Pencil and paper still has its place in the classroom when it comes to math

AUSTIN, TX, July 28, 2017 /24-7PressRelease/ — Elementary state assessment scores are coming in from the 2016-17 school year and a new math program is showing remarkable results. Mina Elementary is a large public school serving the Bastrop community in central Texas. It has over 500 students in attendance, spanning grades K-4. They began using a new math program about a year and a half ago. This year, they saw their third-grade students improve 18% on the Texas STARR assessment when compared to those same students the previous year. They also saw the number of students who were highlighted as “Mastered” go up 33%.

Formative Loop is the technology startup behind this new program which helps students with foundational math skills. It has a decidedly “old-school” approach where the students do a daily math practice using simple pencil and paper. The technology makes it possible for the daily practices to be unique for each student depending on their progress in the program. Teachers then use the Formative Loop website to track progress and print the next day’s exercise. The data collected is very valuable to teachers as they know exactly where to spend their time with their students.

“People are always surprised when we say pencil and paper,” says company co-founder Dustin Friesenhahn. “We originally designed the program to be entirely on the computer for both students and teachers. What we learned from watching students was that these early learners really benefit from pencil and paper for math practice and it’s easier to run daily. This is backed up by recent research that handwritten notes help make more permanent connections in the brain while learning.”

Reba King, principal at Mina Elementary says, “Formative Loop is loved by students, parents, and teachers. Students are motivated. Parents can easily assist with the homework and appreciate that we are putting an emphasis on holding students accountable for foundational math skills. Teachers see the impact on student learning, and value the real-time data to drive intervention when a student needs help.”

Principal King has implemented the program campus wide. Each day, all the students in her school start with a math practice at 7:35 am. It’s their way of getting ready to learn for the day. The 3rd graders weren’t the only students who saw a large improvement. The 1st grade population meeting district end of year academic targets for math went up 11% and their 2nd grade population increased a total of 27% from 2015-16 to 2016-17.

It is important to note that student improvement doesn’t come from any one tool or program, but also requires the dedication and skill of great teachers. Congratulations to the students and staff of Mina Elementary on your success!

About Formative Loop, Inc.
Formative Loop, Inc. is an educational software company helping students master foundational math skills. Founded by two technologists married to two teachers, the company has a focus on making products which fit into today’s classrooms. The Formative Loop math program has shown dramatic results in state testing and student confidence in overall mathematical capabilities.

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