Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Math in Focus: study shows over triple the average growth for a school system in New Jersey

Old Bridge, New Jersey began the implementation of Math in Focus about 6 months before Warsaw. A control group of students grew 3.5 points while the Math in Focus students grew 12.4 points.

Study Finds Houghton Mifflin Harcourt's Singapore Math Program Raises Student Achievement in the U.S. Students in New Jersey more than triple average gains when utilizing Math in Focus: Singapore Math by Marshall Cavendish
Business Wire
| 18 Jan 2011 | 10:00 AM ET
BOSTON, Jan 18, 2011 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Global education leader Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) today announced the results of a study that praises the effectiveness of Math in Focus, the U.S. Edition of Singapore's most widely used program, exclusively provided in the U.S. by HMH. Test scores of Math in Focus students improved by an average of 12.4 points from year to year, more than three times the average improvement that occurred across the remaining students in the comparison group. The results serve as evidence that the program works in the U.S., as local students are also benefitting from the internationally acclaimed program.

At the onset of the 2009-2010 academic year, school administrators in Old Bridge, New Jersey began piloting the Math in Focus program in hopes that it would help boost students' overall aptitude in math. In December 2010, independent evaluation firm Educational Research Institute of America (ERIA) conducted a study on the instructional effectiveness of the Math in Focus pilot program, which yielded significant results.

ERIA reviewed students' mathematics scores from the New Jersey Assessment of Skills and Knowledge (ASK) in order to determine the effect of the program on standardized test scores and overall competency. Analysis of data showed implementing Math in Focus to fourth graders was associated with a significant increase in student math performance. When ERIA compared students' 2009 NJ ASK scores, researchers found no difference between students test scores prior to using the program. However, in 2010 when ERIA examined NJ ASK scores after one year of using Math in Focus, students exposed to the program had a 12.4 point increase in average test performance while the rest of the students in the district only increased by 3.5 points.

"This study is the proof in the pudding that Math in Focus is working for our students," said Donna Kibbler, Director of Elementary Education in Old Bridge, NJ. "Partnering with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for professional development has allowed our teachers to move from being just comfortable teaching math to reaching a new level of confidence in their math teaching ability. The students, teachers, and parents in our district truly see the benefits of Singapore math." Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, the exclusive provider of Math in Focus to the United States, first introduced the program in April 2009. It is the U.S. version of Singapore's most widely used program, My Pals Are Here! Maths for K--5, which offers an intuitive progression of instructions that focus on fewer topics in greater depth to allow students to gain a better understanding of critical math topics. HMH is now working with Marshall Cavendish-Singapore to extend the series to grades 6-8 available in Fall 2011 and 2012.

"We are very pleased to have validated what educators around the world have been telling us," said Mike Lavelle, President, HMH Education Group. "Programs such as Math in Focus take proven methods and implement them into classrooms. These methods have a considerable, measureable effect on students' learning capabilities, and help prepare them to thrive in the 21st century." Math in Focus: Singapore Math by Marshall Cavendish is a partnership between Marshall Cavendish Education-Singapore and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. To learn more about Math in Focus, visit

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