When It Is Ideal to Compare Yourself to Others

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By Suzy Koontz

A very powerful assessment technique utilized by Math & Movement is the process of pre and post-testing participants. This gives us the ability to see how efficient our methods are for the topics covered during a short term event or a longer term implementation of the program in a classroom. This method is terrific for showing how participants improve their skills, but it doesn’t tell the whole story. For that, we need to compare these scores to scores from a control group.

While we have known that comparing our participants to a control group is the ideal approach for demonstrating the effectiveness of the Math & Movement program, it has been challenging to get that kind of data; teachers have been overwhelmed with required assessments and we did not want to add to their already-packed schedules. That recently shifted when a teacher (Teacher A) had the opportunity to work with a local university to implement a deeper study in January 2016.

With the help of the university, a group of students with similar characteristics as Teacher A’s classroom were identified as a control group. One group (the control group) was taught using the traditional learning style over a six-week period. Over the same period, the other group was taught by Teacher A using the more active and participatory Math & Movement practices.

The results of these tests were extraordinary – exceeding both teachers’ expectations! Students in the control group were staggeringly outperformed by the Math & Movement students in their post testing. The control group had an increase in mixed multiplication problems learned of 35% and the 3rd graders learning with the kinesthetic approach of Math & Movement saw a 213% increase!

On a test that measured skill/success with word/picture problems (the Easy CBM test), the control group showed an increase of just 7% and the M&M students saw an increase of 48%. Additionally, the control group only saw a 2% increase in retention rate over a six-week period, while the intervention group’s retention rose 82% over the same period!

Showing that kids improve skills by 213% or 48% over six weeks is powerful. Comparing that to what a similar group does over the same period, puts the participant group’s success into perspective. With this data, there is no denying that Math & Movement can create impressive results inside the classroom.  This data also shows the urgency of getting Math & Movement into every classroom – all students can benefit from kinesthetic learning and all students deserve the opportunity to succeed.

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