The HELP Program for Math

The HELP (Help for English Language Proficiency) Program has demonstrated significant efficacy in improving math learning among English Language Learners in particular, and with all students who require extra support.

HELP MATH for ELL is a web-based math intervention designed to address the needs of English Language Learners struggling to reach proficiency. Developed according to the principles of Sheltered Instruction and SIOP (Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol), HELP is effective for students in grades 3-8 who need to develop the academic language and concepts in the math content area. It is the only multimedia, internet delivered math program that embeds research-based principles found to be successful for ELL content area achievement. HELP is also used in high schools as foundations for Algebra and Geometry.

Math is taught using clear explanations broken down into bite size steps. HELP screens are “clean” with few distracters, enabling students to maintain focus as they continually interact with real-world scenarios, games, and interactivities (number lines, base10 blocks). This varied and contextualized hands-on experience helps students learn math facts, skills, and concepts. HELP is comprehensive: 73 two-three hour self-paced lessons, >200 hours of state and national standards-aligned math content, organized as digital learning objects. HELP topics have been chosen to make connections to the Curriculum Focal Points.

Four years of gold standard research demonstrates that HELP improves ELL achievement. Experimental research by the University of Colorado involving over 1,200 students nationally shows: (1) statistical significance in raising student test scores, and (2) an increase in AYP math for ELLs in research schools. Visit www.helpprogram.net to learn more.

Best Practice Whitepaper/Case Study


Arkansas’s Springdale School District has used HELP Math since 2006 to help both ELL’s and other struggling students learn math. HELP Math was initially designed for English language learners (ELL), but has since been demonstrated to effectively reach and engage students with learning disabilities (LD) and other struggling students. Ms. Parks is a 6th grade teacher at Hellstern Middle School in the district. One of her students with LD in her ELL class was failing in math as measured by the state math assessment. The student was difficult to teach and unresponsive in class. At her wits end, Ms. Parks placed the student on HELP Math, knowing that the program was showing success in a number of math and ELL classes throughout the district. The student loved HELP Math so much that Ms. Parks actually dedicated her one in-class computer to the student, who proceeded to work on HELP for hours each day. The student refused to work on anything else. When the designated HELP district champion (Ms. Smith) checked in with Ms. Parks to see if she could talk about HELP, her response was; “Sure, as long as you don’t take it away from me”. The teacher noted that her student was fully engaged during this period of time and at the end of last year, she scored proficient in math on the Arkansas Benchmark Examination. The student is reported to be happy to continue to study math and has gained confidence in her ability to learn.

Ms. Parks’ positive experience is shared across Springdale School District. Ms. Erman, a 7th grade teacher at Helen Tyson Middle School sums it up best, “The HELP program enables my students to work at their own pace on the skill areas they need to master. They enjoy the multi-mode presentations of the concepts: visual, auditory, and repetitive. I have seen the effects of HELP carry over to my students’ regular math classes through increased self-confidence, improved attitude/behavior, and grades. I have seen an improvement in proficiency levels on the state benchmark test. There was a 77% increase of proficient and 5% increase of advanced scores for my students from 2007 to 2008. My ELL students have told me that they prefer to use the English version; because, it's easy for them to understand the lessons through all the visuals so they can also learn the language while listening.

In the words of one 7th grade student, “HELP made me feel I was better in math”. She was one of the students in the school’s cohort who moved from below basic to basic proficiency. Overall the district had a 50% decrease in the number of students who were below basic proficiency.

Awards/honors won:

1) 2008 High Quality product awarded by the U.S. Department of Education Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA). This rating was the highest award of any technology-based programs.
2) 2008 Innovation Incubator Participant from SIIA.
3) 2007 High Quality product awarded by the U.S. Department of Education Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA)

top