In 2012 Elgin Middle School, located in Elgin, Texas, was rated academically “unacceptable” by the state of Texas. Fewer than half of Elgin’s students were college ready in either English language arts or math. In 2012 only 29% of sixth graders, 32% of seventh graders and 63% of eighth graders met proficiency benchmarks on district exams.
That same year the Texas Education Agency selected SJF portfolio company Think Through Math as the mathematics provider for the state-funded SUCCESS project, making the program available to all Texas public school students in grades 3-8. Think Through Math is an award-winning online learning system that provides quality math instruction and practice to help students learn and prepare for Common Core State Standards, TEKS, and next-generation assessments.
Elgin Middle School chose to take advantage of the state program and utilize Think Through Math in the school because of its significant number of underperforming students. Educators had been looking for a way to motivate students and encourage math practice outside of the classroom, and this is exactly what Think Through Math provided. Elgin Middle School implemented the program and required students to use Think Through Math for 90 minutes every week as part of their homework. The school kept its computer labs open after school all week and on Saturday mornings and built parental and community support of the initiative.
Think Through Math’s program involves allows students to design their own “avatars” to compete by answering multiple choice math questions. Students compete against their own classmates, the school and other kids across the state. Online tutors are also available to help with questions.
By the spring testing cycle, Elgin Middle School’s 858 students had completed 528,201 math problems on Think Through Math, mostly done after school as homework. On average, each student completed 369 math problems in the classroom and 247 additional math problems outside the classroom using the program.
The hard work and dedication of the students and educators paid off. The sixth and seventh graders, as well as the eighth graders in Algebra I, achieved double-digit gains in the percentage of students moving to “Met Proficient” on district benchmark tests in 2013. The school is very pleased with the results.
Today U.S. students rank below average in math among the world’s 65 most-developed countries, according to the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA). Think Through Math is directly addressing the need for stronger mathematics performance. 2.5 million students and 80,000 teachers now use Think Through Math in schools spanning 47 states across the country. In 2014, students will do approximately one billion complex math problems and receive millions of live tutoring sessions using the program. Think Through Math was awarded the SIIA CODiE Award for Best Mathematics Instructional Solution in 2012 and 2014.