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Ohio Offers Free Online Math Tools to Mitigate Learning Loss

With support from federal funding and a statewide program, Ohio middle school students will have free access to Zearn Math through June 2025 as educators hope to reverse declining math scores since the pandemic.

A row of students sitting in a classroom writing in notebooks.
Eighth-grade students at Wilson Middle School in San Diego sit at a classroom table. National test scores show that eighth graders in nearly every state across the nation, including California, saw drops in average math scores since the pandemic.
(Howard Lipin/San Diego Union-Tribune/TNS)
In an effort to boost math performance in grades 6-8 and help those students catch up on learning lost during the COVID-19 pandemic, Ohio will offer students free access to an online educational platform.

The tool, Zearn, will be available to Ohio middle school students in public districts through June 30, 2025, according to a news release this week from Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s office. All told, the platform consists of more than 1,000 different math lessons for K-12 as well as teaching and educator training materials. It can be used in class and for homework and tutoring purposes.

“Students deserve every opportunity to succeed, and access to this math program will give teachers another tool to help their students thrive,” Gov. DeWine said in a public statement.

According to the Ohio Department of Education, 55.7 percent of students in grades three through eight were proficient in math last year (2022), a decline from 66.1 percent in 2018.

The partnership with Zearn, supported by federal funding through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief program, is part of a larger statewide post-COVID-19 pandemic initiative called Future Forward.

“One priority of Future Forward Ohio is to provide students with tools to accelerate their learning, both for literacy and numeracy,” Chris Woolard, the state’s interim superintendent of public instruction, said in a public statement. “Zearn Math is providing Ohio students increased opportunities to access grade-level math concepts no matter where they are in their math learning journeys.”   

According to the news release, multiple studies have shown that students who use Zearn Math on a weekly basis improved their performance at a faster rate than students who did not use the tool.

Colorado, also in an effort to boost low math scores, announced in April that it would begin offering Zearn Math to students in the upcoming school year. The nonprofit Keystone Policy Center reported in November that less than one third of K-8 Colorado students met or exceeded grade-level standards in math last year, while less than 35 percent of juniors demonstrated college readiness in math.

According to Zearn’s website, its math tool is used by 25 percent of elementary school children nationwide, and by 1 million middle school students.