Raising math achievement for English learners

With nearly five million English learners (ELs) in our nation’s schools, Imagine Learning acknowledges the critical need for instructional materials that provide equitable access—for all students—to on-grade level mathematics instruction.

The Council of Great City Schools (CGCS) and the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), the country’s second-largest school system, just announced the establishment of a nationwide “bench of contracts” with Imagine Learning, Inc. and two other publishers who have met the Council’s pre-determined quality criteria for EL math materials. This means that school districts across the nation can now use these contracts to purchase the vetted materials to support teachers of English learners.

English learners face a dual challenge: acquiring English language proficiency while simultaneously mastering new, more rigorous mathematics standards. This challenge—coupled with passing Algebra—is a major milestone on the path to high school graduation. Many ELs require additional support, including strategic language scaffolds and regular opportunities to build the language of mathematics, as they prepare for success on end-of-course exams and college- or career-readiness in mathematics. With EL students being the fastest growing student group in the US, representing nearly 10% of the student population, Imagine Learning is committed to preparing all ELs for graduation and for the future workforce.

As part of this effort, Imagine Learning participated in the purchasing consortiums’ process to “incent the marketplace to improve quality” of Math Instruction (EdWeek, 2017). In the request for proposal (RFP), educational companies were asked to submit mathematics materials that are “consistent with college & career readiness standards while meeting the needs of ELs to ensure they are ready to take Algebra 1 by 9th grade so they can apply their mathematics skills to real-world problem-solving” (EdWeek, 2017). The extensive review process, led by the Council of the Great City Schools (CGCS) to ensure all materials met the CGCS’ Framework for Re-envisioning Mathematics Instruction for English learners and Grade-Level Instructional Materials Evaluation Tool—Quality Review (GIMET-QR) criteria enumerated in the RFP, recommended enhancements and developments and then determined what programs met the requirements to move forward in the process. that allows CGCS members to purchase Imagine Math for use in participating schools and districts.

“Our commitment has been to combine our deep experience in EL literacy with our truly unique math system. This announcement confirms we are on that path,” stated Imagine Learning Co-President Jeremy Cowdrey. “We look forward to partnering with schools and districts to change the lives of students, including English learners, as they become college- and career-ready with Imagine Math.”

To align with the CGCS framework, Imagine Learning incorporated important updates to the Imagine Math program giving English language learner students the language support they need to be successful in learning math. These updates included language-specific professional development for the online, certified, bilingual teachers who are accessible to students within the program. Additionally, six new interactive math tools are now available in the program to help students better explore mathematical concepts. They can also engage with STEM-focused application tasks that connect key math concepts from each grade level to real-world situations. Each task unpacks language demands and provides tools so educators can scaffold instruction to include all learners. Finally, the Imagine Math glossary was expanded to include audio in English, Spanish, Tagalog, Haitian-Creole, Vietnamese, and Arabic.

“Imagine Math gives EL students a unique and powerful experience as our team of certified, bilingual math teachers offer critical instructional support to students in the classroom, home, and community,” shared Louis Piconi, Executive Vice President at Imagine Learning. “Through this process led by the CGCS, we have learned a great deal leading to important enhancements like training our online teachers, significantly enhancing our journaling opportunities to support language development, and redesigning problems and feedback to enhance the acquisition of academic language. The results show students who use Imagine Math are more likely to achieve mathematics proficiency.”

About CGCS:
The Council of the Great City Schools brings together seventy-four of the nation’s largest urban public-school systems serving 7.3 million students in a coalition dedicated to the improvement of education for children in these cities. The Council and its member school districts work to help schoolchildren meet the highest standards and become successful and productive members of society. To learn more about CGCS, visit https://www.cgcs.org/

About Imagine Learning:
Imagine Learning—a leading educational technology company based in Provo, Utah—opened its doors in 2004 with the goal of leveling the playing field for ELs providing literacy and language development instruction. Imagine Learning partners with schools and educators to deliver award-winning language, literacy, and mathematics solutions for Pre-K through 8, revolutionizing the way students learn. Students and teachers love Imagine Learning’s digital education programs because they are research- and evidence-based, data driven, instructionally differentiated, and fun to use. To learn more about Imagine Learning, visit http://www.imaginelearning.com.

Imagine Math is a rigorous, standards-rich supplemental math curriculum for students in grades Pre-K through 8, with instruction through Algebra and Geometry. Currently, over one million students use Imagine Math in over 8,500 schools across the country. Multiple research studies have proven that Imagine Math is an effective math program for developing students’ conceptual understanding, problem-solving skills, and a resilient, positive attitude towards math. To access studies demonstrating the efficacy of Imagine Math, visit http://www.imaginelearning.com/research/imagine-math.


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