Results

Development began on Learning Adventure (then called History Adventure) in 1997. We ran a pilot program at a pair of charter schools in San Diego County from 1999-2002: Nubia Leadership Academy Charter School (http://nubiacharter.org) and Sojourner Truth Learning Academy Charter School (no web site).

We ran the pilot program in the standard experimental/control model in which groups of eligible students from the same 5th grade classes were selected by lottery to either participate in the Learning Adventure after school program or to participate in a standard after school program. Comprehensive American History pre-tests were administered to both groups. In all pilot programs, students averaged approximately 27% correct on the pre-test. Since the questions were four-choice multiple-choice, the baseline for students was only slightly above random.  After administering the program for a year, students in the experimental group rose to an average of 90% on a comprehensive post-test. By comparison, the control group rose to only 29%, showing almost no change. All four years we ran History Adventure, the program showed nearly identical changes between pre- and post-tests.

Statistically speaking, there was less than a 1% chance (p < 0.01) this improvement occurred by chance, especially since the control group (which was taking the same normal-day classes as the experimental group) showed no improvement.

This program also showed a significant improvement in student attitudes. Although impossible to quantify, the administrators noted significant improvements in student interest and study habits in the students participating in the program.

One quote from one of the conductors of the program: "I noticed that the 'Quiz Show' assessment tool really fired up the students' competitive juices. So much so that the students began to figure out which topics would be covered the next day and began what they considered 'cheating' -- reading ahead in their textbooks at home so they would win the next day. Of course, an educator would normally call this 'studying'..."

The program's results were positive enough that Distance Education Consultants won a second research grant from the federal government to develop it further, and is being implemented at several districts nationwide.

Distance Education Consultants