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More Than a Dozen School Districts in New Jersey Turn to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt's Math in Focus to Introduce Singapore Math to the Garden State


BOSTON – Global education leader Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) today announced that more than a dozen school districts in New Jersey have adopted its revolutionary program Math in Focus: Singapore Math by Marshall Cavendish.  The Edison Township School District is the latest to implement the program, joining several other districts across New Jersey.

The Math in Focus program is the U.S. Edition of Singapore’s most widely used program, My Pals Are Here! Maths. Both programs are published by Marshall Cavendish-Singapore with Math in Focus availability exclusively in the U.S. through HMH. The proven K-8 math curriculum has been enhanced to meet the unique needs of American students. By focusing on fewer topics and using a concrete-to-symbolic-to-visual approach, Math in Focus gives learners a more comprehensive understanding of critical math topics that align with the Common Core State Standards. In a recent study, test scores of Math in Focus students improved by an average of 12.4 points from year to year, more than three times the average improvement that occurred across the remaining students in the comparison group. The results serve as evidence that the program works in the U.S., as local students are also benefitting from the internationally acclaimed program.

“We are thrilled that so many excellent schools throughout New Jersey are choosing Math in Focus,” said Dr. Richard O’Malley, Superintendent, Edison Township School District.  “After careful study and consideration, Edison Township chose this program because it teaches mastery, developing students into mathematicians, and not just test-takers. As Math in Focus is welcomed into more schools, we move closer to our nationwide goal of achieving math excellence.”

A variety of school districts across the state have taken on the program so far, with some in the second year of implementation, such as Franklin Lakes, Shamong ,and Old Bridge, the latter of which fully adopted the program last year after a successful pilot program in 2009. Larger urban districts, such as Newark, have also been piloting the program. Districts have also been turning to HMH’s proven professional development programs to fundamentally improve the way teacher’s teach the Singapore Math method.

At the onset of the 2009-2010 academic year, school administrators in Old Bridge began piloting the Math in Focus program in hopes that it would help boost students’ overall aptitude in math.  In December 2010, independent evaluation firm Educational Research Institute of America (ERIA) conducted a study on the instructional effectiveness of the Math in Focus pilot program, which yielded significant results. 

ERIA reviewed students’ mathematics scores from the New Jersey Assessment of Skills and Knowledge (ASK) in order to determine the effect of the program on standardized test scores and overall competency.  Analysis of data showed implementing Math in Focus to fourth graders was associated with a significant increase in student math performance.  When ERIA compared students’ 2009 NJ ASK scores, researchers found no difference between students test scores prior to using the program. However, in 2010 when ERIA examined NJ ASK scores after one year of using Math in Focus, students exposed to the program had a 12.4 point increase in average test performance while the rest of the students in the district only increased by 3.5 points.

“With the implementation of Math in Focus we see a distinct improvement in student achievement as manifested in the New Jersey Assessment of Skills and Knowledge (NJASK) scores at grades 3, 4 and 5,” said Dr. Simon M. Bosco, Superintendent, Old Bridge Township Public Schools.  “Teachers have embraced the program and have become more enthusiastic about mathematics, which has led to increased levels of interest and confidence in our students.”

In September 2011, ERIA released the findings of another study comparing Math in Focus students to those using two comparison programs. The results were impressive, as students using Math in Focus in grade 4 had significantly greater math achievement versus students using either of the two comparison programs.

School districts beginning the first year of implementation include Englewood, Rutherford, 
Little Falls, South River, Roselle, Bayonne, North Bergen, Mount Olive, and several others.

For more information on Math in Focus, please visit: www.hmheducation.com/mathinfocus


About Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 
With education products and services used by 57 million students throughout all 50 U.S. states and 120 countries, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is a global education and learning company. The world’s largest provider of materials for pre-K–12 learning, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is leading the way with innovative solutions and approaches to the challenges facing education today. Through curricula excellence coupled with technology innovations and professional services, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt collaborates with school districts, administrators, teachers, parents and students, providing interactive, results-driven learning solutions. Its Educational Consulting Services group works to increase student achievement in underperforming schools by developing, implementing and supporting education transformation through sustained district partnerships.  With origins dating back to 1832, the Company also publishes an extensive line of reference works and award-winning literature for adults and young readers. For more information, visit www.hmhco.com.