Global education leader Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) today announced the results of a yearlong pilot of HMH Fuse: Algebra I, the world’s first full-curriculum Algebra app developed exclusively for the Apple iPad, involving the Amelia Earhart Middle School in California’s Riverside Unified School District. The pilot showed that over 78 percent of HMH Fuse users scored Proficient or Advanced on the spring 2011 California Standards Tests, compared with only 59 percent of their textbook-using peers.

The first assessment of the pilot— Riverside’s district Algebra benchmark –took place during the second trimester of the 2010–2011 year. Students using HMH Fuse scored an average of 10 percentage points higher than their peers. The app’s impact was even more pronounced after the California Standards Test in spring 2011, on which HMH Fuse students scored approximately 20 percent higher than their textbook-using peers.

“By engineering a comprehensive platform that combines the best learning material with technology that embraces students’ strengths and addresses their weaknesses, we’ve gone far beyond the capabilities of an e-book to turn a one-way math lesson into an engaging, interactive, supportive learning experience,” said Bethlam Forsa, Executive Vice President, Global Content and Product Development, HMH, in the press release. “With HMH Fuse, teachers can assess student progress in real time and tailor instruction as needed.”

Earhart educators agree that HMH Fuse’s combination of content and technology triggered a sea change in their students’ Algebra education. “The app was great! Students were motivated and more in charge of their own learning,” said Dan Sbur, one of the two math teachers involved in the study. “[HMH Fuse] is more of a ‘my generation thing’ as opposed to a textbook.” Coleman Kells, Principal of Earhart, commented: “Students’ interaction with the device was more personal. You could tell students were more engaged. Using the iPad was more normal, more understandable for them.”

Overall, the pilot’s results demonstrated that HMH Fuse is an effective means of improving students’ Algebra achievement within and outside the classroom. The HMH Fuse: Algebra I app empowered students to invest in and maintain accountability for their own learning, while also endowing educators with the necessary tools and opportunities to provide robust, individualized instruction for all students. Additionally, parents took advantage of their unprecedented ability to contribute to their children’s learning experience.

HMH conducted the study as part of its commitment to raise mathematics achievement among U.S. students. While research links Algebra mastery to advanced academic achievement and career success, Algebra performance across the U.S. is declining, leaving students without a competitive edge over their high-achieving international peers. The measured success of HMH Fuse presents a possible solution to this decline, showing that instructional technology—if implemented strategically and in combination with trusted content—can fundamentally improve students’ learning experience.

HMH Fuse: Algebra I is a complete educational program that harnesses the capabilities of the iPad to provide digital instruction using proven methods and cutting-edge technology. While most educational apps fall short of providing rich learning experiences that fully leverage the iPad’s capabilities, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt designed HMH Fuse to fully utilize the iPad’s design and touchscreen functionality. The comprehensive, multimedia experience offered by HMH Fuse is further enhanced by the iPad’s portability, which allows students to review their work and use the multimedia components of Fuse anytime, anywhere, regardless of internet availability.

Math teachers Jackie Davis and Sbur were charged with teaching one of their Algebra I classes via HMH Fuse: Algebra I on iPad, and the others via the traditional textbook version of the same curriculum. The pilot and control classrooms were assigned randomly so that any changes in performance would be attributed directly to HMH Fuse: Algebra I.

“Naturally, there is much more research to be done, but we are thrilled by the results thus far,” said Forsa. “HMH Fuse’s success is a promising sign of the potential for targeted education technology to raise student achievement.”

HMH is currently conducting additional HMH Fuse pilot studies in New Jersey, Nevada and Virginia. To learn more about HMH Fuse for Algebra 1, Algebra 2, and Geometry, visit www.hmheducation.com/fuse. All editions of HMH Fuse are available for purchase on the App Store.

For more information on the Riverside study, visit http://www.hmheducation.com/fuse/pilot-1.php and download a white paper on the results.

Source: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt