Across California, schools saw a 4.5-percent increase in the number of elementary students scoring "proficient" or "advanced" in math. But 64 Orange County elementary schools that used a math software program created by the nonprofit MIND Research Institute saw a nearly 13-percent increase in the number of students scoring in those top levels, reports the Los Angeles Times. Such gains show that "demographics and background have nothing to do with kids’ success," said Santa Ana Unified School District Supt. Jane Russo. "It has to do with the strategies we use, the teachers that are working hard, and this wonderful partnership." The MIND institute used neuroscience research to create a way to teach math based on spatial-temporal reasoning. "It’s thinking in pictures," said Matthew Peterson, co-founder of the Santa Ana-based institute. Using computer games as well as interactive visuals in the classroom, students are taught fractions, equations, comparisons, and other math processes. Later, they learn the vocabulary and symbols that go with the subject matter. In the computer lab, students proceed at their own pace through lessons twice a week. The software records their work, so researchers can improve the computer program or teacher training. Teachers can receive daily feedback on student progress to offer targeted help to anyone who is struggling or to redo a lesson if many pupils are having difficulty with a concept…

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