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RESEARCH SNAPSHOT

Students learning with Zearn Math demonstrate notably higher likelihood of meeting SBAC proficiency standards

BY BILLY McRAE

OVERVIEW

During the 2018–19 school year, Zearn studied the impact of Zearn Math usage on Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) scores in California. Researchers matched school grade level digital lesson completion on Zearn Math for 3rd- through 5th-grade students with published scores on the California SBAC in order to answer three primary questions:

  1. Did scores improve more for school grades with high Zearn Math usage?
  2. Did improvement vary in schools with higher proportions of students eligible for Free or Reduced-Price Lunch?
  3. Did improvement vary in schools with higher proportions of English Language Learners?

FINDINGS

To answer the first question, our researchers compared the increase in the percentage of treatment vs. control students who scored Level 3 ("Standard Met") or Level 2 ("Standard Nearly Met") on the SBAC, which categorizes scores as Levels 1-4. The findings are illustrated in the graph below: students with high Zearn Math usage (as depicted in the blue bars) were more likely to improve during the 2018–19 school year, relative to students with no/low Zearn Math usage (as depicted in the gray bars).

2019 growth in California for students in 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades

In addition to measuring overall score improvement, our researchers considered whether improvement varied in schools with higher proportions of students eligible for Free or Reduced-Price Lunch (FRL) and, separately, higher proportions of English Language Learners (ELL). As shown in the graphs below, the results are even stronger for these schools: high Zearn Math usage was tied with nearly 2x growth in the rate of students reaching Level 2 or higher on the California SBAC.

Increase in % students scoring Level 2 ("Standard Nearly Met") or higher in California for 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades

LEARNINGS

In the analysis conducted, consistent Zearn Math usage supported higher achievement gains on the California SBAC for students across all levels—and growth was highest in schools with higher proportions of FRL and/or ELL students. As a nonprofit on a mission to ensure all kids love learning math, we are encouraged by these results and grateful for the teachers who make it all possible.