Hatch iStartSmart Outcomes-Based Study: Overview of Results


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Hatch iStartSmart Outcomes-Based Study: Overview of Results

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Hatch iStartSmart Outcomes-Based Study: Overview of Results

  1. 1. iStartSmart® Learning System | Outcomes-Based Study: Overview of Results HatchEarlyChildhood.com | 800.624.7968Hatch iStartSmart Outcomes-Based Study: Overview of ResultsLilla Dale McManis, PhD & Mark H. McManis, PhDMay 2012Background. There is very strong evidence that young children who participate in high-quality preschool programsenter school more ready to learn than children without this opportunity (e.g., Early Childhood Longitudinal Study,NIEER). As children who attend low-quality schools have the highest level of preschool fadeout, high-quality is theessential qualifier (Bogard & Takanishi, 2005). This is particularly critical for under-resourced children. Children who arepoor before age 6 are at risk for educational deficits; and 25 percent of very young children in America are now living inpoverty (Carsey Institute, 2011). Compared to their middle-income peers, young low-income children display poorerlanguage/literacy and mathematics skills, putting them at high risk for school failure (Lee & Burkam, 2002). TheNational Early Literacy Panel (2008) and the National Research Council Committee on Early Childhood Mathematics(2009) as a result have identified the basic skills in which children must have competency in order to be successful inschool; skills critical for children to then engage successfully in higher-order thinking and applied learning.Rationale. Educational technology is one promising component of a high quality early childhood education classroomto support these core foundational skills for all subsequent school-based learning (McCarrick & Li, 2007). To beeffective in supporting these early learning goals, technology must combine appropriate, interactive, scaffoldedcontent and experiences for children; and accurate, consistent performance data to help teachers provide guidanceand intervention (McManis & Gunnewig, 2012). In this way, technology can become a valuable tool with the power todirectly teach, support and extend what young children learn and know.iStartSmart Educational Technology Solution. iStartSmart (iSS) is an educational technology system that bringslanguage/literacy and math content based on the NELP Report and NRC-Math Report to children in a scaffoldedsystematic manner. Delivered on an interactive touchscreen computer, there are 18 skill areas in 5 skill families thattake children from emerging to completed. Children move through the levels at a rate based on demonstrating learningmastery of the content. The iSS has progress monitoring which allows teachers to see at any time how children areprogressing through the levels.iStartSmart Outcome Study. The purpose of the current study was to investigate language/literacy and math outcomesfor preschool children using the iSS over a school year compared to children in classrooms without the iSS.Sample. The results are based on 9 classrooms with the iSS All-in-One computer and 9 control classrooms without theiSS. The classrooms were in childcare centers serving substantial numbers of children attending on subsidies located ina major metropolitan area. Within each classroom, a subset of children was randomly selected for individual testing byexternally trained assessors using standardized tests: TOPEL-Test of Preschool Early Literacy (measures printknowledge, definitional vocabulary, and phonological awareness) and Bracken School Readiness (measures colors,letter identification, numbers/counting, sizes/comparison, and shapes). Both have a nationally representative normgroup and strong validity and reliability. Complete data (pre- and post-test) were available for 125 children (55 iSS and70 control).Procedures. The study protocol called for children selected for individually administered external assessments to usethe iSS literacy and math games for at least 30 minutes per week. The study ran over approximately 20 instructionalweeks, excluding pre- and post-testing. iSS teachers and directors received a monthly report and on-site check in visitby the Research Director to review children’s time on the system and progress.Key Findings.• Children using the iSS scored statistically significantly higher than control children on standard scores at the end of the study on both of the school readiness language/literacy and math measures.• Children using the iSS scored statistically significantly higher than control children on percentile scores at the end of the study on both of the school readiness language/literacy and math measures.• Improvement on the literacy and math scores was significantly correlated with time spent by the children on these types of activities in the iSS.©2012 Hatch Inc. | All Rights Reserved 1
  2. 2. iStartSmart® Learning System | Outcomes-Based Study: Overview of Results HatchEarlyChildhood.com | 800.624.7968 10 Improvement in Standardized Test Scores 9 8 7 6 Difference score* 5 4 3 Control (n=70) 2 iSS (n=55) 1 0 TOPEL Bracken Standardized Test Figure 1 National Percentile Rank Improvement National Percentile Rank Improvement 15 10 on the TOPEL on the Bracken 8 10 Difference from Normative Standard 6 Difference from Normative Standard 4 5 2 (50th percentile)* (50th percentile)* 0 0 -2 Pretest Pretest -5 -4 Posttest Posttest -6 -10 -8 -15 -10 Control (n=70) iSS (n=55) Control (n=70) iSS (n=55)Figure 2 Figure 3The control group was not significantly different than the national average on percentile rank at post-test; while the iSSgroup was performing statistically significantly above the national average after using the system.Time on Task. There was a significant relationship between the amount of time spent on the iSS and mastery of the iSSskills overall. Improvement scores on the language/literacy measure (TOPEL) were significantly related to time on theiSS language/literacy activities, and improvement scores on the math measure (Bracken) significantly related to time onthe iSS math activities. Over 20 weeks of instruction in the study (Oct. 15-Apr.15), the average amount of time spent bythe children on the iSS was just over 30 minutes per week.Summary. For technology to be meaningful in early education, it must provide opportunities for children to gain theessential skills that prepare them for school. The results of this outcomes-based study strongly demonstrate that theiStartSmart made a unique, statistically significant, and meaningfully significant contribution to this goal. The full studyreport will be available mid-summer 2012. To read more about iStartSmart visit HatchEarlyLearning.com/iStartSmart.©2012 Hatch Inc. | All Rights Reserved 2