Category Archives: Mathematics


This review examines research on the effectiveness of educational technology applications for enhancing mathematics achievement in K-12 classrooms. It applies rigorous, consistent inclusion standards to focus on studies that meet high methodological standards. Three key research questions are addressed:

  • Do education technology applications improve mathematics achievement in K-12 classrooms as compared to traditional teaching methods without education technology?
  • What study and research features moderate the effects of education technology applications on student mathematics achievement?
  • Large-scale randomized studies by Dynarski and Campuzzano found near-zero effects of modern CAI programs on math achievement. Do other high-quality studies agree or disagree with these findings?

A total of 74 qualifying studies, with a total sample size of 56,886 K-12 students, are included in the final analysis. Three major categories of education technology are reviewed:

  • Computer-managed learning, which included only Accelerated Math. This program uses computers to assess students’ mathematics levels, assign mathematics materials at appropriate levels, score tests on this material, and chart students’ progress.
  • Comprehensive models, such as Cognitive Tutor and I Can Learn, use computer-assisted instruction along with non-computer activities as the students’ core approach to mathematics.
  • Supplemental CAI technology, which consists of individualized computer-assisted instruction (CAI). Supplemental CAI programs, such as Jostens, PLATO, Larson Pre-Algebra, and SRA Drill and Practice, provide additional instruction at students’ assessed levels of need to supplement traditional classroom instruction.

Findings of the review indicate that educational technology applications produce a positive but small effect (ES=+0.16) on mathematics achievement. In particular, supplemental CAI had the largest effect, with an effect size of +0.19. The other two categories, computer-managed learning and comprehensive models, had a much smaller effect size, +0.09 and +0.06, respectively.

Technical Report

Published Report

Cheung, A., & Slavin, R. E. (2013). The effectiveness of educational technology applications for enhancing mathematics achievement in K-12 classrooms: A meta-analysis. Educational Research Review, 9, 88-113.

Mathematics / Middle and High School

What mathematics programs have been proven to help middle and high school students to succeed? To find out, this review summarizes evidence on three types of programs designed to improve the mathematics achievement of students in grades 6-12:

  • Mathematics Curricula (MC), such as The University of Chicago School Mathematics Project, Connected Mathematics, Saxon Math, and other standard and alternative textbooks.
  • Computer-Assisted Instruction (CAI), such as I Can Learn, Jostens/Compass Learning, and Accelerated Math.
  • Instructional Process Programs (IP), such as cooperative learning, mastery learning, and other approaches primarily intended to change teachers’ instructional strategies rather than curriculum or technology.

Technical Report

Published Report

Slavin, R.E., Lake, C., & Groff, C. (2009). Effective programs in middle and high school mathematics: A best-evidence synthesis. Review of Educational Research, 79 (2), 839-911.


This article reviews research on the achievement outcomes of elementary mathematics programs. 87 rigorous experimental studies evaluated 66 programs in grades K-5. Programs were organized in 6 categories. Particularly positive outcomes were found for tutoring programs (ES=+0.20, k=22). Positive outcomes were also seen in studies focused on professional development for classroom organization and management (e.g., cooperative learning) (ES=+0.19, k=7). Professional development approaches focused on helping teachers gain in understanding of mathematics content and pedagogy had little impact on student achievement. Professional development intended to help in the adoption of new curricula had a small but significant impact for traditional (non-digital) curricula (ES=+0.12, k=7), but not for digital curricula. Traditional and digital curricula with limited professional development, as well as benchmark assessment programs, found few positive effects.

Technical Report

Published Report

Pellegrini, M., Neitzel, A., Lake, C., & Slavin, R. (2021). Effective programs in elementary mathematics: A best-evidence synthesis. AERA Open, 7 (1), 1-29.