Independent Study Confirms Middle-Grade Students Surpass Peers When Learning With Pearson Interactive Science

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Inquiry-Based, Hands-on Science Program Builds Scientific Inquiry, Critical-Thinking Skills for All Types of Learners

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According to the U.S. Department of Labor, before today’s middle school students graduate from high school, the number of jobs in science and engineering will more than double. A new independent research report released today by Pearson reveals that the thousands of middle school students learning with the company’s Interactive Science program are building a firm foundation in the skills necessary to one day hold those jobs.

Developed as part of Pearson’s ongoing research and efficacy initiatives, the study conducted by Planning, Research and Evaluation Services (PRES) Associates, Inc., demonstrated that all students in grades 6-8 learning with Interactive Science showed statistically significantly greater growth in ability over the course of a school year than students using other science programs.

Middle-grade students learning with Interactive Science realized greater gains than 68 percent of their peers learning with other inquiry-based and basal programs, according to a developed assessment measuring the science content standards taught using test items from the National Assessment of Educational Progress and the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study. Comparably, when the progress of students learning with Interactive Science was measured by the national, standardized TerraNova science test, they showed greater learning gains than 63 percent of their peers learning with another program. In addition, students learning with Interactive Science achieved significant growth that spanned the demographic, grade level, gender, and ability spectrum of students.

Commenting on the study, Miriam Resendez, senior researcher, PRES Associates, Inc., said, “Our research shows that Pearson Interactive Science students performed better than students learning with other science programs – both basal and inquiry-based – in the areas of scientific inquiry, science and technology, and life science – as well as showed a higher level of performance on the assessments’ multiple-choice items measuring science facts and concepts, and fill-in-the-blank items measuring vocabulary. This finding suggests that the positive effects associated with Pearson Interactive Science may be due to its strength in building scientific inquiry abilities, including critical-thinking skills, as well as general scientific concepts and science vocabulary.”

Nearly 90 percent of teachers reported that they enjoyed teaching with Pearson Interactive Science and rated the program’s various components – overall quality, labs, resources and organization – higher than the program they had been using previously. In particular, the teachers commented that the program was rich in resources and a great tool for learning science vocabulary. Additionally, the vast majority of teachers and students believed that the Pearson program helped students make connections between science, real-world applications, and other subject areas.

Amanda Chamberlain, an eighth-grade teacher at Rice Avenue Middle School in Girard, Pa., who participated in the study, said, “Science really came alive for our students when they were learning with this program. They came to class excited and ready to jump right into the day’s lesson, and the hands-on elements and virtual labs really helped them see how science fits into their daily lives.”

Her colleague, sixth-grade teacher Gracie Kizina agreed. “Best of all, when my students arrived in class ready to learn, Pearson Interactive Science and its great teacher resources helped me take advantage of that enthusiasm to get them immediately engaged in learning science, hands-on.”

Like all of Pearson’s efficacy studies, “A Study on the Effects of Pearson’s Interactive Science 2011 Program,” meets the U.S. Department of Education’s What Works Clearinghouse’s “gold standard” guidelines for academic research. The year-long study evaluated the achievement of 1,362 students in the sixth through eighth grades from nine geographically dispersed schools.

“Pearson’s third-party efficacy studies, such as this one on Interactive Science, provide educators with data that they need to make informed decisions when selecting curricula for their schools and districts,” said the company’s director of academic research, Marcy Baughman. “In addition, we carefully examine the results of each study and leverage what we learn to inform the development of future curriculum offerings.”

Pearson’s senior vice president for science, Lynda Cloud said, “The compelling results of this research demonstrate that Pearson Interactive Science is helping middle school learners of all abilities build the firm foundation in thinking skills and scientific concepts that they will need to further their education and compete in our scientifically driven, global economy.”

About Interactive Science
Featuring best practices in science instruction and aligned to National Science Teachers Association standards, Interactive Science integrates an interactive digital path, visual and differentiated learning strategies to help teachers provide personalized learning for all students all in one place. For more information, visit or watch the program in action at:

About Pearson and Pearson’s Efficacy Research
Pearson has as its mission to work side by side with states, districts, teachers, students and parents to ensure that every child is prepared for college and career (NYSE: PSO).

Pearson is a company with a strong sense of purpose, focusing on three key issues of social and economic importance: literacy, efficacy and competitiveness. By providing substantive, verifiable studies reflecting the effectiveness of our preK-12, higher education and assessment programs, we are able to shine a spotlight on the deep connection between our commitment to excellence and demonstrated student success. Pearson commissions independent third-party research organizations to work with school districts across the United States to conduct randomized control-trial efficacy studies that use the same rigorous scientific model that the Department of Education’s What Works Clearinghouse requires. These studies inform the next generation of our programs, providing continuous data for enhancing teaching and learning. See our video or visit to learn more.

For more information, contact: Kate Miller, 800-745-8489, kate.miller(at)pearson(dot)com


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