Study Finds Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s Singapore Math Program Dramatically Raises Student Math Achievement in New Jersey School District

BOSTON -- Global education leader Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) today announced the results of a study highlighting the effectiveness of its popular Math in Focus: Singapore Math by Marshall Cavendish program.  New Jersey’s Edison Township School District began a year-long pilot of Math in Focus at the onset of the 2011-2012 school year, hoping that it would improve students’ overall skill in math.  Educators administered aptitude tests to students in grades two and four both before and after the trial began, in order to accurately measure just how well Math in Focus impacted ability.  In the spring of 2012, independent evaluation firm Educational Research Institute of America (ERIA) conducted a study on the instructional effectiveness of the Math in Focus pilot program, concluding that it indeed showed dramatic improvement in students’ math aptitude, a trend that remained constant for students with differing demographic characteristics. 

When testing was complete, the ERIA discovered that 76 percent of second grade students scored 70 percent or higher on the posttest, as compared to only 17 percent in the pretest.  Additionally, 39 percent of fourth grade students got 70 percent or higher on the post-test, whereas on the pretest only 5 percent scored at that level.  The ERIA found that student demographics, including gender, ethnic background, or socio-economic status, did not have any significant impact on scores.  Furthermore, it was determined that students scoring either low or high on pretests, both showed large gains during post-testing. 

“Success in a 21st century global economy demands that students possess a deep understanding of math concepts, and the dramatic results of this study prove that Math in Focus works to do just that,” said Dr. Richard O’Malley, Superintendent of Edison Township School District. “Edison is proud of its partnership with HMH, and the ability to implement and study this effective Singapore Math program in NJ.”

The ERIA study included 38 fourth graders and 54 second graders enrolled in the Edison Township School District, taught by teachers who had never before used the Math in Focus program.  Based on Math in Focus principles, a 40-item multiple-choice assessment test was developed for each grade, to be administered before and after the pilot.  The assessments focused on the skills, strategies, and knowledge necessary for effective understanding of mathematics. 

The Math in Focus program is the U.S. Edition of Singapore’s most widely used program, My Pals Are Here!  Both programs are published by Marshall Cavendish with Math in Focus availability exclusively in the U.S. through HMH.  The proven K-8 math curriculum has been enhanced and reworked 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. 

Math in Focus is truly a revolutionary program that teaches critical thinking skills necessary for the 21st century learner,” said Scott Bowker, General Manager of Specialized Curriculum for HMH.  “It doesn’t just prepare students for a test, but enables true mastery of the subject matter.” 

For more information on Math in Focus, please visit

About Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is a global learning company with the mission of changing lives by fostering passionate, curious learners. Among the world’s largest providers of pre-K–12 education solutions and one of its longest-established publishing houses, HMH combines cutting-edge research, editorial excellence and technological innovation to improve teaching and learning environments and solve complex literacy and education challenges. HMH’s interactive, results-driven education solutions are utilized by 60 million students in 120 countries, and its renowned and awarded novels, non-fiction, children's books and reference works are enjoyed by readers throughout the world. For more information, visit