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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2023 - 2024 Regular Session


Posted: December 9, 2022 01:46 PM
From: Senator Lisa M. Boscola and Sen. Ryan P. Aument
To: All Senate members
Subject: Pennsylvania First In Math
In the near future, we intend to reintroduce legislation that will create a supplemental mathematics program within the Department of Education. A supplemental program, such as First In Math, could be selected by the Department. First In Math is a widely used online program which features hundreds of engaging math games designed to strengthen fact fluency, automaticity, computational thinking and other critical math skills.

As stated, the program will be administered through the Dept. of Education over a five year period to provide the First In Math services to every K-5 student in the Commonwealth. The program will be optional and flexible. The flexibility can include enrichment/extension, fun summer learning, and/or supplement current work being done in the classroom. Furthermore, this initiative will not be mandated in the school’s curriculum.

Currently, approximately 20% of students in the Commonwealth utilize First In Math and student engagement and results are extremely encouraging. For instance, Marvine Elementary School in the Bethlehem Area School District, saw a 24.8% increase in students scoring proficient and advanced on PSSA mathematics from 2017 to 2019.

Furthermore, the School District of Philadelphia implemented First in Math back in the early 2000s. The 2004 PSSA math scores showed a 7.4% increase in 5th grade students scoring at the proficient and above level. Improvement among their 8th grade students was a dramatic 11.1% increase. These results placed the district ahead of Pennsylvania’s average increase in scores, a 5.2% in 5th grade students and a 6.1% increase in 8th grade students.

There is a great need to implement an opportunity statewide to ensure we are continuing to close the learning gap that currently exists. First In Math is proven to improve the engagement and assist students in meeting grade-level fluency expectations.

Additionally, New York recently appropriated funding over a five year period to launch a similar program titled the Expanded Math Access Program, which utilizes First In Math. Please join us in co-sponsoring this legislation to guarantee every student in Pennsylvania has the opportunity to reinforce proficiency in mathematics.
This legislation was introduced as SB 1095 in the 2021-22 legislative session. Co-sponsors included: COSTA, SCHWANK, FONTANA, GORDNER, BREWSTER, FLYNN, ARGALL, MASTRIANO, STEFANO, SCAVELLO and J. WARD.

Introduced as SB123