Math Tutoring Program Slows Pace, Incorporates Repetition for Improved Results

John Mighton, the mastermind behind the JUMP math curriculum, recalls his struggles with mathematics as a student, leading to feelings of panic and inadequacy due to the quick pace of the lessons causing him to fall behind.

“I would always compare myself to the kids who seemed to get things immediately,” Mighton shared. “I gave up all the time. I really thought you have to be born with a gift for math to do well, and I clearly don’t have it.”

Mighton emphasized that when students feel they are not part of the “talented group,” their cognitive abilities tend to shut down, creating a detrimental cycle that hinders their math learning process.

To address this issue, Mighton incorporated ample repetition and review, along with a deliberately slower pace, into the JUMP math curriculum he crafted two decades ago in Canada. The curriculum has since gained popularity, with approximately 10% of Canadian students and over 2 million students worldwide, including those in the United States, Spain, Chile, Bulgaria, and Colombia, benefiting from it.

In the U.S., JUMP math caters to around 20,000 students annually across several states, thanks to grants from Accelerate, a national nonprofit that has allocated approximately $21 million to various organizations to bolster tutoring efforts post-pandemic. A portion of these funds, $400,000 to be exact, is allocated to a study assessing the impact of JUMP’s curriculum as a tutoring resource in Louisiana and Michigan.

At Choudrant Elementary School in Louisiana, Robin Collinsworth, an instructional coach for math and science, highlighted JUMP math’s unique educational approach by placing emphasis on scaffolding during lessons.

Collinsworth explained, “With JUMP lessons, instructors meticulously breakdown the content, step by step, only to piece it back together cohesively by the end of the lesson, making it comprehensible to students.”

Kristanne Grange, a third-grade teacher at R.H. McGregor P.S. in Toronto, where the entire school is piloting JUMP’s math curriculum, contrasted JUMP’s method with other resources focusing on open inquiry. Grange noted a shift towards a more structured and repetitive style in JUMP, akin to the traditional rote learning method that enhances fundamental skills and boosts students’ confidence by gradually building upon their knowledge base.

Brent Davis, a professor of math education at the University of Calgary collaborating with JUMP and Mighton, commended their adeptness at pinpointing essential points crucial for comprehending mathematical concepts. Davis lauded the meticulous construction of the JUMP math curriculum, stating that it excels in incorporating all necessary elements for understanding concepts.

The notable feature of JUMP Math that stands out is its evidence-backed methodology, supported by a two-year random control trial involving over 1,000 elementary school students in Canada. The study revealed substantial progress in math learning during the second year, particularly in problem-solving skills among students taught using JUMP math.

The success story of the Manhattan Charter School in New York City, witnessing remarkable improvement in math scores after embracing JUMP math in 2014, echoes the curriculum’s effectiveness in enhancing students’ math proficiency. Similarly, public schools in Brooklyn that implemented JUMP math saw notable increases in state test scores, demonstrating the positive impact of JUMP’s approach to math education.

JUMP math’s integration of digital interactive lessons through an Accelerate grant paved the way for independent, self-paced learning among students, leading to significant improvements in overall math proficiency within a two-month period. The innovative lessons, crafted by recording master teachers and embedding interactive questions, aim to foster a deeper understanding of mathematical concepts.

Tilman Sheets, a psychology and behavioral sciences professor at Louisiana Tech University, emphasized the potential of dedicated tutoring support, as seen in JUMP math, in diminishing math proficiency gaps among vulnerable students while instilling a stronger interest in the subject.

Collinsworth noted the positive outcomes of Choudrant Elementary School’s participation in the Accelerate study, with students exhibiting growth following digital sessions. The ongoing research on in-person and online live tutoring with JUMP resources further extends the reach of JUMP math’s pedagogical prowess to benefit students in Louisiana and Michigan.

As JUMP math continues to evolve, its foothold in tutoring presents a promising avenue for enhancing students’ math proficiency, fostering personalized learning experiences that resonate with individual growth trajectories.

“The 74.”

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