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Math scores rise quickly after Missouri district implements comprehensive program in elementary schools

Everyday Mathematics 4 was selected by Columbia Public Schools after rigorous review

The process to select a new elementary math program for Columbia Public Schools began four years ago. K12 Math Coordinator Dana Hibbard located the highest-performing schools in Missouri and selected their top two math programs for piloting in her district of 18,555 students.

It’s been barely a year that Everyday Mathematics 4 has been in all K5 classrooms in Columbia, but Hibbard has already seen dramatic evidence it was the right choice. The average scale scores on Renaissance Star Math computer-adaptive assessments went up for students in grades 2 through 5 from January 2017 to January 2018.

Specifically, student scores in second grade went from 374.2 to 498.1; third grade, from 481.9 to 576.9; fourth grade, 568.5 to 649.9; and fifth grade, 640.3 to 712.7. “We’re doing the right thing,’’ says Judi Privitt, assistant coordinator for K5 math. “We’re making great progress.”

Research-based instruction

Everyday Mathematics 4 is a comprehensive K6 math program that provides multiple pathways to learning to help teachers meet the needs of every student in their classroom. The program features a robust set of assessment tools as well as an online evaluation and reporting system that provides a wealth of information teachers can use to drive instruction.

The program’s defining feature is its spiral. Everyday Mathematics 4 distributes learning and practice of each standard across multiple lessons and units, which decades of research has proven is the most effective way for children to learn.

“Teachers really like that they can work on a standard, then later, the same standard will come up for students to developmentally process and learn,” Privitt says. “The online planner has everything teachers need to teach a lesson, so they don’t have to find different web sources.”

And interactive games offer fun ways for students to work on skills in school or at home. “They bring a form of engagement that may have been missing in our math classes previously,” Hibbard says.

The 2017-18 school year is the first in which all 21 district elementary schools began using Everyday Mathematics 4. The previous year, one school and certain classes in 19 other elementary buildings piloted Everyday Mathematics 4.

“We looked at qualitative data from all teachers in the pilot, and 97 percent felt Everyday Mathematics was an adequate resource for them as teachers, and 95 percent felt there was student engagement at a level they appreciated,” Privitt says. “We also had some quantitative data—and Everyday Math came out on top of that as well—but we really liked that teachers felt comfortable.”

Parent engagement

During the pilot, teachers completed periodic surveys and shared their experiences with committee members—including teachers, parents whose children may or may not have been part of the pilot, and board members who visited classrooms to see the different programs in action.

Once Everyday Mathematics 4 was selected, each school had a parent guide to share upon request, and special meetings were held to introduce the program to families. “Parents were playing games with their child, and we were helping them see the mathematics of the games,” Privitt says, “That helped a great deal with parent communication.”

Ongoing training, support

McGraw-Hill has been a “great” partner, Hibbard says, and still trains their teachers. “Everyday Mathematics is also providing a users conference this summer, which is an example of the ongoing sustained PD they are offering us,” Privitt says.