Press Release

Study Reveals Significant Advances in Math Performance Among Tennessee Students

Anna O’Sullivan

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE, Jan. 16, 2023A new study shows that Tennessee elementary- and middle-school students who consistently utilized Zearn Math scored significantly higher on the state’s math exam than students who did not use the top-rated math learning platform. While support from Zearn helped students across all levels of math performance, previously low-scoring students nearly tripled their Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program (TCAP) score growth.

“Our teachers know how important math is to educational and career success and are steadfast in their commitment to ensuring continued math learning growth,” said Michael Adkins, Ed.S., director of schools, Lawrence County School System. “The results of this study show that when teachers have high-quality tools with ongoing training, they can ensure that all students succeed in math.”

Researchers looked at how more than 3,000 Tennessee students scored on the 2023 TCAP. The study employed a quasi-experimental matching technique, comparing 2023 TCAP math performance growth between students who consistently used Zearn with an academically and demographically similar group that did not use Zearn. This approach allows researchers to isolate the impact of Zearn on TCAP scores. This research is designed to meet the rigorous standards set by the What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) and qualify as an Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) evidence-based intervention.

The findings highlight that students who consistently used Zearn – three or more grade-level lessons per week – experienced a 7.2-point increase in TCAP math scores, with notable growth across student groups. For example, Black and/or Hispanic students saw a 12.4 -point increase in math scores and students who were previously lowest scoring saw a 13.8-point increase. Zearn usage also resulted in significant upward academic mobility; 64% of the lowest scoring students advanced by one or more performance levels when using Zearn.

Across Tennessee, 147,000 or more than 20% of K-8 students in 147 districts and all eight Centers of Regional Excellence engaged with Zearn during the 2022-23 school year, nearly doubling participation from 2021-22. Many districts used Zearn through TN ALL CORPS, a nationally recognized tutoring model endorsed by the Center for Education Policy Research at Harvard University, which was created based on legislation signed into law by Gov. Bill Lee in January of 2021. Districts also used Zearn flexibly in settings including intervention, summer programs, and before/after school.  

 “Hawkins County is committed to accelerating learning and unlocking the potential within every student in mathematics,” said Matt Hixson, director of schools, Hawkins County Schools. “Through dedicated math tutoring and the innovative support of Zearn, we are not just addressing challenges; we are nurturing a culture of mathematical growth."

Zearn’s statewide commitment to Tennessee educators and students has shown up through its participation in the Textbook and Instructional Materials Quality Commission’s intensive review process. As the only nonprofit curriculum publisher solely dedicated to K-8 math learning, Zearn was selected in 2022 as a part of the Tennessee Department of Education’s Official List of Textbooks and Instructional Materials for mathematics.

“Our commitment to supporting educators and students throughout Tennessee is both multifaceted and unwavering,” Zearn CEO and Co-Founder Shalinee Sharma said. “As evidenced by this study, we know that kids can continue to catch up and move forward with their math learning.”


Zearn is the 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational organization behind Zearn Math, the top-rated math learning platform used by 1 in 4 elementary-school and more than 1 million middle-school students nationwide. For more information about Zearn’s work in Tennessee or across the nation, contact Anna O’Sullivan, director of communications, at