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Arizona schools participating in the Math Achievement Club by Rodel (MAC-Ro) program are experiencing unprecedented gains in math achievement scores, leading the Rodel Charitable Foundation of Arizona  to expand the initiative this year to 13,000 students attending 70 schools in 31 districts across five counties in Arizona.

A recent study by the University of Arizona found schools participating in the program have achieved nearly triple percentile rank gains on the Stanford 9 (SAT-9) mathematics test compared to non-participating schools. On the Arizona Instrument to Measure Standards (AIMS), the study also shows MAC-Ro schools increased the number of students meeting or exceeding standards while averages for the comparison group and schools statewide declined.

“Our success with MAC-Ro over the past three years has been attributed to a sensible and logical strategy,” Rodel President and CEO Dr. Carol G. Peck said. “Teach math systematically, give students lots of practice, keep everyone involved…and have fun.”

Based on the successful Superintendent’s Math Achievement Club started by Peck during her superintendency in the Alhambra Elementary School District, MAC-Ro focuses on improving the math achievement of elementary school students in high-poverty areas by using a combination of increased time on task, parent involvement, strategies for teaching the Arizona Academic Standards, systematic review, and monthly surprises as motivation for students to do well.

The program was initially piloted in January 2003 to third-grade students in 10 schools in Maricopa County. After two years, the pilot program resulted in an average gain in SAT-9 percentile rank scores of 19.5 in MAC-Ro schools, compared to an average statewide gain of 3.

Based on this initial success, the program was expanded during the 2003-2004 school year to include 32 schools in three counties. The University of Arizona conducted a further evaluation of the program, comparing MAC-Ro school results with a control group with similar demographics. Over the course of the year, MAC-Ro schools gained 13.4 percentile points in the SAT-9, nearly triple the control group’s gain of 4.5 percentile points. In AIMS scores, MAC-Ro schools increased the number of students meeting or exceeding math standards by 2.4 percent, while the control group decreased 2.2 percent and the statewide average declined 2 percent.

“The Rodel Foundation has created a great service for Arizona’s children,” said Governor Janet Napolitano. “The MAC-Ro program is a model that demonstrates that it really can be done – that students who are English language learners or who don’t have typical middle-class advantages are fully capable of high achievement in mathematics.”

Fueled by the success of the program and generous contributions by business partners, MAC-Ro was expanded during the 2004-2005 school year to include fourth-grade students from 32 schools and this year is being piloted in second-grade classrooms at 15 schools. Schools currently participate in MAC-Ro in five Arizona counties: Coconino, Maricopa, Pima, Pinal and Yavapai.

“MAC-Ro has proven an effective means to ensure that Arizona’s children – no matter their level of economic advantage – can achieve,” said Arizona State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne. “When teachers, principals, superintendents and, most importantly, parents insist on exposure to the rigorous expectations of the Arizona Academic Standards, students rise to the challenge.”

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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