News Release: Two Studies Shed Light On Student Gains In Teach to One: Math

We’re excited to share the results of new independent research on the impact of Teach to One: Math. In the first of two studies, students showed positive gains on a nationally normed test, while a second study of a smaller set of schools that focused on one state assessment was unable to draw any generalizable conclusion. Taken together, the studies show the importance of meeting students where they are and the challenge of doing so under state accountability systems that focus on annual grade-level proficiency.

TTO, an innovative learning model by New York-based nonprofit New Classrooms Innovation Partners, enables schools to personalize each student’s academic program in order to accelerate their learning. The program integrates teacher-led, collaborative, and online learning so that students can be met where they are each day and can learn in ways most likely for them to succeed.

One study of 14 schools across the country using TTO found that students enrolled in the program for three consecutive years saw gains on an adaptive, nationally normed test that were 23 percent higher than the national average. Gains were particularly strong in schools where the program was better able to target each student’s unique needs regardless of his or her assigned grade. Another study of five schools in Elizabeth, New Jersey, using TTO for three years was unable to draw generalized conclusions but demonstrates the limitations of current grade-level assessments when meeting students’ unique needs.

“These two independent studies raise a critically important question for future inquiry,” said New Classrooms CEO Joel Rose. “What seems to be emerging is a real tension in math between approaches focused on long-term academic growth and state accountability systems based on short-term measures of grade-level academic proficiency. We are grateful for the work reflected in both studies, which shed light on this tension. While not definitive, the studies highlight the potential of personalized approaches to learning organized around the specific needs and ‘starting point’ of each student in service of college and career readiness.”

The first study, “Three-Year MAP Growth at Schools Using Teach to One: Math,” was published by Dr. Jesse Margolis, managing partner at MarGrady Research, and funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. It found that students in 14 middle schools operating TTO for three years saw 23 percent greater learning gains than students nationally, according to NWEA’s nationally-normed adaptive math tests known as MAP. Schools that prioritized these kinds of growth measures, as opposed to grade-level proficiency, performed even better: They grew 38 percentile points over three years, which was 53 percent above the national average.

The second study, by the Consortium of Policy Research in Education (CPRE) at Teachers College, was conducted as part of the Investing in Innovation (i3) grant program and looks at the impact of TTO in five schools in Elizabeth, New Jersey. The study focused on results from the New Jersey state assessment but was unable to reach generalizable conclusions on the impact of the program. While future inquiry is needed, we believe this gets to the heart of real tension that arises from trying to align an instructional approach to yearly grade-level proficiency and academic growth at the same time.

“As a district committed to providing an innovative and personalized learning environment that ensures every child achieves excellence, we are grateful for the unique opportunity the i3 grant provided to participate in a study implementing Teach to One: Math,” said Elizabeth Public Schools Superintendent Olga Hugelmeyer. “I feel that both Elizabeth Public Schools and New Classrooms have learned valuable information from this experience and from the research findings from the Consortium of Policy Research in Education at Teachers College that we can apply moving forward to effectively reach each and every child academically.”

“Current assessment policies were put in place in hopes of helping all students succeed,” said Michael B. Horn, co-founder of the Clayton Christensen Institute. “These studies illustrate a critical flaw in those policies. When grade-level mastery is the only bar by which students are measured, teachers are limited in how they can address each student’s distinct needs so they can achieve long-term success. We must also focus on individual student growth.”

About New Classrooms Innovation Partners

Founded in 2011, New Classrooms Innovation Partners is a national nonprofit on a mission to personalize education by redesigning how a classroom works – from the use of technology, time, and physical space to the instruction and content that engages each student. The founders of New Classrooms were the leaders of an initiative within NYC Public Schools called School of One, which TIME named as one of the Best Inventions of 2009. New Classrooms’ first learning model, Teach to One: Math, ensures each student is learning the right math lesson, at the right time, and in the right way that best meets their strengths and needs. It is used by thousands of students in schools nationwide. To learn more about New Classrooms, visit www.newclassrooms.org.

New Classrooms