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AZ Department of Education, ASU Prep Digital develop 3-year partnership to bolster math outcomes

New Math Momentum program is being piloted this summer

woman teaching in front of classroom
July 12, 2021

ASU Prep Digital announced July 12 a new $9 million, three-year partnership with the Arizona Department of Education to address challenges students are experiencing with math education in the state. The key focus of the partnership is a new Math Momentum program, designed to help middle schools increase math learning outcomes.

The current AzMERIT passing rate percentage for eighth-grade math overall (Arizona students who scored as proficient or highly proficient) was only 41% in 2020, according to the Arizona Education Progress Meter, a measuring tool that uses a series of metrics to show where there is work left to do with education in the state. Co-created by Expect More Arizona and the Center for the Future of Arizona, the Arizona Education Progress Meter has a goal of boosting the eighth-grade math AzMERIT passing rate percentage to 69%.

“With year after year of stagnant math proficiency growth, it is time for Arizona to invest in next-generation learning environments and student math literacy,” said Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman. “By succeeding in math, students also build important critical thinking skills. This exciting partnership with ASU Prep Digital will allow students from across Arizona to catch up and thrive.”

Designed to boost the math and digital literacy skills of fifth-to-ninth-grade students using data-driven interventions, Math Momentum course offerings include grades five–eight math, pre-algebra, algebra and geometry. Initially designed to serve about 4,000 students each year, the program can be customized to each participating middle school based on its needs. For example, ASU Prep Digital offers a fully virtual program offering or a hybrid offering that combines virtual instruction with on-site, in-person learning facilitators.

ASU Prep Digital will also provide a dedicated teaching partner for participating math classrooms, a benefit for middle schools struggling to find highly qualified math teachers. For schools with math teachers on staff, learning coaches from ASU Prep Digital will collaborate with and assist the on-site teacher in delivering engaging, differentiated and live math lessons to support the individual learning needs of each student.

“This new Math Momentum program will target some of the greatest systemic and student-level challenges that Arizona middle schools face in teaching mathematics,” said Amy McGrath, deputy vice president at ASU and chief operating officer of ASU Prep Digital. “It will blend a high quality, adaptive math curriculum with innovative approaches in learning recovery and acceleration. We also will leverage the power of relationships, math mindsets and adaptive technology to elevate the state’s math achievement.”

ASU Prep Digital is piloting the program this summer. Select school districts around the state, particularly those in communities hit hardest by the pandemic, will participate. The summer pilot also offers flexible options to meet the variety of needs that middle schools have in addressing math learning outcomes in their district.

“Through an innovative program like this, we’re bringing our proven digital tools into classrooms to better personalize learning opportunities, especially for those students who are returning to school for full-time, in-person learning, this fall,” McGrath said. “ASU Prep Digital offers a variety of custom teaching pathways that not only help to address learning losses as a result of the pandemic but also assist students in accelerating their math skills and improving their math scores.”

Teacher and facilitator training will be a core component of the Math Momentum pilot program. ASU Prep Digital will offer a comprehensive training program for all participating teachers and school site facilitators along with yearlong support from its teachers.

“Partnering with ASU Prep Digital on this pilot program made perfect sense because they have a proven track record of success and the ability to stand up a successful program quickly,” Hoffman said. “In middle school, math gets more complex. At the same time, it offers so many opportunities for students to practice patience, develop their problem-solving skills and learn from their mistakes. A one-of-a-kind partnership like this one delivers very individualized teaching methods and techniques to fit the needs of students today. It also gives Arizona middle schools the chance to bridge learning gaps caused by the pandemic. Most importantly, students receive all the tools, resources, coaching and support they need to enrich, accelerate and advance their learning.”

To help ensure the success of this new program, ASU Prep Digital will leverage successful models from the Arizona Virtual Teacher Institute, another initiative co-funded by the Arizona Department of Education this past year. Experienced trainers from the institute are designing flexible synchronous and asynchronous options, both for this summer and the duration of the new school year.

Learn more about the Math Momentum program.

Media contact: Angela Menninger, or 602-373-8212.

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