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Arizona third-graders participating in the Math Achievement Club by Rodel (MAC-Ro) are continuing to see incredible growth in their math achievement.  In honor of the great strides made by MAC-Ro students, Governor Janet Napolitano has proclaimed October Math Achievement Month for the state of Arizona.

A new study by researchers at the University of Arizona showed that schools participating in the Rodel Charitable Foundation of Arizona’s math initiative had more than double the increase in students meeting or exceeding standards on the AIMS test compared to similar schools.  Even greater gains were seen in schools that had been in the program since it began in 2003.

MAC-Ro provides a fun and motivating structure in which students learn math using a combination of increased time on task, parent involvement, staff development on strategies for teaching the Arizona Mathematics Standards, systematic review, and monthly surprises as motivation for students to do well.

The program targets students in high-poverty schools, those where 70 percent of students are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch.

“Because of high student mobility and many students entering class without prerequisite skills, teachers in high-poverty schools frequently don’t teach all of the grade-level curriculum,” said Rodel President and CEO Dr. Carol Peck. “The MAC-Ro program provides additional support and structure for the teacher to cover the entire curriculum, which is only fair for these students.”

Since MAC-Ro’s 2003 pilot in third-grade classrooms at 10 schools, the program has grown to reach 18,000 second-, third- and fourth-graders at 88 schools in 38 districts in five counties across Arizona. In addition to serving nearly 40 percent more students than last year, eight schools will be piloting the Language Arts Bonus Pack during the 2006-07 school year.  This addition to the third-grade MAC-Ro workbook seeks to extend the success of MAC-Ro’s structure to improve students’ reading and writing skills.

The UofA study compared the AIMS math achievement scores of MAC-Ro schools to statewide schools for each year that schools joined the program.  All groups of MAC-Ro schools showed significant growth compared to statewide schools.

  • During their first three years in the program, MAC-Ro’s original pilot schools gained an average of 35.5 percentage points of students meeting or exceeding state standards on the AIMS test.  This was more than double the state average gain of 14 points.
  • The first expansion group, which began the program in 2003-04 school year, achieved a gain of 18.9 points during their two years in the program compared to a statewide gain of 10 points.
  • Schools that joined in 2004-05 also saw incredible gains of 22.8 points in just one year compared to a statewide gain of 12 points.
  • Overall, the 69 schools in MAC-Ro during the 2004-05 school year gained an average of 16.8 points over the previous year.  Over the same period, a control group of schools with similar demographics only gained 5.9 points and the statewide average rose 12 points.

Based on these significant gains in student achievement, MAC-Ro business partners have come forward and contributed more than $500,000 to help support the program for the 2006-07 school year.  These donations from APS, Arizona Diamondbacks, BHHS Legacy Foundation, Chase, Diamond Foundation, Intel, Valley of the Sun United Way, Verrado and the Yavapai County Superintendent are used toward the development and production of MAC-Ro workbooks and training materials, student incentives, and program monitors who provide support to schools.  The generosity of the business partners allows schools to participate in MAC-Ro free of charge.

The Rodel Charitable Foundation of Arizona’s vision is for Arizona to have one of the best pre-kindergarten through 12 educational systems in the country by 2020.  For more information on the Foundation’s mission and initiatives, contact Rodel at 480-367-2920

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