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WestEd posted an RCT of ASSISTments, a low-cost online tool that assists 7th graders with math homework and gives teachers real-time reports on student performance. Quick take: High-quality RCT finds sizable gain (~31% of a grade-level) in math scores on the state test at 2 year mark.

Study Design:

  • The study sample comprised 63 public schools in North Carolina with 9,703 7th graders (61% low income). The schools were randomized to ASSISTments vs control. Based on careful review, this was a high-quality RCT (e.g., baseline balance, modest attrition, prespecified analyses).


  • The study couldn't measure end-of-year effects due to COVID, but at end of 8th grade (1 year post-program), it found a statistically significant impact on state test scores in math: Effect size 0.10, or about a 31% improvement over the expected annual gain in math for 8th graders.


  • This is a positive replication of a prior high-quality RCT of ASSISTments in Maine (effect size 0.18 at end of 7th grade) and shows that the effects endure after program completion. Importantly, the program's effects are achieved at low cost (<$100/student).

  • Taken together, the Maine and North Carolina studies constitute strong, replicated RCT evidence - providing confidence that schools which adopt and faithfully implement ASSISTments will see meaningful gains in student math achievement.

  • Disclosure: my former employer, Arnold Ventures, helped fund the North Carolina ASSISTments study.

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