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This post is derived from the 2012 MIND Research Institute Annual Report.

When Tylicia transferred to third-grade at Occohannock Elementary in Virginia’s Northampton County, her teachers described her as polite but extremely quiet in class. She was failing math, but wouldn’t ask questions when she needed help.

Two months into the school year, Tylicia had what her teacher describes as a breakthrough moment. She had created her own place value chart on a white board to work through a series of ST Math problems on the computer. “It wasn’t a strategy any one had given to her, and she was able to explain to me how she was using this tool she’d created,” says third-grade math teacher Jenna Bassette. “She was problem solving independently.”

Tylicia is one of 6,000 Virginia students who began piloting MIND Research Institute’s Spatial Temporal (ST) Math program in 2012 with a grant from the Cisco Foundation. ST Math is a web-based, self-paced software program that uses language-free animation to help students grasp key concepts.

Chart courtesy of MIND Research Institute

Chart courtesy of MIND Research Institute

With the 22-school Virginia pilot, Cisco and MIND Research aim to repeat the successful outcome of their partnership in Arizona schools, launched in 2011. The 2600 students at 14 schools who participated in the pilot program in Arizona experienced double growth in math proficiency rates compared to students who didn’t use ST Math (see chart).

One of the Cisco Foundation’s priorities is fostering excellence in science, technology, engineering and math – the so-called STEM fields – particularly for underserved students. To that end, Cisco and the Cisco Foundation have supported schools in California’s Silicon Valley, Arizona and Virginia, as well as provided infrastructure for national and web-based delivery of ST Math and teacher professional development.

And according to Tylicia’s teacher, ST Math is already putting at-risk students on track to successful futures. “Their newfound ability and willingness to problem solve and to try multiple strategies is translating from ST Math to test-taking skills, in-class assignments and language arts,” she says. “It’s been phenomenal for us.”

Read more about Cisco's partnership with MIND Research Institute at csr.cisco.com.

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