Efficacy of ASSISTments Online Homework Support for Middle School Mathematics Learning: A Replication Study

WestEd, with funding from the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences (IES), is leading an efficacy study of the ASSISTments online platform that supports homework practices in middle school math.

ASSISTments is a research-­based, online platform that teachers use to assign and review homework, regardless of textbook. ASSISTments provides:

  • Students with immediate feedback and the ability to try again before class the next day
  • Teachers with daily diagnostic reports that show them which students struggled and which problems had the most wrong answers

A randomized control trial (RCT) investigated ASSISTments in 43 schools in Maine. The study found (1) students using ASSISTments scored significantly higher on an end­-of-­year standardized test; (2) students with low prior math scores benefited the most, contributing to smaller achievement gaps; and (3) teachers targeted their homework reviews to focus on student difficulties and errors.

The results in Maine are sound, yet people wondered if Maine schools might be different from those in other areas of the nation. Consequently, researchers at WestEd, in partnership with North Carolina State University, SRI International, and Worcester Polytechnic Institute, are conducting a replication study in a nationally representative sample of 64 North Carolina schools. The efficacy study is an RCT that will compare classrooms that use ASSISTments  for math homework with classrooms in a “business as usual” condition.

Findings from this independent replication study will provide more generalizable insights about the promise of online support to make middle school math homework more effective and for helping ensure the academic success of middle school students in our nation’s increasingly diverse schools.