During the 2018–19 school year, Zearn studied the impact of Zearn Math usage on state test scores in New York. Researchers matched school grade level digital lesson completion on Zearn Math for 3rd through 5th grade students with published scores on the New York State Assessment in order to answer three primary questions:
- Did scores improve more for school grades with high Zearn Math usage?
- Did improvement vary in schools with higher proportions of students eligible for Free or Reduced-Price Lunch?
- Did improvement vary in schools with higher proportions of English Language Learners?
To answer the first question, our researchers compared the increase in the percentage of treatment vs. control students who met “Proficiency” (Level 3 out of 4 Levels) or “Nearly Met” proficiency (Level 2). They found that, in school grades with high Zearn Math usage, scores were more likely to improve during the 2018–19 school year. That improvement was most notable with regards to the reduction of students scoring Level 1: school grades using Zearn Math demonstrated 50% higher rates of students achieving Level 2+ relative to peers with no/low Zearn Math usage.
2019 growth in New York state 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 (depicted by the blue bars) was tied with 2-3x growth in the rate of students reaching Level 2 or higher on the New York State Assessment.
Increase in % students "Nearly Meeting" proficiency (Level 2+) in New York state for 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades
Researchers also focused in on schools with higher proportions of Black students and higher proportions of Latinx students to investigate whether learning gains held for those school subgroups. For both of these sets of schools, added gains for schools with higher Zearn Math usage were even more pronounced; 50-70% higher than the gains for other schools.
Increase in % students meeting proficiency (Level 3+) in New York state for 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades
In the analysis conducted, consistent Zearn Math usage supported higher achievement gains on the New York State Assessment for students across all levels. Growth was highest in schools with higher proportions of FRL and/or ELL students, particularly for students who had previously struggled in math. 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.