Students Who Use Math Tool for 30 Minutes per Week Achieve Better-than-Projected Math Gains

Findings from 2020-2021 school year buck national trend of  sluggish math gains caused by pandemic-related disruptions to learning.

Mountain View, Calif., and Portland, Ore., August 16, 2022— A new study released today shows students who use MAP Accelerator, a personalized math tool jointly developed by Khan Academy and NWEA, achieve greater-than-projected gains in math. The initial findings suggest that the supplemental classroom tool may be an effective way to address unfinished learning from the pandemic, according to researchers.

The study was conducted in the height of the pandemic during the 2020-21 school year. The sample includes more than 180,000 students in third through eighth grades from 649 schools. Study results showed a number of benefits with 30 minutes of use:

  • On average, test-score gains were 19% larger than projected.
  • Scores increased across all grade levels.
  • Scores increased across gender, race/ethnicity and poverty level.

“I think it’s important to remember the enormous challenges students faced in the 2020-2021 school year,” said Khan Academy founder Sal Khan. “Despite the circumstances, the students in this study who used MAP Accelerator as recommended made gains in math that are larger than projected, even for a pre-pandemic school year.”

The study analyzed data from MAP Growth, a computer-adaptive assessment developed by NWEA, the not-for-profit research and educational services provider. MAP Growth is administered several times per year and taken by more than a quarter of U.S. students. MAP Growth scores are automatically imported into MAP Accelerator to generate a personalized, mastery-based learning plan for every student.

“Waverly Middle School adopted MAP Accelerator to respond to unfinished learning that had occurred due to the COVID-19-related school disruptions,” said Elizabeth McIntosh, director of curriculum and instruction at Waverly Central School District in Waverly, New York. “The tool is a great way to support our kids in meeting them where they are instructionally. Our students find it highly engaging while helping them with core instruction, filling gaps, and putting them on a ramp to success.”

The results of the study suggest a positive and significant relationship between using MAP Accelerator and score gains on the MAP Growth assessment.

A grade-level view shows student gains. The purple, horizontal lines below represent projected gains based on NWEA norms. The green bars depict gains for students who used MAP Accelerator for at least 30 minutes per week.

For example, fifth-grade students who used MAP Accelerator for 30 minutes per week grew an average 18% more than projected, gaining 1.7 points above pre-pandemic norms.

“The results of this study offer a lot of hope for addressing the impacts of this pandemic, which has disproportionately hit some of our most underserved populations,” said NWEA CEO Chris Minnich. “It underscores the importance of increased opportunities for students to engage with targeted math content, and a tool like MAP Accelerator makes it possible for teachers to do that efficiently.”

For an explanation of math RIT scores, please see Normative Data & RIT Scores.

For more detailed information on the research findings, please see the technical report.


About MAP Accelerator

A personalized learning tool for grades three through eight, MAP Accelerator reduces the manual work of differentiating math instruction by automatically integrating Clever class rosters, MAP Growth scores and Khan Academy content to generate learning pathways — complete with lessons, instructional videos and practice problems. Teachers can adjust individual student goals and learning pathways as students master new skills and concepts. District and school administrators can track usage and monitor the effectiveness of MAP Accelerator with easy-to-use reporting dashboards. MAP Accelerator is available in English and Spanish.


About NWEA

NWEA® (formerly known as Northwest Evaluation Association) is a mission-driven, not-for-profit organization that supports students and educators in more than 146 countries through research, assessment solutions, policy and advocacy services, professional learning and school improvement services that fight for equity, drive classroom impact and push for systemic change in our educational communities. Visit to learn more about how we’re partnering with educators to help all kids learn. For media inquiries, please contact Simona Beattie, Sr. Manager, Public Relations, at or (971) 361-9526.


About Khan Academy

Khan Academy is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with the mission of providing a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere. Our platforms include more than 70,000 practice problems, videos, quizzes and articles that cover a range of preK-12 subjects, including math, science, humanities and Official SAT Practice. Khan Academy’s mastery-based learning system allows students to learn key concepts at a pace that’s right for them before moving on to more challenging content. Worldwide, more than 135 million registered learners have used Khan Academy in 190 countries and 51 languages. For more information, please submit a media inquiry at our press center or call (650) 429-8154.