It’s a partnership that benefits everyone: psychology students need to use their research skills and Pitsco Education relies on solid research to guide the development and improvement of its STEM learning systems.

Recently, PSU students have been or are involved in multiple research projects for the company, according to Jamie Wood, professor in the Psychology and Counseling Department. One of those looked at the effectiveness of a Pitsco method for teaching algebra.

Senior Devin Schulze examined data gathered from a large school district in the southeastern U.S., that compared classrooms using traditional methods of algebra instruction to classrooms using a Pitsco product that combines computer-assisted instruction involving cooperative learning, individualized lessons and group activities. Schulze said he found that students who used the Pitsco program did better.

“We found that if you include cooperative learning – students who worked in groups or teams – the ability for them to learn algebra increased,” Schulze said. “The test scores increased and that was true across genders and all ethnic groups.”

Matt Frankenbery, vice president for education at Pitsco, said research is vital to the company.

“The research is the name of the game,” Frankenbery said, “because accountability is critical for us. The research has to validate that (the product) is actually effective.”

Wood said the projects that students do with companies like Pitsco are especially meaningful because of their real-world significance.