Carnegie Learning Announces $7.9 Million Award to Improve Math Education in Rural Schools across North Carolina

Pittsburgh-based Carnegie Learning is at the forefront of ed-tech companies using artificial intelligence to improve learning for students. The company also has deep and enduring ties with the communities they serve.

Carnegie Learning, a global leader in artificial intelligence for K-12 education, announced today that the company, in partnership with the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) and non-profit WestEd, has been awarded approximately $7.9 million from the U.S. Department of Education to improve math education in rural schools as part of the Education Innovation and Research (EIR) grant program.

NCDPI’s initiative – called Patterns™ for Reaching and Impacting Students in Math (PRISM) – will engage 300 upper elementary educators across the state in a unique, ongoing professional learning experience over the next five years.

Patterns™ was created by Carnegie Learning, an innovative education technology and curriculum solutions provider, and is being administered in North Carolina in partnership with NCDPI and WestEd, a nonprofit that is a national leader in research, development and service.

In the last six years, Patterns™ has successfully been used in 19 states.

Teachers will receive individualized instructional support, with a goal of improving math scores among historically marginalized groups in STEM, students in the lowest achievement quartile and those from low-income backgrounds.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Catherine Truitt said teachers in rural areas are especially in need of this type of support, as data shows that rural schools regularly perform below the state average each year at each grade level on math end-of-grade tests.

“North Carolina teachers in rural areas often do not have access to a robust network of peers in their grade level and subject area. Instead of attending one workshop and being left to implement what they learn on their own, educators who participate in PRISM will work with coaches and other teachers, both in person and virtually, over the course of two academic years,” Truitt said.

“This will allow them to implement targeted interventions and instructional strategies in their classrooms, assess their efficacy and revise them to better meet students’ needs – resulting in a demonstrable impact on student learning.”

“We’re excited to be partnering with the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction to introduce Patterns™, our evidence-based professional learning program, to educators in the state,” said Carnegie Learning CEO Barry Malkin. “Patterns™ brings over 25 years of learning science to teaching mathematics, making it easier for teachers to engage students and foster skills like creative problem-solving and critical thinking. We understand the importance of quality professional development, and we’re eager to provide the support teachers need to make a meaningful impact in the classroom. We can’t wait to get started.”

Scott Strother, Senior Research Associate II in Mathematics at WestEd, said studies show that a strong foundation in math in elementary school is related to academic performance throughout the school years.

“We are excited to be partnering with the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction and Carnegie Learning to evaluate the impact that Patterns™ can have on student outcomes,” Strother said. “This project is a building block in ensuring that all students, particularly those in historically underserved populations, have access to the instruction and learning they need to master math and succeed academically and in their careers.”

PRISM is among nearly 50 programs chosen to receive funding as part of the U.S. Department of Education’s $277 million EIR grant program. EIR aims to address the continuing effects of pandemic learning loss.

In 2021-22, North Carolina students scored five points lower on the National Assessment of Educational Progress math assessment than they did pre-COVID. The impact on minority students was particularly pronounced, with only 14% of black students and 19% of Hispanic students scoring proficient on the NAEP math assessment. Similar declines have been observed in state end-of-year test results.

Deputy State Superintendent Dr. Michael Maher, who is responsible for standards, accountability, and research, said it is crucial to get students on track in math during the elementary school years.

“Elementary school education lays the foundation for students’ math proficiency, and effective instruction during these formative years is vital,” he said. “By providing our rural educators with additional knowledge and instructional support, we hope to reduce the disparities among students with the most need and set them up for success in school and in their future careers.”

Learn more about the PRISM initiative

The American Consortium for Equity in Education, publisher of the "Equity & Access" journal, celebrates and connects the educators, associations, community partners and industry leaders who are working to solve problems and create a more equitable environment for historically underserved pre K-12 students throughout the United States.

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Equity & Access - Issue 27

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