Research conducted by ExploreLearning found students using Frax—our adaptive, game-based program that helps students learn fractions—improved their math understanding, engagement, and confidence, with at-risk students showing even more improvement.
ExploreLearning surveyed 1,465 teachers that had been awarded a Frax Educator Grant in the 2021–2022 school year, which gave teachers free access to the program for one school year. The large majority of teachers reported substantial improvements in learning and engagement.
99.7% of teachers said they saw improvement in student learning and engagement because of Frax, with 87% of these teachers saying that Frax was better than any other program or tool they used to teach fractions in the past.
The top three most frequently observed improvements by teachers included increased enjoyment in math learning, increased understanding of fractions concepts, and increased confidence in math abilities.
Even better news for at-risk populations
There were even larger improvements in schools reported as having especially low standardized test scores (n=72, 23%). Teachers reported the same or statistically larger gains with Frax than their peers in higher-scoring schools, and also noticed:
- Increased student participation in class
- Increased self-esteem
- Improved fact learning
These results align with a recent independent ESSA Level III study that found that greater usage of Frax correlated to greater gains on the STAR Math benchmark assessment. Importantly, this relationship held for students with low academic outcomes and those students who qualify for free or reduced lunch.
Why fractions knowledge is important
Fraction knowledge in grade 5 uniquely predicts students’ mathematics achievement in high school. This means that many students who struggle with fractions will go on to struggle in Algebra and in turn become less likely to progress to more advanced coursework. This effectively cuts them off from the many careers in which mathematical skills are important—including in high-demand STEM fields.
How Frax works
Frax delivers the latest research-proven instructional strategies in an adaptive game-based learning format to create a better way to learn fractions.
- In Frax, fractions are numbers first. Each has a specific magnitude (size) and position on the number line alongside whole numbers and other fractions. Students work extensively with length models and number lines to interpret, represent, compare, order, and estimate fractions. In doing so they overcome whole number bias and develop a strong understanding of fraction magnitude.
- Frax demystifies fraction arithmetic. When students understand fractions as numbers they also better understand the arithmetic. They learn how to make sense of fractions operations and can draw connections to their work with whole numbers (e.g. the sum of two fractions must be larger than each individual fraction and therefore the sum of 1/2 + 1/3 can't be 2/5).
- Frax is adaptive and individualized, so that students of all ability levels have early and ongoing success. In addition, the Frax online learning system consistently rewards students for both their effort and progress. Students come to understand that if they are willing to put in the work, they really can succeed in learning fractions.
- Frax is game-based and challenges students to perform a variety of tasks that build their fractions skills in a wide range of engaging scenarios. The math games are supported by brief, just-in-time instruction, allowing students to learn largely by doing rather than by watching and listening.
“With Frax, our aim is to build on insights from the latest academic research to help students learn fractions from the ground up,” said Dr. David Shuster, president and founder of ExploreLearning. “We are absolutely thrilled that our work is helping more children develop the confidence, skills, and sense of enjoyment that will unblock the path to future success and opportunity.”
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