"FETCH!" Season 5 Summative Evaluation: Teaching Math through Television
In the spring of 2010, WGBH Boston (wgbh.org) delivered twenty new episodes for the television series FETCH! with Ruff Ruffman (pbskids.org/FETCH!/). These episodes, developed for FETCH!'s fifth season, reflected a broadening of FETCH!'s stem content to include more mathematics. Rather than focusing exclusively on science and engineering, as FETCH! had done in the first four seasons, Season 5 episodes also highlighted age-appropriate math skills and concepts. WGBH was interested in assessing the extent to which kids learned math concepts and skills from these episodes. WGBH hired Concord Evaluation Group (CEG) to evaluate the effectiveness of a selection of four episodes from the FETCH! Season 5 lineup. CEG's main study objective was to test the hypothesis that kids who watched the episodes would demonstrate significantly greater learning about math concepts and skills than kids who did not watch the episodes. We found: (1) Watching the FETCH! episodes enhanced kids' attitudes toward math. (2) Watching the FETCH! episodes enhanced kids' knowledge of math and science (content and procedural knowledge). (3) The FETCH! episodes had universal appeal across all ethnic, age, and gender groups. (4) Kids told us that the FETCH! episodes helped them learn that math is fun and useful and that they learned new measurement skills and science concepts from watching the episodes. (5) The majority of after-school and camp educators were enthusiastic about the FETCH! episodes and the episodes' ability to teach kids about math and science. The survey of this report includes pretest and postest questions (surveys) for kids and educators.