Bridging the Gap in Mathematics
Why is Mathematics so important?
"Students all across the United States are struggling to learn Mathematical concepts. In California, the scores are among the nations lowest. With technology advancing at lightening speed, there must be a way to utilize it in a manner that will promote conceptual growth towards proficiency."
As a Math and Science teacher, I have watched year after year as my students continued to struggle with even the most basic mathematic concepts. At first, I wasn't sure where the disconnect was coming from and why many continued to struggle, even after targeted intervention. What I found was that 21st century learners are no longer wired to gain a clear understanding of any concept unless they are provided with an engaging platform, which provides instant feedback. Additionally, the students coming into my room each year all come from different socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds. They individually have unique strengths and needs in math which means that they are not starting from the same vantage point. What I needed was s tool that could be used to "level the field" in mathematics, bringing equity back to the classroom and providing my students with the foundation they would need to be successful.
Results of the First Study
Examining the mean scores of the control group to the test group, it was clear that the two groups were starting from mildly different points. The control group pretest mean was 59.81% while the test group pre-test showed a 65.4% understanding rate, a difference of 5.59%. Both classes showed growth from the pre-test to the posttest. The control group posttest mean was 81.85%, while the test group mean was 88.56%; a difference of 6.71%. The test group’s scores were, on average, slightly higher than those of the control group. Data shows a 1.12% difference between the two classes.
It should be noted that the test group began the trial with a small advantage as well. Looking at the growth made by each of the classes; the control group went from 59.81% to 81.85%, a 21.81% increase. The test group went from 65.4% to 88.56%, a 23.16% increase. This shows a separation of 1.35% towards a growth difference.
The graph above compares the student growth towards the standard. Interestingly, the results show that both classes improved their comprehension at a similar pace. Additionally, it seems that the use of Khan Academy with the test class showed no correlation to drastically different scores.
Why didn't it work?
Khan Academy had positive research reviews and provided my students with everything they needed to be successful. I was able to assign a targeted standard, the site offered leveled instruction, instructional videos, supplemental practice and immediate feedback and yet there was no discrepancy between the growth of the test class and the control class. Why? According to my students, while Khan Academy is useful; supports growth, provides badges and allows for avatar building; it is not engaging enough. It feels like they are learning and what they want to do is play.