Study Shows WPI-developed Math Homework Tool Closes the Learning Gap

Alison Duffy
October 24, 2016

Quick summary:

A randomized controlled trial was conducted by SRI Educational Research in order to quantify the benefits of ASSISTments. Results of the trial showed that “students in schools using ASSISTments scored approximately 75 percent higher than students in schools that were not using the program,” says program founder Neil Heffernan.

The study conducted by SRI Educational Research stemmed from a $3.5 million grant from the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) of the U.S. Department of Education, which awarded to SRI in 2012 to evaluate the effectiveness of ASSISTments for mathematics homework. The University of Maine assisted with the study by conducting classroom observations and other research.  

At the time of this article’s publication, ASSISTments had been used by 100,000 elementary, middle, and high school students across the U.S. since 2002. Heffernan and colleagues have received more than $16 million in funding over the past decade to develop, implement, research, and update the system. They are currently working to expand ASSISTments to include crowdsourcing as a tool to involve more teachers and researchers in the development process.

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