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Motivation is what matters in children’s math learning

IQ helps, but once a child has been in school for a few years, math motivation and study habits are what count, according to a recent study in the journal Child Development.

Five-year study. Published in December 2012, Predicting Long-Term Growth in Students’ Mathematics Achievement: The Unique Contributions of Motivation and Cognitive Strategies by Kou Murayama, and Reinhard Pekrun, the study was conducted by researchers at the University of Munich and the University of Bielefeld. They looked at data of 3,520 students and studied their math achievement over a period of five years.

IQ superceded by motivation. Initial competence relied on IQ, but the ability to learn over the longer term was far more dependent on motivation and study skills. Students who felt competent and avoided rote learning showed much greater growth in math achievement. The study strongly suggests that educational programs focusing on students’ motivation and study skills could be an important way to advance their competency in math as well as in other subjects.

Math learning tools that inspire. The results of the study are in alignment with the way DreamBox was developed: our team of math educators and child development experts knew that creating an experience that captured a student’s imagination and attention was just as important as an intelligent adaptive engine or an alignment to the Common Core. We built two immersive environments (primary and intermediate) that personalize learning with games and themes that turn lessons into motivating adventures. In addition, students show their work with unique virtual manipulatives, encouraging them to explain, discuss, and defend their mathematical thinking.

Find out more about how DreamBox teaches math the way kids learn.

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