The focus of this academic year study was the effectiveness of HMH Math in Focus®: Singapore Math® by Marshall Cavendish®, a mathematics program for students in kindergarten to grade 8, published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. This study included students in grades 6 to 8 and included 9 different schools located in 4 different states.
The demographics of the participating schools showed that the percentage of non-White students was about 24% while the percentage of U.S. non-White students is reported as 48%. The percentage of students enrolled in National School Lunch programs was about 17% compared to a U.S. national average of about 52%.
The study was conducted with 794 students enrolled in grades 6, 7, and 8. Only those students who took both a pretest and post-test were included in the data analysis. Teachers used the program for their math instruction five days per week and about 40 to 45 minutes per day. The program was being used by the teachers for the first time. All the teachers had at least five years of teaching experience and most had 10 to 15 years of teaching experience.
Pretests and post-tests were written by math specialists based on the instructional units taught at each grade level. In addition to analyzing the gain scores for the total group of students at each grade, analyses were conducted separately for students with higher and lower pretest scores.
The average gain scores for the total group of students at each grade were statistically significant. The effect sizes for all students at grades 6, 7, and 8 were large.
In addition, the average gain scores for the low and high scoring groups at each grade level were statistically significant. The effect sizes for the high and low scoring groups were large at grades 6 and 8. At grade 7 the effect size was large for the low scoring students and medium for the high scoring students. All the effect sizes at every grade exceeded the effect sizes needed to determine a substantively important level.