In 2009, the U.S. Department of Education reviewed AnimalWatch's positive results, and found them to be strong enough to qualify for an Efficacy Study. Efficacy Studies are large-scale projects, and they usually are only conducted when a program already has enough positive results to warrant a major investment in teacher and student time.
This type of study uses a Randomized Control Trial Design (RCT). Classrooms that are randomly assigned to use AnimalWatch will be compared with classrooms that were not assigned to use the program. The goal is to find out if the positive benefits are due to the program itself, not to other factors. For example, maybe students who use AnimalWatch just pay attention more and do more math problems than they would if they used paper worksheets. Of course, that's still a positive result for students! However, the benefits could then be due to more time on math, not necessarily to AnimalWatch in particular. An Efficacy Study helps pin down exactly why an intervention works to improve student learning.
WestEd, a leading educational research institute, is coordinating the Efficacy Study of AnimalWatch (R305K090197). WestEd has directed several Efficacy Studies for the Dept. of Education. If you are interested in participating in the AnimalWatch Efficacy study, contact Bob Allen at WestEd via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Download the WestEd brochure about the Efficacy Study.