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Study finds English learners' (ELs) math scores grow nationwide when using Imagine Math

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Research finds that English learner (ELs) who used Imagine Math showed substantial increases in math proficiency scores across the US
Student using Imagine Math

Background: ELs and Imagine Math

Imagine Math, a digital learning tool designed to improve mathematics proficiency, is utilized in several school districts throughout the nation. Data for English learner (EL) students who used the Imagine Math program during the 2017–2018 school year was analyzed to determine the efficacy of the program. In total, data for approximately 3,000 students who had beginning-of-year and end-of-year benchmark assessment scores was analyzed.

Imagine Math administers three benchmark assessments throughout the school year to measure growth and provide educators with a snapshot of each student’s achievement level. The Imagine Math benchmark assessments are reported using The Quantile Framework® for Mathematics. As such, Quantile® measures were used to gauge student achievement and growth.

Results: Growth for ELs

Figure 1 depicts the average Quantile® growth of Imagine Math students separated by the number of lessons that students passed while using the program. The figure demonstrates that greater growth was observed for students who passed more Imagine Math lessons.

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Figure 2 demonstrates the effect of ELs using Imagine Math on Quantile® score growth separated by grade and program usage. On average, growth was observed for all grade levels. However, students who used the program with fidelity were more likely to enjoy significantly greater Quantile® score growth.

Importantly, EL students in grades 4–6 who used the program with fidelity exceeded the levels of growth typically expected of non-ELs in a school year (Table 1).

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Figure 3 demonstrates the effect of using Imagine Math on Quantile® score growth separated by grade level placement as determined by beginning-of-year benchmark assessment performance.

While the most substantial gains were realized for students who tested at three levels below grade level, positive gains were achieved for all users of the Imagine Math program.

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Conclusion: Imagine Math helps ELs achieve in math

Regular use of the Imagine Math program appears to be associated with substantial increases in math proficiency for ELs as measured by increases in Quantile® measures between Imagine Math benchmark administrations.

Increased use of the program was associated with respective increases in Quantile® measure growth. Further, the benefits of the Imagine Math program appear to be particularly relevant for EL students who are performing below grade level at the beginning of the school year.

These findings are compelling as many ELs across the country are not succeeding in math, contributing to the high rate of high school dropouts. Many ELs struggle, failing end-of-course exams in secondary school and lacking college- or career-readiness in mathematics as compared to non-EL peers. With EL students being the fastest growing student group in the US, representing nearly 10% of the student population, Imagine Learning is committed to changing these outcomes and preparing ELs for the future workforce.  

Read more about how to help ELs and all students learn to love math.


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