Match Education and Lawrence Public Schools Achieve Unprecedented Math Gains for High School Students

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After years as a struggling school system, Lawrence was placed under state receivership in 2011 and a turnaround plan was developed for the district, which included tapping successful area charter schools like Match to contribute to the effort. State test results for Lawrence Public Schools demonstrate the impact that one year of tutoring by Boston-based Match Education has had on student achievement – producing the largest turnaround in high school math in Mass. history.

Our goal in Lawrence has been to accelerate student achievement and become a model for other struggling school systems, and Match is helping us to accomplish that. - Lawrence Superintendent/Receiver Jeffrey C. Riley

Tenth grade students at a struggling Lawrence high school have shown the largest turnaround in state history in their math achievement, after just one year of tutoring support by Boston-based Match Education, according to Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) test scores released today by the Massachusetts Department of Education.

The Lawrence school district was placed under state receivership in 2011. The state appointed Jeffrey C. Riley as superintendent/receiver, who chose to bring in a number of established partners beginning in the fall of 2012 to assist in his effort to turn around the district. Match Education was selected to provide in-school-day professional tutoring in mathematics to all of the 250 ninth and 10th grade students at Business Management and Finance High School (BMF).

In 2011-12, the school year prior to the intervention, 41 percent of BMF students tested proficient or advanced in math. This year, as the result of Match’s tutoring program, the number of students at proficient or advanced levels in math jumped to 63 percent.

The results at BMF set a historic level in the state’s student growth percentile (SGP) measurement, which compares the median growth of a school’s students to similar students’ scores. In 2011-12, BMF’s growth percentile was 23 -- meaning that more than three-quarters of similar students in Massachusetts performed better in math than BMF 10th graders. This year, after one year of Match tutoring, the SGP number climbed 52 points to 75 -- meaning that BMF students outperformed three-quarters of students like themselves and essentially reversed the negative trend. This 52-point gain from one year to the next is the largest gain ever witnessed in the four years the state has measured student growth. The next highest gain was 36 points.

"The Match tutors’ work with our students has been extraordinary, and the results were even better than I had expected. Our goal in Lawrence has been to accelerate student achievement and become a model for other struggling school systems, and Match is helping us to accomplish that. I am especially pleased with how well the tutors fit into our work, and how closely they aligned with our teachers," said Lawrence Superintendent/Receiver Jeffrey C. Riley.

"Our tutoring program, which originated at Match High School in Boston, continues to prove its effectiveness in improving student achievement, building parent involvement and bringing talent into traditional urban public school districts. In one year, Lawrence students have risen to the challenge and proven that they can achieve at a high level," said President of Match Tutors Alan PG Safran.

Match also provided math tutoring to all 300 ninth and 10th grade students at International High School in Lawrence as part of the turnaround plan. As nearly all of International’s students are recent immigrants who have not previously taken the 10th grade MCAS math test, their first-year test scores do not yet allow student growth percentiles to be measured.

"We created this unique program to support students at chronically failing schools, and also to provide evidence of new ideas and practices that can transform education. Everyone is watching Lawrence to see if a struggling district can really turn itself around, and we’re excited to be part of the solution," said CEO of Match Education Stig Leschly.

The Match tutoring program was developed in 2004 at the Match charter public schools in Boston, where math tutoring is incorporated as a period in the school day and trained professional tutors work with students individually or in small groups. In addition to Lawrence, Match has provided tutoring within the Houston Independent School District and launched a two-year partnership with the University of Chicago to do similar work in 12 Chicago Public High Schools this fall. Evaluated by Harvard economist Roland Fryer, the tutoring in Houston was found to have a significant effect, equating to between two and four years of math growth for the students. The tutoring program currently underway in Chicago will be evaluated by the University of Chicago, which will also measure the impact that increasing student achievement has on reducing the likelihood of being involved in violent crime.

About Match Education

Match Education is an engine of innovation in education. Match operates three high-performing urban public charter schools in Boston and a unique graduate school of education that trains teachers for high-poverty schools. Out of this applied work, Match refines, validates and disseminates new ideas and practices in school design and teacher preparation.

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Ida Linden
Match Education
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