Computers in the classroom have long been a source of controversy as to just how much they improve student’s education and augment teacher instruction and more traditional tools. But a new app for the iPad seems to have provided measurable improvement in student’s test scores.
Score another win for the iPad, quite literally. Educational courseware provider Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) is touting the results of a yearlong pilot program that indicates the company’s HMH Fuse Algebra 1 program improved student’s test scores.
HMH says the software is the first full-curriculum Algebra app developed exclusively for the iPad. Results from the pilot program, carried out at the Amelia Earhart Middle School in California's Riverside Unified School District, showed that over 78% of HMH Fuse users scored Proficient or Advanced on the spring 2011 California Standards Tests, compared with only 59% of their textbook-using peers.
"By engineering a comprehensive platform that combines the best learning material with technology that embraces students' strengths and addresses their weaknesses, we’ve gone far beyond the capabilities of an e-book to turn a one-way math lesson into an engaging, interactive, supportive learning experience," said Bethlam Forsa, Executive Vice President of Global Content and Product Development at HMH, in a release. "With HMH Fuse, teachers can assess student progress in real time and tailor instruction as needed.”
The first assessment of the pilot – Riverside's district Algebra benchmark – took place during the second trimester of the 2010–2011 year. Students using HMH Fuse scored an average of 10% points higher than their peers. The app's impact was even greater after the California Standards Test in spring 2011 with HMH Fuse students scoring approximately 20% higher than their textbook-using peers.
“The app was great! Students were motivated and more in charge of their own learning," said Dan Sbur, one of the two math teachers involved in the study. "[HMH Fuse] is more of a ‘my generation thing’ as opposed to a textbook.”