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Math Learning

"Math at Home Adds up to Achievement in School"

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Using a word-problem app to talk about mathematics at home once a week can boost math achievement, particularly for students with parents who dread the subject.

In a randomized controlled trial published this month in the journal Science, researchers at the University of Chicago followed 587 1st graders and their families at 22 Chicago-area schools. The families were randomly assigned to use an iPad with either a reading-related app or Bedtime Math, an app which provides story-like math word problems for parents to read with their children. The children were tested in math at the beginning and end of the school year. Students who used the math app had higher end-of-year math growth than those who used the reading app, and the more often they used it, the higher their math growth.

Math: There's an App for That

Children of "math anxious" parents benefited more than others from an experiment to see if achievement improved when parents used a word-problem app to discuss math at home.

But the most interesting results came from the students whose parents reported being afraid or uncomfortable with math themselves. Initially, these students significantly trailed the math growth of students whose parents were not anxious about math. But math-anxious families who used the math app at least once a week closed that gap by the end of the year.

Vol. 35, Issue 08, Page 5

Published in Print: October 14, 2015, as Math Learning
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