New York, January 13, 2020 -- Macmillan Learning, a privately-held, family-owned education publishing company, published research today that demonstrated a positive relationship between use of Achieve , the company’s new digital learning platform, and final exam scores. Research from the ACT , College Board and others have found that a student’s performance on college entrance exams and highschool GPA can predict their future success in two- and four-year institutions. Using these predictors of post-secondary success, the findings from this efficacy study suggest that use of Achieve can help bridge the performance gap often seen among students entering college. That is, the more that less academically prepared students use Achieve, the closer they can come to meeting the performance of their more academically prepared peers.
Less academically prepared students (as determined by ACT or SAT scores and high school grade point average) who engaged in at least 80% of assigned activities in Achieve elevated their final exam grade nearly a full letter grade and closed the gap in their average performance and the performance of their more academically prepared peers by about half. The findings build on recently announced data presented at the Academic Evaluation Association (AEA) annual meeting in November demonstrating that students performed better on final exams when they used Achieve’s pre-class activities, regardless of their motivation or academic preparedness levels coming into the class.
“The benefits of a post-secondary certificate or degree are well known, yet we still see students entering college less prepared to succeed. The instructors we partner with are always exploring new ways to fill the skills gaps of less academically prepared students while keeping their more prepared students challenged. While there’s no silver bullet, we believe in providing instructors with insights into the differential efficacy of our solutions, and are pleased that we can offer them evidence that Achieve will support their efforts to help all their students succeed,” said Kara McWilliams PhD., VP of Impact Research, Macmillan Learning, and the study’s Primary Investigator.
The company partnered with instructors at 38 two- and four-year institutions to research the efficacy of Achieve, evaluating 2,251 students during the spring 2019 semester. The results revealed today represent one finding from a multi-year efficacy study, with other results being published following data collection and peer-review. Macmillan Learning’s Achieve platform launches this month and will be widely available in Fall.
Use of Achieve is positively related to student’s final exam scores , regardless of their level of academic preparedness coming into college p<.0001. For every ten percent increase in a student’s engagement in assigned activities, they can expect a 5.7 percentage point increase on their final exam score
The magnitude of Achieve’s influence on final exam scores was greater for students less academically prepared to succeed r(657) = .58, p<.0001 but was significantly positive for their more academically prepared peers also r(961) = .42, p<.0001.
Among students taking STEM courses, the magnitude of the relationship was greatest among less academically prepared females (r(205) = .57, p<.0001, but was also significant among their male counterparts r(237) = .41, p<.0001 and more academically prepared female r(416) = .33, p<.0001 and male r(281) = .39, p<.0001 STEM students.
Students who complete at least 80% of their assigned activities in Achieve, earn nearly a letter grade higher , on average, than students who complete less than 80%.
The gap in performance on final exams closes by about half between less and more academically prepared students, when students less prepared to succeed complete at least 80% of their assigned activities in Achieve.
About The Research
This study investigated the differential efficacy of Achieve among students less and more academically prepared to succeed. Macmillan Learning collected students’ self-reported highschool GPA as well as ACT or SAT scores, if one or both had been taken. Using those scores, students were then categorized as less or more academically prepared, and outcomes were evaluated among each group. Achieve efficacy research began while the tool was in beta testing so that feedback from instructors and students as well as student outcomes could be used to evolve the product, and to provide instructors with a transparent body of timely evidence of effectiveness.
This study complied with the American Psychological Association ethical standards for research. It was approved by a third-party Institutional Review Board (IRB) and then approved at individual institutions where required. IRB approval enabled researchers to compare course results with detailed information about each student, including their academic background. It also enabled the collection of student records including final exam scores and course grades. Forty instructors elected to participate in the study and their students were offered the opportunity to opt-in, and 74% of students chose to participate.
This research has been reviewed by Macmillan Learning’s Impact Research Advisory Council (IRAC), which is comprised of experts in educational technology, methodology, and psychometrics.
The findings released today are part of a larger body of research conducted by Macmillan Learning’s Learning Science team that began in 2017 and helped guide development of the Achieve platform. The team has been studying its efficacy overall, and among subgroups of students to evaluate whether the tool supports all students - like those more and less academically prepared to succeed, more and less motivated to succeed, first generation students, and those with competing demands like jobs and families, among other important cohorts.
Academic preparedness was measured by both college readiness status as determined by performance on the ACT or SAT, and high school grade point average. Find the full “Achieving Student Success” research report here.
Achieve is an evolutionary digital learning platform that includes learning materials with a comprehensive set of interconnected teaching and assessment tools. It offers the best features of each of Macmillan Learning’s digital solutions in one platform that is intuitive to use and is flexible for students and instructors. Achieve was developed using published foundations of learning science and in partnership with students and instructors with the goal of supporting students of all levels motivation and preparedness and helping to engage students in and out of class so that they have better outcomes. To that end, instructors facilitate can learn in the way that best suits their class, whether it’s traditional, online, blended, or fully “flipped” classrooms.
About Macmillan Learning Macmillan Learning is a privately-held, family owned company that improves lives through learning. By linking research to learning practice, we develop pioneering products and learning materials for students that are highly effective and drive improved outcomes. Our engaging content is developed in partnership with the world's best researchers, educators, administrators, and developers. To learn more, please visit macmillanlearning.com or see us on Facebook , Twitter , LinkedIn or join our Macmillan Community .
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New York, May 5, 2020 -- Macmillan Learning announced that digital learning platform Achieve is the first product exclusively designed for higher education to earn the “Research-Based Design” product certification by Digital Promise. Achieve includes learning materials with a comprehensive set of interconnected teaching and assessment tools, and it will be available in the U.S. and Canada in Fall 2020.
In an effort to provide educators with evidence they can use to make informed decisions and support the success of students, Digital Promise established a rigorous program to evaluate edtech tools and determine, based on expert review, whether the tool can be certified as designed and developed based on educational research. The product certifications help ensure instructors and institutions that the products they select were designed using research-based learning science principles and developed using best practices before using them with their students.
“Understanding how people learn most effectively and allowing those principles to form the foundation of edtech development is key to student success. I’m proud that Achieve is the first higher education learning tool to earn this rigorous certification, and that we can provide another strong piece of evidence that educators can use when making decisions about what tools will benefit the students in their class,” said Susan Winslow, General Manager, Macmillan Learning.
“Digital Promise’s product certifications are designed to help schools and families in choosing research-based products, while recognizing product developers who incorporate valid research into their designs,” said Vic Vuchic, Chief Innovation Officer of Digital Promise. “We hope product certifications send a strong signal for both product developers and consumers in the marketplace.”
Achieve was developed using published foundations of learning science and in partnership with students and instructors to support students of all levels of motivation and preparedness. It offers the best features of each of Macmillan Learning’s digital solutions in one platform, and engages students both in and out of class so that they have better outcomes. Achieve enables the facilitation of learning in the way that most enhances an instructor’s class, whether it’s traditional, online, blended, or a fully “flipped” classroom.
About Macmillan Learning
Macmillan Learning is a privately-held, family-owned company that improves lives through learning. By linking research to learning practice, we develop pioneering products and learning materials for students that are highly effective and drive improved outcomes. To learn more, please visit macmillanlearning.com or join our Macmillan Community.
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New York, NY; July 1, 2019 -- Macmillan Learning released under a creative commons license four new research reports that provide guidelines for designing next-generation learning experiences. These “Learning Science Foundations” build on the company’s previously published core principles for learning design and learning models ( active , problem , and project ) and together make up the blueprints of experiences that drive better student outcomes.
While these foundations underpin the design of Macmillan Learning’s next-generation of products, they are shared freely with the education community that’s helped create them and provide educators and instructional designers with guidelines on how to apply the best of learning science to build research-based educational experiences that benefit students anywhere. The four new papers provide a glimpse of the “learning engineering” behind Macmillan Learning’s emerging technologies, and cover Learning Objectives , Assessmen t Strategies, and Analytics for Instructors and Students .
The collection is being released together because of their deeply interrelated nature -- the learning objectives drive assessment, and analytics enable insight into performance on those assessments and against those objectives. Although concise, they are based on a rigorous, expert-reviewed synthesis of “what works” from educational research and cognitive science and provide references to all the supporting primary literature.
“The next generation of learning technology has the ability to provide highly personalized learning experiences and powerful insights, but both are only as good as the underlying content, data, and pedagogical models they support,” said Dr. Adam Black, Chief Strategy & Learning Officer at Macmillan Learning. “We’ve been fortunate to work with a remarkable panel of leading researchers, practitioners, and students to develop these principles.”
By releasing the research to the education community, Macmillan Learning hopes to advance the scholarship on how learning works and open our own research up to constructive critique and ongoing improvement.
The four foundations released today are based on Macmillan Learning’s Six Key Principles for Learning Experience Design , previously released research which shared the company’s approach to learning and the principles that inform how the company’s dig@ital products are designed. Building upon these learning experience design insights, the blueprints released today provide best practices for:
Devising Effective Learning Objectives and the wealth of benefits for instructors and students
Impactful Assessment Practice and how to assess student progress and when to intervene
Empowering Analytics for Instructors and combining behavioral insights with academic performance to give powerful insights for efficient and personalized teaching
Empowering Analytics for Students and how insights can be empathetically shared students to motivate them and indeed help them to become more effective learners
The Learning Science Foundations are developed through a comprehensive and rigorous research and refinement process, including critiques by Macmillan Learning’s Learning Research Advisory Council and our Student Codesign Group .
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