Learning Increase with Immediate Feedback on Textbook and Skill Homework

The use of ASSISTments caused 75% more learning than in a typical year

This finding resulted in $7 million in new funding from IES. Go to our recruitment website to find out how teachers in your district can get free training and participate in the followup to this study. 

Read the peer-reviewed Paper

(one of 5 most read articles in the Journal) 


Background and Overview

IES Supported a Rigorous Study in Maine

In 2012, the Institute of Educational Sciences awarded SRI International and its partners, Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) and the University of Maine with a grant to conduct rigorous research on online mathematics homework in middle school.


SRI paired participating schools with similar achievement levels, and then randomly assigned them to either use ASSISTments or continue with their existing homework practices. Teachers in the ASSISTments group were trained to use the tool to adapt instruction to their students’ needs. After a warm-up year, the teachers continued with using ASSISTments with their new students for another full school year. At the end of the full year, students in both groups took the same standardized mathematics test.

Who Participated in the Study?

Over 2800 students from 43 schools in Maine participated in the study. Participants were 7th grade mathematics teachers and their students. Data collection ended in June 2015.



Here is how it worked


Students use their textbook and do their work on paper. After completing each problem...

...they enter their answers into ASSISTments to see if they are correct or incorrect

Teachers use areport to help to drive the instruction and review of the assignment


Textbook Review without ASSISTments

Textbook Review with ASSISTments

Students practice their skills using the Skill Builders available on ASSISTments

They must answer three questions correctly in a row to complete the Skill Builder 

Teachers use the Skill Builder report to identify and intervene with students that are struggling

The Findings

ASSISTments Helps to Close the Achievement Gap

  • Teachers targeted their homework reviews to focus on student difficulties and errors.

  • Students had significantly higher end-of-year mathematics achievement.  The use of ASSISTments caused 75% more learning than in a typical year.

  • Online homework had a greater impact for students with low prior achievement.

Rochelle, J., Feng, M., Murphy, R. & Mason, C. (2016). Online Mathematics Homework Increases Student Achievement.  AERA OPEN. October-December 2016, Vol. 2, No. 4, pp. 1–12.   DOI: 10.1177/2332858416673968

The Herd, WPI's Newspaper posted an article about the study

Page Created by Andrew Burnett 2016