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Research shows PBS LearningMedia’s impact on student achievement

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  • Colleen Pierce/Eight, Arizona PBS

PBS Learning Media

Eight, Arizona PBS is pleased to share the results of an impact study released during the PBS Annual Meeting in late May in Austin, Texas.

PBS LearningMedia, a free media-on-demand service designed for K-12 classrooms, revealed new study results that demonstrate the potential impact of these PBS educational resources on student achievement.

Research shows PBS LearningMedia's impact on student achievement PBSLearningMediaThe PBS LearningMedia Impact Study, conducted by Education Development Center’s Center for Children and Technology, investigated the potential impact on student performance when the resources available through PBS LearningMedia were integrated into existing curriculum.

An example of these resources is Eight, Arizona PBS’ original video series, “Real-Life Math,” which aims to show middle school students why understanding math is crucial to success in the real world. The project is comprised of a collection of short videos featuring real life professionals from a variety of careers who employ math in the workplace on a daily basis. The goal of the program is to help middle school students understand why math is necessary for life-long success.

“Eight, Arizona PBS has a history of bringing new resources like ‘Real Life Math’ into PBS LearningMedia to help students get excited about their education,” said Mark Becker, Eight’s associate director of educational outreach. “PBS LearningMedia integrates technology, digital media and different learning style theories into what teachers are already doing, because not all students learn the same way. PBS LearningMedia provides teachers with the opportunity to reinforce their lessons by showing videos that explain the content in a couple different ways to help reach students who learn differently.”

The study was conducted during the 2014-2015 school year in middle-school classrooms over a 6-10 week period and included more than 2,200 students in collaboration with three school districts from New Jersey and California.

The study focused on four core subject areas: English language arts, mathematics, science and social studies. Results of the study showed that the digital content from PBS LearningMedia positively impacted student content knowledge and critical thinking practices when integrated into existing curriculum.

Key findings include:

  • Across subject areas, student performance on content assessments showed significant improvement, increasing by eight percentage points;
  • On average, students outperformed national assessment norms by 10 percentage points;
  • Students also outperformed state assessment norms, by an average of 11 percentage points; and
  • More than half (56 percent) of students also showed an increase in the frequency with which they engaged in critical thinking practices.

In addition, teachers who participated in the study overwhelmingly reported that PBS LearningMedia made positive contributions to their classroom practices, with many saying they are more likely to integrate digital media into their lessons.

“Education is at the core of PBS’ mission, and we are committed to providing teachers and students with the tools and content necessary to succeed in today’s digital classroom,” said Alicia Levi, Vice President, PBS Education. “As we invest in and produce educational content that can be accessed anytime, anywhere through PBS LearningMedia, we are gratified to see such clear results that our content can positively affect learning outcomes.”

PBS LearningMedia offers more than 100,000 digital resources aligned to national and Common Core state standards.

About Eight, Arizona PBS

Eight, Arizona PBS is a trusted community resource. For over 52 years, the PBS station has focused on educating children, reporting in-depth on public affairs, fostering lifelong learning and celebrating arts and culture. Eight achieves its mission through the power of non-commercial television, the Internet, educational outreach and community-based initiatives. Its signal reaches 80 percent of the homes in Arizona. With more than 1 million viewers weekly, Eight consistently ranks among the most-viewed public television stations per capita in the country. For more information, visit

Eight is a member-supported community service of Arizona State University and the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

About PBS LearningMedia
As America’s largest classroom, PBS offers digital content and services for teachers of children from pre-K through 12th grade that help bring classroom lessons to life. PBS LearningMedia, a partnership of PBS and WGBH Educational Foundation, is a free and paid media-on-demand service offering educators access to the best of public media and delivers research-based, classroom-ready digital learning experiences to engage students in exploring curriculum concepts that align with National and Common Core State Standards. Nationwide, more than 1.6 million teachers have registered access to more than 100,000 digital resources available through PBS LearningMedia. More information about PBS LearningMedia is available at or by following PBS LearningMedia on Twitter and Facebook.