1994 Case Study: Diocese of Erie, PA

1994 Case Study: Diocese of Erie, PA

The Diocese conducted a study to establish how the 24® game, when made part of the curriculum on a daily basis over an entire school year, would improve standardized test scores. The study has three tiers; classroom, school and district-wide.


Schools Within the Diocese of Erie, Pennsylvania, Improved Standardized Test Scores by Using the 24® Game as Part of the Math Curriculum

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Three-tiered Study

The Diocese conducted a study to establish how the 24 game, when made part of the curriculum on a daily basis over an entire school year, would improve standardized test scores. The study focused on three levels

  1. Classroom  - A second grade classroom with a low composite test score was selected to determine the efficacy of the 24 Add/Subtract Primer game.
  2. School  - A rural school, with traditionally low test scores and myriad problems that stifled the learning process, was chosen to see if declining test scores would be reversed.
  3. District  - A majority of schools throughout the district participated to determine if standardized test scores would improve districtwide.

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Improving Test Scores at the Classroom Level 

Second grade class at Holy Family School, Erie, Pa.

A second grade classroom at Holy Family School was selected for the study. The class began the year with a composite score of 38 percentile points in computation on the I.O.W.A. Test of Basic Skills. All 19 students in the class received individual 24 Primer games (Add/Subtract edition) for use in school and at home.

The students received one hour per week of classroom instruction using the 24Primer game. They did homework using the 24 game four nights per week, aimed at mastering skills. Each student had to teach parents and three adults how to play the game, and document at-home play.

The year end (1994) I.O.W.A. Test scores improved significantly when compared with the beginning year (1993) scores. Seventeen of the 19 students increased their individual computation scores between 2 and 41 percentile points. The class composite score rose from the 38th percentile to the 71st percentile.

Improving Test Scores at the School Level

St. Boniface School, Kersey, Pa.

St. Boniface is a small rural school in Elk County, Pa. Test evaluations showed that students were not working up to their ability level. Even gifted students, who usually excel in any environment, were exhibiting declining standardized test scores. Teachers were plagued with low morale. Students exhibited a virtual lack of enthusiasm for learning. Ineffective communication between faculty and students was the norm. These conditions resulted in classroom composite scores as low as 3 percentile points.

To involve the entire school, a schoolwide enrichment model (designed by Dr. Joseph Renzulli, University of Connecticut) was used. The 24 game was the tool used to help improve low math scores at all grade levels. At the foundation of the Primer to Platinum project was the entire range of 24 games. One unique aspect of the 24 games is that they cover a broad area of math skills. Learning these skills on a gradient allows students to enter, and become engaged in mathematics, according to their ability level.

Students and faculty, as well as parents, met once a week for 45-60 minutes. Students selected the activity level that could challenge them, and yet put success within their grasp. Each student's progress was visually charted on ladders of success. "Once students mastered one level, they were eager to compete at the next," said Joan Pfaff, enrichment coordinator for the six Catholic elementary schools in Elk County.

A series of incentives were provided to recognize student achievement; including certificates, inclusion in the 24 Hall of Fame, coverage by local news media, and acknowledgment at monthly assemblies. After using the 24 game as part of the curriculum for one year, students, teachers and parents labeled the program a resounding success.

The fifth grade computation score of 3 percentile points at the beginning of the year increased to 66 percentile points at the end of the study. The sixth grade composite jumped from 26 percentile points to 91. The seventh grade composite score went from 47 to 95 percentile points. The program not only accomplished the goal of raising test scores, it engendered a sense of pride and accomplishment among the faculty and student body.

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Improving Test Scores at the District Level

Diocese of Erie, Pa.

The Erie Diocese encompasses 10,000 square miles, 13 counties and student populations from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds. To improve the math computation scores the diocese incorporated the 24 game into the math curriculum. The study involved 3,000 students, in grades 4, 5 and 6, during the 1993/1994 school year. The 24 game was introduced into 111 classrooms.

Participating classrooms used the game for 5 to 10 minutes each day. The goal was to generate excitement for the process of learning math, and reinforce basic math skills with students districtwide. Across the diocese, math computation scores increased in 73 of the 111 classrooms. While significant, perhaps even more noteworthy is that nine classrooms improved over 40 percentile points; and 48 classrooms increased more than 10 percentile points.

An unexpected result of the study was that of the 73 classrooms that improved in computation scores, 92 percent improved in the other tested areas: math concepts and problem solving. Across the diocese, the 24 game added excitement and challenge to the math curriculum; it encouraged kids to be problem solvers; and fostered a spirit of cooperation.

Conclusion

The three-tiered study in the Erie Diocese documents the success in using the 24 game to improve math proficiency, not only at the classroom and schoolwide level, but districtwide.

Michael Casserly, executive director, Council of the Great City Schools, says, "The Council's goal is to duplicate these results in our largest urban districts. This achievement would make significant progress in elevating the math proficiency of all our nation's students." The Council is a coalition of fifty of the largest urban school districts in the United States; and National Education Territory of the 24 Challenge® Math Program.