MiM impact

The National Science Foundation funded two independent evaluation studies of Mixing in Math (MiM). One study (Miller et al, 2008, 2006) involved after-school providers from several national programs, including the YMCA and Girls Inc. The other involved public library professionals and paraprofessionals in varied regions of the US, including Queens, St Louis, San Jose, and rural areas of AZ and CT (Char 2010; Char et al, 2009).

In both studies, participants were introduced to a large bank of MiM activities and given the option of using them in their programs. They were surveyed annually to determine if and how they were using MiM and to assess impacts. Prior to using MiM, most participants expressed little to comfort with math, and most rarely included in their offerings.

Key findings:

MiM gets everyone doing a lot more math

  • Initially, only 10% of after-school providers had included any math apart from homework help or tutoring. Up to 4 years after introduction MiM, 85% of after-school providers were still offering MiM activities at least weekly.
  • Most library staff initially included no math in their offerings for grades K-5. One to two years later, 74% reported that because of MiM, they infused math into regular story-time craft activities; 45% reported going beyond MiM to create their own similar activities.

MiM changes ideas and attitudes about math

  • Before exposure to MiM, 25% of library staff said that math was a priority in their public programs; 1-2 years after exposure to MiM 90% cited math as a strong priority.
  • At least one year exposure to MiM, 75% of after-school providers reported that they had significantly increased ability to engage children in math. The same percent reported that children improved math skills, enjoyment, and comfort.

Top reasons for sustained use of MiM

  • It is readily accessible without training. 80% of after-school directors and staff cited this as a key reason for sustained use over time, especially given high staff turnover.
  • It includes something for everyone. 95% of library staff, indicated that the range of activity formats—group, individual, long, short, quiet, loud, etc.—is the most important factor in their successful long-term use of MiM.
  • Children love it. Library staff, who implement programs to fit public interests, cited children’s enjoyment as the key reason they continued to use MiM activities regularly.

Download the final after-school report.
Download the final library report.

Char, C. and Foote, M. (2009). Evaluation Report for MATH OFF THE SHELF Year 2. Montpelier, VT: Char Associates.
Char, C. (2010). Evaluation Report for MATH OFF THE SHELF Year 3. Montpelier, VT: Char Associates.
Coburn, C. (2003). “Rethinking Scale: Moving Beyond Numbers to Deep and Lasting Change.”
Educational Researcher. 32 (6).
Miller, B. and Lewis-Warner, K. (2008). TERC MIXING IN MATH Initiative Final Report. Brookline, MA:Miller-Midzik Research Associates.
Miller, B. and Lewis-Warner, K. (2006). TERC MIXING IN MATH Initiative Interim Report. Brookline, MA:Miller-Midzik Research Associates.


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