Improving Student Achievement Through Education Technology

students and a teacher in a classroom using computers


Thursday, June 20, 2013


12:00 p.m.


G-11 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C.

About the Program

Despite recent upward trends, only 35% of 8th graders were proficient in mathematics for their grade level in 2011, lagging well behind the top-scoring countries. To remedy this and improve students' readiness for higher education, educators have focused much of their efforts on improving algebra education, since it is a gateway to higher-level mathematics and science courses. Meanwhile, there has been much recent focus on investing in education technology. Although evidence is lacking, there is some preliminary data suggesting that combining online and face-to-face instruction, also known as blended learning, may produce larger positive effects than either online or face-to-face instruction alone. Blended learning can provide access to high-quality instruction outside of normal school time, can more efficiently use teaching resources, and enable increased attention paid to some students while others work online. Most significantly, blended learning has the potential to improve student achievement by providing more engaging and personalized instruction and more immediate feedback.

RAND senior scientist John Pane will participate in a panel hosted by Carnegie Learning titled "Policy Implications from a Major Study on Algebra Effectiveness." RAND researchers recently completed a large-scale randomized study of the blended learning algebra curriculum designed by Carnegie Learning, tracking the progress of more than 19,000 students in 147 schools in seven states. The research shows significant gains for high school students who enrolled in the new algebra curriculum the second year it was in place. The panel will discuss these findings and what policymakers should keep in mind as they work to improve student access to innovations in education.

Featured Speaker

John F. Pane is a senior scientist at the RAND Corporation and co-director of the Carnegie Mellon and RAND Traineeships in Methodology and Interdisciplinary Research (CMART), an IES postdoctoral training program. He researches the implementation and effectiveness of educational innovations, with a focus on math, science, and education technology initiatives. His expertise includes the application of experimental and rigorous quasi-experimental methods in education settings and assessing the impact of new technologies. He is principal investigator of random-assignment experiments testing technology-based mathematics curricula in schools, including an effectiveness trial in nearly 150 schools in 52 school districts in seven states. He also leads an evaluation of innovative new schools adopting blended-learning models, and an evaluation of a technology-based initiative to improve college and career readiness in rural Kentucky; and he co-leads an experiment examining the effects of summer learning programs. Pane has also led evaluations of a NSF math and science partnership and a school district's one-to-one laptop initiative, and investigated data-driven decisionmaking practices in education and the effects of the 2005 hurricanes on public school students in Louisiana. Sponsors of Pane's research have included the U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. National Science Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Wallace Foundation, the U.S. Army, the Heinz Endowments, and the Grable, Pittsburgh, and Benedum Foundations. He received his Ph.D. in computer science from Carnegie Mellon University.

How to Attend

Please RSVP to to reserve your place at the briefing.

About RAND

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND focuses on the issues that matter most, such as health, education, national security, international affairs, law and business, the environment, and more. As a nonpartisan organization, RAND operates independent of political and commercial pressures. We serve the public interest by helping lawmakers reach informed decisions on the nation's pressing challenges. Visit us online at

Further Inquiries

For further information about this event, contact Matthew Dicker at or call (703) 413-1100, ext. 5320.