Harvard Study Deems DreamBox Software Effective

(Photo: Ilya Pavlov, Creative Commons)

(Photo: Ilya Pavlov, Creative Commons)

A new study performed by the Center for Education Policy Research (CEPR) at Harvard University has found a connection between one adaptive learning program and an increase in math achievement for students in grades three through five.

The study, "DreamBox Learning Growth in the Howard County Public School System and Rocketship Education," looked at Dreambox Learning, as well as the test scores of almost 3,000 students in grades three through five who attended school at the Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) in Maryland and Rocketship Education in California for the 2013-14 and 2014-15 school years. Researchers found that those students who used Dreambox had a high instance of increased academic achievement when baseline tests scores were controlled for, reports Blake Montgomery for EdSurge.

Student achievement was determined through scores obtained on the NWEA Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) mathematics assessments, the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) mathematics assessments, and state assessments for Maryland and California. The districts were chosen because they have culturally and economically diverse student bodies.

Research findings agree with Dreambox beliefs that all children are capable of success so long as they are provided the right tools and support.

"We saw positive relationships between the amount of student [DreamBox] usage and the magnitude of student achievement gains on state tests and interim assessments in both sites," Harvard researchers wrote.

Researchers went on to say that the student at HCPSS who had began the year at the 50th percentile could be expected to increase to between the 54th and 55th percentile or Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) test at the end of 2014-15 with the help of Dreambox, so long as it is used for an average of 7.1 hours. They added that their research suggests the relationship to be linear, finding achievement gains to continue to increase at the same rate as the usage of Dreambox.

Dreambox combines Intelligent Adaptive Learning technology with innovative digital content in an effort to engage students in math, promote exploration, and increase their understanding, confidence level, and support of the subject through real-time formative feedback.

Study results found the average student improving by close to four percentile points on NWEA MAP assessments after using Dreambox for just 14 hours.

While it is recommended that students use Dreambox for an average of 60-90 minutes each week, the study noted that those students who used the program for less time actually had a positive correlation between the time they did spend using the program and academic achievement.

"We're dedicated to the success of each unique student and are committed to continually studying the effectiveness of DreamBox in terms of measurable impact on individual learners," said Dr. Tim Hudson, vice president of learning at DreamBox Learning. "The strength of these predictive correlations is reinforced by the fact that this study analyzed the individual pre- and post-test scores of thousands of students, regardless of how much of the DreamBox curriculum they had completed."

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