EngageNY, the online library of open reading and math materials developed by New York state, has proved popular—surprisingly so. The site has had more than 17 million users and 66 million downloads since the resources went online in 2011, according to the state education department.
Now, a RAND Corp. study digs into the whys and hows of EngageNY’s popularity.
The researchers looked at data from the American Teacher Panel and from Google Analytics. They found that:
• Math materials are being used much more often than the English/language arts materials. Between January 2015 and July 2016, the mathematics content had about 9.7 million page views, compared with about 2.5 million for the ELA materials.
• Grades 3-6 math materials are the most frequently used—possibly because students are tested every year between grades 3-8.
Of all the free math resources available on the EngageNY website, those aimed at grades 3-6 are the most popular, a RAND Corp. study finds.
• Between 80 percent and 90 percent of teachers indicated their districts required or recommended they use the materials.
• Teachers are modifying the materials to fit their classroom needs. Interviews with teachers showed that many adapted the pacing because they couldn’t complete an entire lesson in the time available.
• Teachers use the materials because they align to the Common Core State Standards—not just because they’re free. Teachers tended to say state standards and district guidelines—rather than “availability”—influenced their use of EngageNY.
• The majority of users are, not surprisingly, from New York—but there’s evidence that teachers in all states are using the materials. About 65 percent of ELA downloads and 50 percent of math downloads were from within New York state. But there were also downloads from states like Texas and Virginia that never adopted the common core. (The data here are imperfect because Google Analytics bases its calculations on a sample of users.)
A version of this article appeared in the April 05, 2017 edition of Education Week as Downloads of Math Materials