WORCESTER, MA (August 8, 2023) – Today, the ASSISTments Foundation (TAF), a non-profit organization providing ASSISTments, an evidence-based digital math practice and assessment platform, announced the findings of a groundbreaking independent study showing that ASSISTments has a significant positive impact on math achievement and educational equity. This is a crucial contribution to the body of evidence supporting the effectiveness of feedback, data, and formative assessment to improve student learning, and the potential for evidence-based edtech to bring that impact to scale. The study replicated the outcomes of a previous randomized controlled trial (RCT), solidifying ASSISTments as one of the most rigorously researched and highly effective math learning solutions available.
The independent evaluation conducted by WestEd, engaged 5,991 middle school students from diverse backgrounds, residing in rural, urban, and suburban environments, who took the North Carolina 8th grade End-Of-Grade exam. The replication results validate the efficacy of ASSISTments in narrowing learning gaps and empowering student learning. The results were particularly significant for historically marginalized students, including students experiencing poverty and students of color, highlighting the crucial role of ASSISTments in addressing educational inequalities and promoting equitable learning outcomes. WestEd is a nonpartisan research, development, and service agency that works with education and other communities to promote excellence, achieve equity, and improve learning for children, youth, and adults.
1. Long-Term Learning Gains
Students in the schools assigned to use ASSISTments in 7th grade achieved a noteworthy improvement in their math scores at the end of 8th grade, one full year after the intervention. The sustained positive impact on student learning suggests that implementing ASSISTments yielded significant benefits even one year after program implementation. It is rare for education programs to achieve significant effects, and even more noteworthy that this replicates findings from a previous study.
2. Achievement Gaps Narrowed
The study also revealed that ASSISTments played a crucial role in narrowing achievement gaps among different student subgroups. While all students benefited, the effects on math achievement were greatest for students of color and students designated by the state as Hispanic. This finding demonstrates the potential of ASSISTments to promote equitable learning outcomes.
3. Strongest Impact on Schools Where the Majority of Students are Experiencing Poverty
ASSISTments had significantly greater effects on student math learning in schools with a higher percentage of students experiencing poverty. These findings highlight the potential of ASSISTments to provide valuable support to students and teachers in schools facing limited access to educational resources.
"We firmly believe that evidence-based research should guide educational practices, and ASSISTments is committed to providing district leaders and educators with solutions backed by robust research. This study unequivocally demonstrates the significant impact of ASSISTments on students from diverse backgrounds, showcasing its potential to combat educational inequalities and uplift those facing poverty or racial disparities,” commented Cristina Heffernan, Executive Director of ASSISTments. “These findings validate the ASSISTments Foundation's mission to provide an accessible and equitable learning environment for all students, regardless of their background or socioeconomic status. By leveraging ASSISTments, educators can embrace an evidence-based solution that has the potential to transform math education and bridge educational gaps."
ASSISTments, which was developed at and is supported by Worcester Polytechnic Institute, continues to spearhead progress in math education by delivering innovative, research-backed solutions tailored to the specific needs of teachers and students. The organization’s exceptional track record, supported by rigorous research, establishes it as a leading evidence-based math platform in the market.
“Learning technologies with proven track records are needed now more than ever as data continues to show a decline in math proficiency at the middle school level,” said Bogdan Vernescu, Vice Provost of Research at WPI. “We are extremely proud of the work Professor Heffernan and his team are doing to advance this critical tool and are thrilled with the widespread results which will no doubt have a lasting impact on countless students’ education.”
"It’s particularly noteworthy that we saw improvements in students’ math learning even a year post-implementation,” said Mingyu Feng, Research Director at WestEd and principal investigator of the study. “Math education is a crucial part of academic development, and we must keep doing more to ensure that every student masters this subject. Technology-based approaches, such as ASSISTments, have great potential for advancing math learning and helping accelerate that learning to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on academics.”
About The ASSISTments Foundation
The ASSISTments Foundation (TAF) is a non-profit organization founded in 2019 with the generous support of the Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative and Schmidt Futures, and sponsorship from Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI). TAF is committed to transforming math education through evidence-based innovations, strives to create equitable learning opportunities that empower students to excel in mathematics. TAF aspires to expand the reach and impact of ASSISTments in classrooms across the nation, driven by the belief that every student deserves to be recognized, supported, and successful in their math studies. Additionally, TAF collaborates with WPI to conduct groundbreaking research in the field of learning sciences. For more information about the ASSISTments Foundation and its innovative digital math practice and assessment platform, please visit www.assistments.org.
Director of Growth & Impact