2022 Grants Challenge

Math EdTech accessible in 98 languages

We believe that all English learners should have equal access to educational content while they’re learning English. Our product, Math4ALL, can help learners stay on pace with their English-speaking peers from their first day of school. With this grant, we can make it accessible in all 98 languages spoken by LAUSD students (Math4ALL is currently accessible in 24 languages), increase the range of content to cover K to pre-algebra, and add student progress tracking features that will benefit both students and educators.


What is the primary issue area that your application will impact?

K-12 STEAM Education

In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

LAUSD (select only if you have a district-wide partnership or project)

In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?

Expand existing project, program, or initiative

What is your understanding of the issue that you are seeking to address?

In the absence of educational content in English learners’ (ELs) native languages, research informs us that a very large percentage of them fall behind and stay behind their English-speaking peers during key learning years. Research tells us that the level of proficiency attained by the 4th grade is a significant predictor of academic achievement and outcomes in life. Given the U.S. Department of Education’s three main levels of proficiency in math — Advanced, Proficient, and Basic — 44% of 4th grade ELs are below the Basic level. Tragically, four years later they have fallen further behind. 69% of 8th grade ELs are below the Basic level. Research also informs us that English learners would benefit from having access to educational content in their native language while they’re learning English.

Describe the project, program, or initiative this grant will support to address the issue.

Math4ALL is a massively multilingual, web based, math practice program that enables English learners to work side-by-side with their English-speaking peers thus helping to level the academic playing field. Math4ALL’s unique format can detect levels of improvement in math that aren’t humanly detectable. In fact, it gives students numerical proof of their improvement minute-after-minute. The importance to students of seeing this proof can’t be underestimated, especially for those who’ve spent years falling further and further behind their English-speaking peers. Math4ALL is currently accessible in 24 languages. Funding received will enable us to add 74 languages. Math4ALL currently contains 98 whole numbers topics. (An example of a “topic” is “Addition from 0+0 up to 4+4.”) We’ll add over 200 topics in number theory, whole numbers, fraction intro, fractions, decimals, percentages, integers, equations, and estimation. It should be noted that we already have the content for these topics — over 68,000 math problems. They just need to be incorporated into Math4ALL. We will also add the following key features: 1) Determine when each topic is mastered and automatically progress the student through the content; 2) Add a “heat map” that displays which topics the student has mastered, are currently working in, and have yet to work in; 3) Add additional student progress tracking elements to the teacher admin screens.

Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.

We expect math test scores to rise. Independent research conducted on the format Math4ALL uses showed a 35% improvement in math vs. the control group at just 14% and this across multiple classrooms. Students in the study used the product for an average of just 13 minutes per week for 8 weeks. They reported that the amount of improvement was proportional to the amount of time they used it (35% was the average). Many English learners have no access to educational content in their native language. Having access to even one product like Math4ALL — a product that gives them 1) constant, tangible proof of their improvement and 2) a tool that demonstrates their capacities relative to their English-speaking peers — can elevate how they perceive their education. Instead of experiencing school as including a heavy undercurrent of “falling behind,” we believe Math4ALL can be a very positive anchor point they can use to frame the balance of their educational experience.

What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?

Funding from LA2050 will allow us to greatly expand our capacity to track student progress and report those metrics. Renee Quarles, a LAUSD Special Ed teacher, reported that she detected improvement in students’ work. She also said, “What I liked the most that it really encouraged them to do math!! Unfortunately we didn’t discover it until late in the year otherwise we would have used it immediately!” Math4ALL uses a very high-productivity, self-competition format. It’s based on the math practice software, Quarter Mile Math — used by over 1,000,000 students and adopted for use in all Sylvan Learning centers. Ms. Quarles’ comments are echoed in hundreds of testimonials Quarter Mile Math received. We will track every piece of data relative to each student’s progress, most importantly, each topic they master and their progress through the content. We’ll also track the rate of increase in usage across LAUSD, which languages are being used, and the number of students using each one.

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?

Direct Impact: 86,081

Indirect Impact: NaN