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Davis Creek Elementary students kick off new study

Nov. 14, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

BARBOURSVILLE -- When education professionals from throughout the county and state descended upon Davis Creek Elementary School in Barboursville to kick off a four-year study of a new digital math curriculum, the students there already were more than acclimated to the curriculum, if not all of the attention they received.

The students at the school are part of the West Virginia Math Curriculum Impact Study, which will focus on up to 52 second-grade and fifth-grade math classes throughout West Virginia in order to track their progress in using the math curriculum program developed by Reasoning Mind, a nonprofit organization that that develops computer-based math curricula and works with schools to implement them in classrooms.

West Virginia is one of the first states to incorporate the program into their classrooms in Cabell and Marion counties.

SRI International is the California-based research firm received $3.5 million from the U.S. Department of Education to conduct the study that will examine if a fully digital, online curriculum will lead to increased proficiency in math and improved student attitude toward mathematics.

Students in Teri Crowder's fifth-grade classroom demonstrated the digital math program that they have used for 70 minutes each day since the beginning of the last school year.

Crowder said the computer program allows students to work at their own pace, allowing higher-achieving students to move forward and letting other students more strongly build their math foundations.

"I think that it gives us a unique opportunity to see where the standards are and to see where we can set our expectations," said Crowder.

The introduction of this study comes after the National Assessment of Education progress reported West Virginia's fourth-grade students ranked 42nd nationally in math.

Jeff Smith, director of curriculum and assessment for Cabell County Schools, said while being one of the first states to implement the program is exciting, it is not the most important thing when it comes to students' success.

"It's not just a matter of trying new things, but it's trying things of quality," Smith said. "The world is changing. We had excellent math instruction for years and years doing it the way it used to be. That's not the way students are expected to think now. In a global society, in the world, the way it's changing, we have to be willing to change too.

For more information about the study, visit www.mathimpact.net.

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