Families & the Community Report Roundup

Study: Math Gains Found From ‘Ready To Learn’

By Sarah D. Sparks — April 19, 2016 1 min read

The multiplatform games, projects, and applications developed through the five-year, $133 million federal Ready To Learn grants helped boost young children’s math learning and their parents’ confidence in helping them learn, according to evaluations discussed at the American Educational Research Association’s recent meeting in Washington and published in the journal Children and the Media.

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting and Public Broadcasting Service, Window to the World Communications, Inc., and the Hispanic Information and Telecommunications Network used the grants to develop stories and curricula that spanned television, mobile, and computer devices, and school and home activities. In their evaluations, researchers found students who used the programs several times a week with their parents significantly improved their early math skills. The programs also boosted parents’ engagement in their children’s math learning and confidence in their ability to help their children with math.

The effects of the school-based Ready To Learn interventions proved more mixed. Three projects focused on free-play activities, since children could use different parts of the programs on different devices, and tended not to follow the units in order. These projects only found benefits for some student groups in learning specific vocabulary and math concepts. “Curated” programs, in which teachers helped guide how students used the materials, yielded more consistent benefits for students in reading and math.

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A version of this article appeared in the April 20, 2016 edition of Education Week as Study: Math Gains Found From ‘Ready To Learn’

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