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Student Achievement Data Shows Student Math Skills Improved Using Cognitive Tutor Curriculum

January 10, 2006

Schools in districts served by the Mississippi Bend Area Education Agency that are implementing Carnegie Learning’s Cognitive Tutor Algebra I curriculum in their grades 7-12 mathematics classrooms are seeing positive results. Cognitive Tutor Algebra I was purchased through the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) (Title II.D) grant, “Enhancing Education Through Technology (E2T2).” The grant’s purpose has been to use technology to open the gateway for all students to advanced math courses and to improve student mathematics skills and comprehension. The Cognitive Tutor family of curricula includes Bridge to Algebra, Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II and Integrated Mathematics I-III. Carnegie Learning mathematics courses now serve more than 150,000 students in forty-six of the nation’s largest school districts.

Classroom time using Cognitive Tutor is structured to provide students with 60% direct instruction with their teacher, cooperative work with classmates and peers, and time to complete mathematics tasks. During the remaining 40% of the time, students work at their own pace on the Algebra I curriculum with the Computer Tutor. Math skills and efficient solution pathways are taught using powerful cognitively designed software and graphics enabling students to visualize mathematical problems. Carnegie Learning’s Computer Tutor guides students to a more efficient way of solving math problems.

Of the twenty-two districts served by the Mississippi Bend AEA, twenty presently use the Cognitive Tutor Algebra I program in their math sequence. Participating school districts include: Andrew (control group), Bellevue, Bettendorf, Calamus-Wheatland, Camanche, Central, Clinton (control group), Columbus, Davenport, Durant (control group), East Central, Louisa-Muscatine, Maquoketa, Muscatine, North Scott, Northeast, Pleasant Valley, Preston, West Liberty and Wilton. Due to the success of Cognitive Tutor Algebra I, three districts are implementing Cognitive Tutor Geometry in their classrooms this year. The goal is to provide high school students with technology-supported math curricula that enable them to successfully complete algebra and geometry by the time they graduate.

This is the third year for the E2T2 AEA9 Consortium. Baseline testing was completed in spring 2003 and Year 1 data was collected in spring 2004. A more rigorous pre- and posttest evaluation procedure was followed in 2004-2005. A pretest was given in September 2004 and the posttest was administered at the end of April 2005. Teachers were able to show their Cognitive Tutor Algebra I students how much their mathematics knowledge and skills had increased in one year.

Data determining the effectiveness of Cognitive Tutor was provided through a three-section test instrument that measured student attitude, math skills and problem solving ability. AEA 9 Algebra Assessment participant-teachers were placed in three groups based on their method of delivering mathematics instruction. High Implementers were teachers who used the Cognitive Tutor Algebra I textbook and its companion software. Low Implementers used a different textbook with the Cognitive Tutor Algebra I software. The Control group used other Exemplary NSF math curricula (Core-Plus, Accelerated Math or Connected Mathematics).

Problem solving ability was measured in the Constructed Response section of the Algebra Assessment. From pretest to posttest for the High Implementers, student achievement in problem solving for all student subgroups (males, females, low SES, IEP, majority and minority) posted gains from 65% to 100%. For Low Implementers, student achievement for the same subgroups posted gains from 30% to 90%. For the Control group, student achievement growth for the same subgroups, posted gains from 40% to 75%.

The AEA has provided extensive support to regional school districts, administrators and math teachers for Cognitive Tutor Algebra I training, implementation, data collection and technology use in mathematics classrooms. Data confirms that the High Implementer group outperformed other groups. Sally Rigeman, Quality Learning Consultant and Cognitive Tutor Program Leader for the Mississippi Bend AEA said, “When a curriculum is implemented with fidelity, student achievement gains can be realized.”

For more information about Carnegie Learning’s Cognitive Tutor program, contact Sally Rigeman at (563) 344-6562 or email:

The Mississippi Bend Area Education Agency is one of 12 AEAs across the state of Iowa created by the 1974 Iowa Legislature. It provides educational services, media services and special education services to approximately 55,000 students in twenty-two public school districts and twenty-two approved non-public schools in Cedar, Clinton, Jackson, Louisa, Muscatine and Scott Counties.

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