level in pulling data and identifying approaches and providing instruments that work. Their pursuit in acquiring resources at the state level really does make a difference in enhancing our instruction.”

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About the Utah STEM Action Center

The STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Action Center works to develop Utah’s workforce of the future by prioritizing STEM education. The program drives research and implementation of STEM education best practices across Utah by coordinating STEM-related activities, creating and coordinating proven STEM education best practices, facilitating educator access to those tools, align public STEM education and higher STEM education activities.
About the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED)
Web: business.utah.gov

The Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) charter is based on Governor Gary Herbert’s commitment to economic development statewide. Utah’s economic development vision is that Utah will lead the nation as the best performing economy and be recognized as a premier global business destination. The mandate for this office is to provide rich business resources for the creation, growth and recruitment of companies to Utah and to increase tourism and film production in the state. GOED accomplishes this mission through the administration of programs that are based around targeted industries or “economic clusters” that demonstrate the best potential for development. GOED utilizes state resources and private sector contracts to fulfill its mission.  For more information please contact:  Aimee Edwards, 801-538-8811 or [email protected]

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