Amber is a single mom with three children. Though all of her kids have struggled in math, her middle child, Lilly-anne (Lilly for short) has struggled the most. She’s been in special education classes since she started school, which meant that school didn’t come as naturally for her as her siblings.
On a typical day, Amber, her mom, was working as a nurse. Her days were busy, but her income was just enough to be able to support her family of four. But after suffering from an injury shortly after March of 2020, she had to start living on short-term disability, receiving only 60% of her regular pay grade.
Amber’s income was almost cut in half, and though she was now able to be at home, helping three children with schoolwork at home was exactly what she expected it to be: almost impossible.
With two children in middle school and one child in elementary school, Amber’s mind was flooded with lesson plans, concepts, and formulas. She felt like a full-time tutor, but for three individual families. Though all of her children were struggling with staying engaged during remote schooling, Lilly was struggling the most.
The pandemic’s repercussions caused a big trend in American education. For many districts, children were struggling to learn online, yet teachers were doing everything they could to pass as many students as possible. A large sum of them were failing, and districts were doing everything they could to maintain a high pass and graduation rate. In some districts, high-achievers continued rising to the top as lessons became simpler, while low-achievers continued to fall far behind.
Yet, no matter how students were performing before remote learning, almost every student was losing out on school days. The 74 Million reported data released by the Center for Research on Education Outcomes at Stanford University that across 19 states, students lost an average of from three-fourths of a school year to 232 days in just math alone. With kids in special education classes and households where parents couldn’t help, that number could be way more.
“The rise in failing grades appears to be most pronounced among students from low-income households, multilingual students and students learning virtually,” stated another The 74 Million article. So for a single mom like Amber with three children, she falls under two of those; a low-income earner, and a mother of remote learners.
Amber was always confident in her school district. Up until March of 2020, she was lucky enough to be equipped with all of what she needed from her kid’s teachers to help them succeed after school hours. While she was working as a nurse full-time, she also had the resources to send her kids to after-school programs if they were struggling with a particular topic. But now, she was scrambling all over the web to try to find answers for Lilly. She tried Khan Academy, but found little success. She scoured Youtube video lessons, but found something different.
She didn’t find a channel that taught math, but rather an interview with Dr. Aditya Nagrath, Chancellor at Elephant Learning Math Academy. She’d heard of the math homework app before, but after hearing Dr. Nagrath speak about the science and math behind the tool, she felt compelled to try it for Lilly.
Amber’s biggest hesitation was giving Lilly another online tool. She saw Lilly getting Google Meet burnout after being on the computer all day, just to go back on the computer to complete her homework assignments. Yet, she knew that giving Lilly any physical math workbook would just make it feel more laborious. She knew that a math homework app could work, but only if it was engaging enough for Lilly to want to go back to time and time again.
After signing up for Elephant Learning, Lilly was required to take an initial assessment. Many other math learning platforms charge for their initial assessment, but Elephant Learning’s is part of the program.
For Lilly, it felt just like another fun computer game. She got to pick her own animal avatar, and play lots of fun games just like she would while playing on her mom’s phone after she was done with her chores. As soon as she knew it, the exam was up, receiving an Elephant Age of 5.56.
The Elephant Age is a way to keep track of a student’s growth throughout the Elephant Learning platform. Just like a regular age, a student’s Elephant Age doesn’t go down. Rather, it scoots higher and higher up the more mathematics the student masters.
Amber saw a big difference in Lilly’s Elephant Age compared to her actual age (8), but was hopeful that with regular practice, she would start improving.
And that’s exactly what happened.
Amber committed that Lilly would play at the suggested time frame: 10 minutes a day for 3 days a week. That was a much smaller commitment than she’d thought, and it turned out that Amber oftentimes had to actually pull Lilly off of the game because she wanted to play it so much.
Not only that, but Amber was able to give her child the independence of playing on the platform by herself with Elephant Learning’s reporting tool. The dashboard had all of Lilly’s personalized information including playtime analysis, detailed learning history, and activities and resources for Amber to coach Lilly on as she kept improving her Elephant Learning math score. This way, Amber could constantly stay in the loop while never making her daughter feel like she couldn’t take on those math challenges by herself.
Another big concern that Amber had was how Lilly would perform on the platform being a special needs student. Amber had come across games and programs that were fit for “typical” classrooms but didn’t provide the resources for special needs learners like Lilly. She, like many parents at Elephant Learning, was concerned about whether the program would work long-term for a student who already struggled significantly more than others in school.
One of the unique parts of Elephant Learning’s math homework app is how the platform is focused on mathematics as a language, so it’s meant (and shows huge results) for kids with any learning style. Elephant Learning doesn’t collect information, but has gotten high praise from parents of children who struggle with ADHD, dyslexia, and more.
Elephant Learning’s promise is that every student who uses the system on an average of 30 minutes a week for 90 days is guaranteed to gain 1 year of their Elephant Age. For Lilly, she gained a year’s worth of math in less than a month.
Amber started seeing results in Lilly’s classroom beyond Elephant Learning’s platform. Throughout the technical difficulties and learning struggles that her teachers were enduring, Lilly’s concepts were becoming stronger. Her understanding was starting to show, and her teachers noticed it, too.
All it took was Amber’s resourcefulness and dedication to Lilly’s experience, and now, neither one of them were feeling the same tension they did before when the words “math homework” were mentioned in the house.
As things started getting back to normal, Amber’s kids were getting sent back to school, and Amber was preparing to go back to work, Elephant Learning remained a regular toolbox in Amber’s math learning tools for her daughter.
But Lilly had no interest in stopping just because she was back in school. In fact, Elephant Learning became part of her evening routine after dinner, as her confidence in her improvement constantly beamed through, making Amber even prouder that her daughter was able to thrive all on her own.