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Mathematics Intervention Initiative Increases Achievement For At-Risk Middle School Students in Texas, Achieves National Recognition

Aug 24, 2006

Dallas, August 24, 2006 --- Texas Instruments (TI), a leader in educational technology, and the Richardson Independent School District (RISD), a 34,000-student district in North Texas, today announced the 2006 pass rate for at-risk middle school students participating in a new mathematics intervention jumped 33 percent over 2005 as measured by the Texas statewide standardized mathematics test. The mathematics intervention, jointly developed and implemented by RISD and TI, helps address the performance gap between the various ethnic groups represented in the student body and improves 7th and 8th graders' mathematics scores.

In recognition of the TI-RISD partnership, the intervention was cited by the Council for Corporate and School Partnerships as having compelling data that reflects positive impact on student achievement and/or overall education experience. Their National School and Business partnership award included a $10,000 grant to further the partnership efforts.

"The RISD-TI mathematics intervention is a truly promising practice and an excellent model for how a company and a school district can collaborate to improve student achievement. We are excited to see the continued success of this program in increasing mathematics performance in RISD and in other districts around the nation," said Lizzette Reynolds, Secretary's Regional Representative, U.S. Department of Education, Region VI.

The intervention addresses several key factors that impact mathematics performance including:

  • Providing additional professional development and training for teachers
  • Increasing classroom learning time with block schedules that run for 100 minutes instead of 50
  • Using aligned curriculum with common assessments and benchmarking tools to track student progress
  • Integrating the TI-Navigator™ Classroom Learning System and TI-73 Explorer™ graphing calculators to enrich classroom instruction and assessment
  • Using accelerated curriculum and setting higher expectations for all students
  • Increasing administrative and parent support of mathematics teaching and learning.

After spending several months planning the mathematics intervention, RISD and TI conducted a pilot during the 2005-2006 academic year at Lake Highlands Junior High School (LHJH). The pilot participants included 125 students, many of whom were African-American or Hispanic, or were from economically-disadvantaged circumstances.

Pilot data was obtained for 79 students who had failing math scores on the 2005 Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS™). The remaining students, whose scores were not reflected in the pilot data, were those who had either barely passed or not taken the TAKS in 2005, including Hurricane Katrina-related transfers.

Success Highlights
Among the pilot mathematics intervention results highlights:

Student mathematics achievement on the 2006 TAKS increased significantly.
One-third (33 percent) of the pilot students successfully passed the 2006 TAKS™ test. In contrast, a comparable group from another RISD school who did not participate in the mathematics intervention had a 19 percent pass rate.

On average, all pilot students increased their scores by six points or more, while all other students in the district declined by almost one point on a scale used to compare tests between years.*

Independent researchers found the effect size of the mathematics intervention to be very strong. Effect size is a scale used to measure the gains in students' scores.

RISD improved its district rankings.
The mathematics intervention contributed to RISD moving from acceptable to recognized under the Texas accountability rating system, and both the district and LHJH "Met Adequate Yearly Progress" (AYP) this year under the federal No Child Left Behind rating system.

LHJH also increased its district rankings in benchmark exams from 7th to 2nd in grade 7 and from 7th to 5th in grade 8, demonstrating test scores well above the district average for both grades. Students who participated in the mathematics intervention showed continual improvements on benchmark assessment exams given throughout the year.

"We made significant changes to our approach to mathematics education for at-risk students, creating a total solution that encompassed every facet of our mathematics program. The results have been worth the effort," said Lorine Burrell, principal at Lake Highlands Junior High. "Students who previously struggled in mathematics have not only increased their TAKS performance but are excited about math. Parents and teachers alike have noted a positive difference in the children's performance and attitudes."

Educators increased their content knowledge and improved their teaching techniques.
After receiving just-in-time training in mathematics content, teachers' knowledge of numbers and operations, patterns, functions and algebra improved significantly. In general, educators reported that they had improved their teaching effectiveness and techniques during the mathematics intervention.

"The intervention has been a success on so many different levels. The extra training and technology have helped me refine my teaching approach to make mathematics a more interactive experience. I love the extra 50 minutes of class to make sure that each student understands the material at the end of the period. My students are much more engaged in class, and I can use the benchmarks to track their progress throughout the year and help them in real-time," said LHJH teacher Georgeanna Jones.

Teachers reported increased student participation and engagement.
Educators integrated the TI-Navigator system into their daily teaching and assessment. The TI-Navigator system is an interactive classroom learning system that links students' graphing calculators with a teacher's PC. The system uses real-time feedback to instantly assess student understanding and provides students with a more interactive and engaging learning experience. The teachers reported that the use of technology helped to increase student engagement, reduce many behavioral problems in class, shift responsibility for learning to the students, and encourage group participation. Students spent more time working through problems, were able to realize corrections more quickly, and retain information.

Future Impact
The mathematics intervention program provides a model that is being replicated and scaled into other schools. Based on the pilot program's success, RISD and TI are continuing the intervention in LHJH, expanding the intervention to four additional junior high campuses, and piloting a 9th grade Algebra program with the students who participated in the LHJH pilot.

"Due to the success with RISD, TI has plans to work with at least three other U.S. districts this year to implement similar programs to improve student engagement and mathematics performance," said Melendy Lovett, president, Education and Productivity Solutions business, TI. "We are committed to conducting ongoing research around the effectiveness of the intervention and the impact of our proven mathematics learning technology. We are pleased with the RISD results, applaud the RISD teachers and leadership, and know we have much work to do to sustain and scale the results."

The results were reported by independent researchers from Winick & Lewis Research, LLC, and The University of Texas at Austin.**

For more information about the RISD-TI mathematics intervention, please visit Mathematics Intervention.

For information on TI classroom technology, research, curriculum and professional development resources, visit www.education.ti.com.

* According to the Normal Curve Equivalent (NCE) index. Because each year's TAKS is a different test, it is necessary to convert scores to the NCE index to make year-to-year comparisons.

** The RISD-TI Model District intervention research results were developed and reported by two third-party research organizations.

  • “Year 1 Assessment of the RISD-TI Intervention Model” published August 2006 by Winick & Lewis Research, LLC. 
  • “Texas Instruments Project: Regular Mathematics Class Student’s Mathematics TAKS Results” published August 2006 by Celeste Alexander and Walter Stroup, University of Texas at Austin.

About RISD
RISD is located in northern Dallas County and has an enrollment of approximately 34,000 students. This area encompasses most of the city of Richardson, as well as portions of the cities of Dallas and Garland. The district is composed of four high schools, nine junior high schools, one freshman center, 41 elementary schools and one alternative-learning center. For more information about RISD, please visit www.risd.org.

About Texas Instruments
Educational & Productivity Solutions, a business of Texas Instruments, provides a wide range of advanced tools connecting the classroom experience with real-world applications and enabling students and teachers to explore mathematics and science interactively. Designed with leading educators, Texas Instruments' educational technology and services are tested against recognized third-party research on effective instruction and improved student learning. Such research shows that use of graphing calculators and wireless collaborative technology in the classroom helps teachers implement instructional strategies that lead to higher student interest, engagement and achievement in mathematics.* For more than 15 years, TI has worked closely with educators and administrators to develop student-focused curricular and supplemental classroom materials, and it supports the world's largest professional development organization for the appropriate use of educational technology. More information is available at www.education.ti.com.

Texas Instruments Incorporated provides innovative DSP and analog technologies to meet our customers' real world signal processing requirements. In addition to Semiconductor, the company includes the Educational & Productivity Solutions business. TI is headquartered in Dallas, Texas, and has manufacturing, design or sales operations in more than 25 countries.

Texas Instruments is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol TXN. More information is located on the World Wide Web at www.ti.com.

* See education.ti.com/research for more information.

Media Contacts:
Laura Slagle
GolinHarris for Texas Instruments

Tim Clark