Montana Digital Academy’s EdReady Montana Wins Award for Improving Math Readiness in Students

October 02, 2018

MISSOULA – EdReady Montana, a student math readiness initiative developed and implemented by Montana Digital Academy, is one of five 2018 recipients of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education Outstanding Work Award. 

Since 2004, WICHE has presented the award to colleges, universities and organizations who implement exceptionally creative, technology based solutions to contemporary challenges in higher education. 

MTDA, located at the University of Montana’s Phyllis J. Washington College of Education and Human Sciences, is Montana’s statewide K-12 online education program. Created by the Legislature in 2010, the academy provides online courses to thousands of students each year through their local public schools. 

In 2013, with assistance from Roberta Evans, then-dean of the College of Education, MTDA received significant financial support from the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation to launch the EdReady Montana project. Beginning in early 2014 any student in the state has had the opportunity to use the math assessment and readiness tool to identify and overcome their mathematics challenges through the program’s uniquely personalized curriculum. 

Since MTDA began offering EdReady Montana, nearly 100,000 students of all ages – from elementary and middle school through college and adults – have been provided an account. During this time, 487 unique organizations (public, private and tribal colleges and universities, elementary, middle and high schools) have used EdReady Montana to help students overcome their mathematics challenges.

MTDA Executive Director Robert Currie noted the impact the program is having on incoming college students by creating a smoother, positive path to their mathematics course placement saving them time, money and frustration.

“Here at UM and on other two and four year campuses across the state, hundreds of students have used EdReady to save time and money,” Currie said. “Using the tool to sharpen and refresh their mathematics skills they are able to enroll directly into college level mathematics courses and avoid being placed in a remedial math class.” 

The pervasive use of the tool across the state bodes well for preparing future Montana college students. according to program manager Ryan Schrenk. 

“While we continue to monitor and research the impact of the significant use of EdReady by elementary, middle and high school students, we feel it undoubtedly will have a positive effect on their math preparation for each new level they encounter,” Schrenk said.  

“EdReady Montana can serve as a national model for how to scale this personalized instruction to a state implementation that encompasses K-12, adult education, and higher education to address a systemic educational issue,” the award announcement from WICHE read.

The EdReady Montana team from UM will be recognized along with the other awardees Colorado State University, Embry Riddle Aeronautical University Worldwide, Colorado Technical University and Open SUNY at the WICHE annual meeting held October 23-25, in Portland Oregon.

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Contact: Adrea Lawrence, interim dean, UM Phyllis J. Washington College of Education and Human Sciences, 406-243-5054, adrea.lawrence@mso.umt.edu; Robert Currie, executive director, Montana Digital Academy, 406-541-4944, robert.currie@mso.umt.edu.