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There's an almost unlimited supply of public service sites to help parents to talk to their kids about the tough subjects, like drugs or sex. But where's the support for the really tough stuff to talk about—like algebra?
In the latest in a series of studies on how adult anxieties and stereotypes affect students' math performance, University of Chicago researchers found that students whose families used a free tablet app to work through math-related puzzles and stories each week had significantly more growth in math learning by the end of the year, particularly if their families were uncomfortable with the subject.
In the randomized controlled trial, University of Chicago psychologists Talia Berkowitz, Sian Beilock, Susan Levine and others followed 587 1st graders and their families at 22 Chicago-area schools. The families were randomly assigned to use an iPad with either a reading-related app or a version of Bedtime Math, a free app which provides story-like math word problems for parents to read with their children. The children were tested in math at the beginning and end of the school year.
Notably, the students of parents who admitted dreading math at the beginning of the year showed the strongest growth from using the app at least once a week. That's important, since this study and prior research has shown parents who are highly anxious about math have children who show less growth in the subject and who are more likely to become fearful of the subject themselves.
Students who used the math app showed higher growth over the school year, as the chart shows. (One is equal to nine months, or one school-year's worth of growth.)
Source: Education Week Blogs