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Report Released on the Effectiveness of Carnegie Learning’s Bridge to Algebra

Empirical Education released the results of a year-long randomized experiment on the comparative effectiveness of Carnegie Learning’s Bridge to Algebra program. This study, like that on Carnegie Learning’s Cognitive Tutor for Algebra (see news for May 24, 2007), was conducted in cooperation with the Maui School District in Hawai’i and funded through a grant to Empirical Education from the U.S. Department of Education. The experiment could not discern an overall difference between the program and control group measured by either NWEA’s test for general math or the test’s algebraic operations subscale. However, for the algebraic operations outcomes (but not for general math), we found that students scoring low before participating in Bridge to Algebra benefited significantly more from the program’s algebraic operations instruction than did students with high initial scores. The district was specifically interested in looking at how the different ethnic groups, particularly the Hawaiian/Part-Hawaiian and Filipino students, performed in the new program. Controlling for pretest, we did not find that the program had a different effect for different ethnicities. The district was also interested in learning whether the program was differentially effective for students taught by certified teachers versus those with non–certified teachers. For the overall score (but not the algebraic operations sub-strand), we found that the program gave the non–certified teachers an advantage. Finally, despite some implementation challenges, teachers reported a generally positive attitude toward the new program.