It is important that educators know which interventions and products actually work. In order to accomplish that goal, the U.S. Department of Education hosts the What Works Clearinghouse (WWC), an institution that evaluates educational interventions to see which work and which are simply flops.
In mid-April 2019, the WWC published a federal research review of the ASSISTments Efficacy Trial and found the ASSISTments study to be valid and without bias.
ASSISTments received the highest standard of WWC, which is what is called "positive effects without reservation.” This research review comes at a great timing for ASSISTments, because of the recent launch of the nonprofit ASSISTments Foundation.
The review relied on research into achievement outcomes for more than 2,700 7th graders in 43 schools in Maine. Some did homework on ASSISTments, students received immediate feedback on their work and teachers received customized reports on student performance. Other students had non-digital, traditional homework assignments. The group that used the free, online tool outperformed the other students on the TerraNova Common Core assessment in math.
We at ASSISTments are excited to see validation of the study of ASSISTments by the WWC. We’ve seen students around the country benefit from the specific feedback that this digital tool gives them, and we’ve seen teachers improve their practice by tailoring instruction to the information they get from ASSISTments. We anticipate that this review will encourage more schools to turn to this free and effective resource as one tool in their effort to give all students a great education.
-Neil Heffernan, Professor of Computer Science at WPI and ASSISTments Founder