Providing elementary school children with a maths-based app at home can significantly improve their performance within months, a new study finds. Most importantly, the app was particularly helpful for children with maths-anxious parents, a demographic that tends to struggle more with the subject.
To measure the effects of home-based interventions, Talia Berkowitz from the University of Chicago and colleagues used a sample of 587 demographically diverse parents and their first grade children in the Chicago area. The families were randomly assigned to use a maths-based iPad app, while the control group was assigned a reading app.
By the end of the school year, a distinct trend in the maths group was noted, where more frequent use of the app was associated with higher achievements. No similar difference was noted in the reading group.
The most striking difference within the maths group was the difference between children with maths-anxious parents compared to children whose parents are less anxious with handling the subject. For children of high-maths-anxious parents, there was a significant improvement in maths abilities if the app was used on average once a week, compared to those who used it less often.
Surprisingly, more frequent use of the app (more than twice a week) did not result in any significant value added, suggesting that just a little bit of maths interactions at home can go a long way for maths-anxious families.