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A Study of the Effectiveness of Motivation Math and Motivation Reading on Student Achievement

Prepared by SEG Measurement for Mentoring Minds

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Background and Purpose

During the 2013 – 2014 school year, SEG Measurement, an independent research firm, conducted a multi-site national study of the effectiveness of Mentoring Minds’ Motivation Math and Motivation Reading instructional materials for elementary school students.  This study investigated the impact of Motivation Math on students’ math skills and the impact of Motivation Reading on students’ reading skills. 

Motivation Math and Motivation Reading are supplemental resources, aligned to the Common Core Standards, which complement and support any mathematics and reading curriculum. They provide focused practice with the depth and complexity needed to prepare students for the rigor of standardized testing.  The Motivation Math and Reading Student Editions contain questions reflective of the Common Core Standards. The Teacher Editions are packed with information and instructional strategies that promote sound mathematics and reading instruction. Each unit focuses on a specific Common Core content standard and helps teachers plan, deliver, and assess effective instruction for the standard while incorporating appropriate standards for practice.

Study Design

The study investigated the following questions: (1) Do students who use Motivation Math achieve greater increases in mathematics skills than a comparable group of students who do not use Motivation Math?, and  (2) Do students who use Motivation Reading achieve greater increases in reading skills than a comparable group of students who do not use Motivation Reading?  Using a quasi-experimental, pre-post design, this study compared growth in mathematics skills and reading skills between students who used the Motivation materials and comparable students who did not use the Motivation materials.  For the reading study, the growth in reading skills of students using Motivation Reading (treatment) was compared to the growth of a comparable group of students who did not use Motivation Reading (control).  For the math study, the growth in math skills of students using Motivation Math (treatment) was compared to the growth of a comparable group of students who did not use Motivation Math (control).  The math and reading skills of the students was assessed at the beginning and the end of the study. 

Student performance was measured using a nationally recognized standardized assessment of reading comprehension and mathematics problem solving.  The growth in the skills of students in the treatment and control groups was compared using Analysis of Covariance (ANCOVA) so that the end-of-year ability levels could be fairly compared while controlling for any group level differences at the beginning of the study.  In addition to the quantitative study, teacher feedback regarding Motivation Math and Motivation Reading was collected.  Throughout the study, the teachers in the treatment group provided information regarding their specific use of the materials so that fidelity of implementation could be confirmed.    

Mathematics

SEG 1Sample

Approximately 740 students in 47 classes in twelve schools (5 treatment, 7 control) participated in the Motivation Math study.  These students completed both the pre and post math assessment.  All of the included treatment classes had confirmed average use of Motivation Math of more than 1 hour each week. 

SEG 2Results

Students in classes that used Motivation Math (Mean=633.5) achieved higher mathematics scores than students in classes that did not use Motivation Math (Mean=624.3), (F=6.6, df= 1/735, p=.01).  When comparing the growth from a common starting point, the students using Motivation Math grew 23 scaled points while the students who did not use Motivation Math grew 14 scaled points.  The effect size of this difference between the groups is .17, which is similar to a student increasing from the 50th to the 57th percentile.  The effect of Motivation Math on students’ mathematics skills was not found to differ by student gender or ethnicity.

 

Reading

SEG 3Sample

Approximately 725 students in 46 classes in twelve schools (5 treatment, 7 control) participated in the Motivation Reading study.  These students completed both the pre and post reading assessment.  All of the included treatment classes had confirmed average use of Motivation Reading of more than 1 hour each week. 

SEG 4Results

Students in classes that used Motivation Reading (Mean=644.9) achieved higher reading scores than students in classes that did not use Motivation Reading (Mean=630.2), (F=7.15, df=1/724, p<.01).  When comparing the growth from a common starting point, the students who used Motivation Reading grew 18 scaled points while the students who did not use Motivation Reading grew 4 scaled points. This difference reflects an effect size of .33, which can also be described as an increase of 13 percentile points.  The effect of Motivation Reading on students’ reading skills was not found to differ by student gender or ethnicity.

In summary, students in classes using Motivation Math and Motivation Reading achieved higher math and reading scores than students who did not use the materials.  In addition to the quantitative data collected, teachers also reported that they felt Motivation Math and Motivation Reading were effective in improving students’ skills.