Study Finds Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s Singapore Math Program Raises Student Achievement in the U.S.

BOSTON — January 18, 2011 — Global education leader Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) today announced the results of a study that praises the effectiveness of Math in Focus, the U.S. Edition of Singapore's most widely used program, exclusively provided in the US by HMH. 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 US, as local students are also benefitting from the internationally acclaimed program.

At the onset of the 2009–2010 academic year, school administrators in Old Bridge, New Jersey 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.

"This study is the proof in the pudding that Math in Focus is working for our students," said Donna Kibbler, Director of Elementary Education in Old Bridge, NJ. "Partnering with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for professional development has allowed our teachers to move from being just comfortable teaching math to reaching a new level of confidence in their math teaching ability. The students, teachers and parents in our district truly see the benefits of Singapore math."

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, the exclusive provider of Math in Focus to the United States, first introduced the program in April 2009. It is the U.S. version of Singapore’s most widely used program, My Pals Are Here! Maths for K–5, which offers an intuitive progression of instructions that focus on fewer topics in greater depth to allow students to gain a better understanding of critical math topics. HMH is now working with Marshall Cavendish-Singapore to extend the series to grades 6–8 available in Fall 2011 and 2012.

"We are very pleased to have validated what educators around the world have been telling us," said Mike Lavelle, President, HMH Education Group. "Programs such as Math in Focus take proven methods and implement them into classrooms. These methods have a considerable, measureable effect on students’ learning capabilities, and help prepare them to thrive in the 21st century."

Math in Focus: Singapore Math by Marshall Cavendish is a partnership between Marshall Cavendish Education-Singapore and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. To learn more about Math in Focus, visit

About Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is a global education and learning company that is leading the way with innovative solutions and approaches to the challenges facing education today. The world's largest provider of educational products and solutions for pre-K–12 learning, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt develops and delivers interactive, results-driven learning solutions that advance teacher effectiveness and student achievement. Through curricula excellence and technology innovation, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt collaborates with school districts, administrators, teachers, parents and students. Today, HMH education products and services are used by 57 million students throughout all 50 U.S. states and 120 countries. 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