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Here’s proof that adaptive learning works

A look at the efficacy of an adaptive learning platform

adaptive-learning-collegeSandra Connelly, an assistant professor at the Rochester Institute of Technology, said when she teaches a general biology course, she’s always struck by how varied her students are.

“This year, I have almost 65 different majors spread across 400 students,” Connelly said. “Teaching them is a matter of trying to keep the attention of business majors, art majors, poetry majors, and then physicians assistance majors who really need this biology background.”

So, in 2009, she started using Pearson’s adaptive learning platform called Mastering in an attempt to create a more personalized experience. It’s really helped, Connelly said, and, of course, Pearson is happy to report the same. But the company no longer expects anecdotes like Connelly’s to be enough evidence that their products are effective.

To highlight the efficacy of the data-rich platform, Pearson is now releasing some data of its own.

Learn more about Mastering:


In a new study, called the 2014 Efficacy Report, Pearson examines five universities that use Mastering products, including Rochester, State University of New York at Buffalo, the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Genesse Community College, and Clinton Community College.

At Rochester, exam grades rose by six to eight percentage points, according to the report.

“Grades are better, conversations are better,” Connelly said. “If they don’t come in prepared, there is a lot of peer pressure form their group members to be prepared.”

(Next page: How much did adaptive learning improve other colleges?)

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