Zearn is an education technology nonprofit organization that seeks to create rigorous and motivational dynamic digital content for students, teachers, and parents. The Zearn blended learning Math program combines digital lessons for independent student work with paper material to support small group instruction led by teachers. The digital content, based on Eureka Math and EngageNY (both Common Core-aligned Math curricula), is web-based and free for teachers and students to use.
Zearn has disseminated its second- through fourth-grade curriculum nationally over the past two years and will offer Kindergarten through fifth-grade curricula for the 2016 to 2017 academic year. The program replaces regular classroom instruction with a 30- to 45-minute Math block, divided between independent learning and practice on a digital device and differentiated, teacher-led small group instruction. With over 100 online lessons available per grade level, teachers can curate content to students’ needs.
A third-party evaluation in Zearn’s beta year (2014 to 2015) showed that third- and fourth-grade students who averaged 30-plus minutes per day on Zearn demonstrated significant gains in Math achievement, not only relative to their own baseline but also relative to that of their grade peers nationally (according to performance on the STAR Math Assessment, a national standard). In the 2015 to 2016 pilot sites, Zearn students were on pace to gain 1.2 years of Math growth in one academic year.
Two of Zearn’s pilot sites during the 2015 to 2016 academic year were KIPP elementary schools in Harlem and the South Bronx. Each school tested the model with first- and second-grade students. Both schools reported increased student engagement in the classroom and improved student Math performance.
In 2016, the foundation supported the model at these two KIPP schools and at two additional KIPP elementary schools. Through this initiative, Zearn will work with KIPP to implement the model grade-wide in first through fourth grades, reaching a total of 1,140 students.