THE FINDINGS: ASSISTMENTS HELPS TO CLOSE THE ACHIEVEMENT GAP
After analyzing the data collected in Maine, researchers concluded that:
Teachers targeted their homework reviews to focus on student difficulties and errors.
Students had significantly higher end-of-year mathematics achievement. The use of ASSISTments caused 75% more learning than in a typical year.
Online homework had a greater impact for students with low prior achievement.
A RIGOROUS STUDY IN MAINE
In 2012, the Institute of Educational Sciences awarded SRI International and its partners, Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) and the University of Maine with a grant to conduct rigorous research on online mathematics homework in middle school.SRI paired participating schools with similar achievement levels, and then randomly assigned them to either use ASSISTments or continue with their existing homework practices. Teachers in the ASSISTments group were trained to use the tool to adapt instruction to their students’ needs. After a warm-up year, the teachers continued with using ASSISTments with their new students for another full school year. At the end of the full year, students in both groups took the same standardized mathematics test.
WHO PARTICIPATED IN THE STUDY?
Over 2800 students from 43 schools in Maine participated in the study. Participants were 7th grade mathematics teachers and their students. Data collection ended in June 2015.