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Numeracy Tool Getting Results: ST Math partnership helping improve outcomes in Wolf Creek Public Schools

Wolf Creek Public Schools (WCPS) has partnered with a company out of the US to provide a math resource for schools and it’s already having great success in the classroom. 

WCPS numeracy intervention results have shown a 30 per cent growth above standard for English language students and 35 per cent growth above standard for French Immersion students, since ST Math has been implemented in Kindergarten to Grade 6 classrooms throughout Wolf Creek Public Schools this school year. 

“The need really came about in 2021, when Alberta Education told schools that they would be implementing literacy and numeracy assessments along with funding for intervention,” said Sean Lougheed, WCPS director of Education Services. “With that announcement came some resources. The literacy resources were good, but we felt we needed something more robust to address numeracy.”

The search began for a tool, and Lougheed said the Division’s Education Services department began a conversation and negotiation with ST Math. 

“ST Math was by far the strongest tool we had found which could be used for targeted intervention and once funding was in place we worked with ST for interventionist training and a rapid implementation in our schools,” said Lougheed. 

Created over 20 years ago by MIND Research Institute, a nonprofit social impact organization specializing in neuroscience and education research, ST Math presents students with challenging puzzles, non-routine problem solving, and informative feedback. ST Math is a PreK to Grade 6 visual instructional program that intuitively allows students to analyze and reason to solve mathematical problems.

“It works a lot like a kid jumping into a video game for the first time. They don’t use instructions to figure it out, they just know how to play, or figure it out. ST Math is like that in a lot of ways. They don’t have to read a question. Like a video game, they can dive in and start playing and discovering how to solve the problem,” said Lougheed. “It also works well for English as second language students, as the program is open and intuitive. Students just jump in and play and solve the math problems.” 

Part of the dynamics of the program allows it to show when students get stuck and offers micro lessons. It can also allow students to work below grade level if needed and will mix those questions on areas of need into the other grade level questions that the student is doing well at. All this happens exclusively to each student, so each student is only aware of what they are working on. To the class, each student is just working on ST Math, regardless of where they are at in their learning or what area of competency they are working on. 

“It’s a focus on numeracy. Can they evaluate and solve the problem? And, because there are different ways to reach the solution, students can approach it in a way that makes sense to them,” said Lougheed. 

This school year there have been 1,552 students playing ST Math for a total of 159,792 minutes and nearly 170,000 puzzles completed. 

ST Math, is based out of the United States and has experience serving millions of students. Wolf Creek is one of only two school divisions that the company has adapted its program to serve in Canada. Additionally, they are working closely with the WCPS to tailor the programming to the changes in Alberta’s math curriculum.

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