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First In Math Helps School District of Philadelphia Students Trend Upward in Math Eight years in a Row

First In Math Helps School District of Philadelphia Students Trend Upward in Math Eight years in a Row

According to the PA and the US Department of Education, The School District of Philadelphia experienced an outstanding 37.4 percentage-point increase in math scores since implementing the program in 2003.


PHILADELPHIA, PA—Thanks in part to the First In Math® Online Program, The School District of Philadelphia is bucking the trend of many urban school districts. Data supplied by the State of Pennsylvania and the US Department of Education shows that the District experienced an outstanding 37.4 percentage-point increase in math scores since implementing the program in 2003. The number of students scoring at Proficient & Above levels has increased each year, and continues to trend upward.

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Suntex, creator of the First In Math® (FIM) program, began collecting data within all major Academic Divisions (previously referred to as Regions) starting in 2003, the year FIM was introduced district-wide under a NSF grant. Evaluation of this District-wide data suggested that schools with high levels of participation in the program posted higher increases in math proficiency.

The district’s former Northwest Region, which included 26 schools, 309 classrooms and more than 8,000 students, was spotlighted because its students were among the top performers in the FIM program, spending more than 30,000 hours on the site. Data showed that almost immediately, the NW Region’s Pennsylvania State Standard Assessment (PSSA) test scores dramatically increased. Fifth-grade test scores increased 15.1%—double the district’s 7.4% and nearly triple the state’s 5.2% increase. Eighth-grade scores jumped 16.6%, exceeding the district’s 11.1% and more than 2.5 times the state’s 6.1% increase.

Second-year data pointed to sustained levels of improvement in the region, and showed many schools scoring double-digit increases in math proficiency.

The School District of Philadelphia is the eighth largest in the nation by enrollment, and serves a racially and ethnically diverse population of more than 146,000 students. The District’s continued success and improvement in mathematics is an excellent illustration of the First In Math® Online Program’s ability to help students of diverse backgrounds become proficient in math basics.  

"The strides we made in our PSSA scores are, I think, in a great part due to First In Math.”  —Marco Zanoni, Principal, Academy of the Middle Years School.

"When I was a Principal, we did see results in our math scores after having all of our students participate in First In Math." —Penny Nixon, SDP Chief Academic Officer.