← Blog

Why EdTech Is Closing the Attainment Gap

Posted on 18th February 2020 by Billie Owens

Reading time: 4 minutes

Education systems across the world have struggled for years to close the gap between children from opposite ends of the social spectrum. Children from poorer socio-economic backgrounds are still falling behind their peers.

Sumdog’s mission is to close the achievement gap. Join us as we explore the findings of our recent study into how Sumdog Math can help to build an equal education system for all.

What Is the Achievement Gap?

While the UK and the US may be leading economic powers, they also have some of the most socially segregated education systems in the developed world.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) explains how unequal schooling and learning opportunities can make the social division worse. When children don’t get the support they need, they struggle to keep pace with the standards before even entering high school.

If children’s math skills are significantly lower during the very early stages of education and they don’t get the chance to catch up, they will be in a disadvantaged position leaving school. A situation that simply perpetuates the problem (Joseph Rowntree Foundation, 2014).

Bridging the achievement gap is vital for creating a more equal society and making sure children from poorer backgrounds have the opportunities to change their future.

Our study’s standardised test scores suggest the average ‘math age’ of participating students was around six months behind the national average. This study showed that Sumdog gave these students the opportunity to consolidate their basic numeracy, giving them a chance to ‘catch-up.’

Case Study: Glasgow

The Scottish government provides schools in the most deprived areas of the country with Pupil Equity Funding (PEF).

Similar to Pupil Premium in England and Title I funding in the US, the initiative aims to tackle inequality in the education system by providing resources to students who need it most.

Our study identified Glasgow as one of the most deprived local authorities in Scotland, where headteachers in schools across the city are responsible for spending their allocated Pupil Equity Funding.

The government states that this money must go towards educational programmes that are “grounded in evidence of what is known to be effective at raising attainment for children affected by poverty.”

The question is, which resource or educational tool fits the bill? Although £16 million may sound like a hefty sum, this money must be used as efficiently as possible.

Invest in EdTech For Equal Learning Opportunities

EdTech offers schools a unique opportunity to deliver personalized learning experiences without reducing class sizes, employing additional teaching assistants, or investing in expensive classroom equipment.

With a Sumdog subscription, teachers can generate progress reports to track the development of each student and create automated interventions to aid their learning on a one-to-one basis.

How Can EdTech Help?

Although some teachers are sceptical of EdTech, the promising results of our study suggests that Sumdog could be part of the solution.

Closing the achievement gap requires new teaching methods which achieve two things:

  1. Make life easier for teachers. As teachers are under mounting pressure to close the achievement gap, the education system is increasingly losing good educators. Teacher retention rates have plummeted, and student experiences are suffering as a result. Automated marking and sophisticated reporting reduce teacher workload, securing a better work-life balance for teachers and helping them make the most of their time in the classroom.
  2. Improve student engagement. While traditional teaching methods may work for most students, the very existence of the achievement gap is proof that something isn’t working. Schools need new teaching methods to engage underperforming students and bring an element of fun into the classroom.

Sumdog combines gameplay with automatic interventions and student reports to re-create the one-to-one interaction between students and teachers.

While many EdTech solutions are criticised for cutting corners, Sumdog focuses on enhancing the learning experience and allows students to progress at their pace in order to close the achievement gap.

How Many Schools Use Technology in the Classroom?

The recent surge in EdTech investment suggests technology will play an increasingly important role in education.

Schools spend £900 million on education technology every year, and the global EdTech market will climb to a staggering £129 billion by the end of 2020.

How could your school use EdTech to close the achievement gap and improve the student experience?

Choose Sumdog for Your School

Unlock the full potential of Sumdog with a subscription. Discover additional features to boost student confidence and create a solid foundation in mathematical fluency.

Sumdog Premium helps teachers deliver a personalized teaching programme and gives students loads of fun and engaging games to make learning math enjoyable. 

If your school is serious about closing the attainment gap, find out more about premium subscription today.

The results speak for themselves.