Pearson Education Helping Reverse Alarming Drop in Skills, Competitiveness Among U.S. College Students

Publisher Expands Personalized Learning Programs Addressing Poor Student Retention and Graduation Rates Raised Recently in Federal Report

UPPER SADDLE RIVER, N.J. - To meet the growing need for college students to rapidly acquire basic skills to excel in coursework so they can compete in the global economy, Pearson Education today announced plans to expand its offering of highly successful tutorial programs.

The announcement comes on the heels of a landmark federal report - issued last month by the Secretary of Education's Commission on the Future of Higher Education - that identified inadequate academic preparation as a major problem related to poor college retention and graduation rates.

"Pearson has spent several years focusing on this problem and has developed a powerful way to intervene so students can succeed in mastering university subject matter," said Sandi Kirshner, Chief Marketing Officer for Pearson's Higher Education business. Pearson is the world's leading educational publisher.

Personalized "MyLab" homework and diagnostic assessment products have shown remarkable results, especially in boosting math and statistics passing rates through MyMathLab and MyStatLab. A report commissioned by Pearson shows that institutions using the program see an average improvement in pass rates of about 25 percent. At some colleges and universities pass rates of students have even doubled to 80-95 percent. These MyLab products have also improved affordability for students and institutions by significantly reducing the number of students who need to pay to retake a course.

The success of MyMathLab has been widespread with more than 1.3 million students at 1,600 community and four-year colleges nationwide using the program. Virtually all these colleges have seen student success rates improve, in many instances even doubling their scores.

Pearson has expanded the successful MyLab program to other disciplines, including MyWritingLab, MyPsychLab, MyCompLab and other subjects.

"MyLabs are not only proven solutions, but they are highly cost effective and actually can save colleges and universities money - in part through a more efficient use of professors, as well as by ensuring students pass their classes the first time through," said Kirshner. "We fully expect this approach to become as common as college lecture halls within a few years."

How It Works

Customization to the particular curriculum, personalization to the unique challenges of individual students, student privacy, and reliable technology are all key ingredients to the success of the "MyLab" programs.

  • The program incorporates multimedia content, including videos, animations, and online learning to help students master concepts while working at their own pace;
  • Instruction is personalized and adaptive to the competence of the individual student;
  • The MyLab programs possess diagnostics that identify each student's weaknesses and then directs him or her to tutorials on particular topics;
  • Online and one-on-one learning foster an environment in which students can ask questions in privacy and discuss challenging concepts free of embarrassment; and
  • Instructors are able to devote more time to individual students, especially since the program automatically grades homework, quizzes, and exams.

A Proven Solution

Pearson's approach with MyMathLab has yielded impressive, well-documented results nationwide. At the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, for example, this innovative program has dramatically improved students' math scores. In fact, African-American and female students there have moved to the top of their class, outperforming Caucasian males who have historically scored higher in math.

"Any time you can double the success rates you want, that's a win-win for students, deans and budgets," said Dr. Robert F. Olin, Dean, College of Arts and Sciences, University of Alabama.

As documented by the University of Alabama, MyMathLab technology has been directly responsible for:

  • A near doubling of success rates of students in mathematics;
  • A success rate for women of 68.2 percent, compared to a success rate of 57.6 percent among male students; and
  • African-American students have outperformed Caucasians by as much as 12 percent in some semesters

In addition to the recent federal report, the National Center for Academic Transformation has reported that 60 percent of students at public institutions fail to complete degrees within five years, and that 50 percent of those students leave school during the freshman year. And, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, nearly half of first-time students who leave their initial institutions by the end of their first year never return to higher education.

NOTE: Reporters should contact Stevan Allen (916) 448-1336) or Jami Warner at (916) 761-7699 to arrange a visit to a MyLab program at a college in their area.

About Pearson Education

Educating 100 million people worldwide, Pearson Education ( is the global leader in educational publishing, providing scientifically research-based print and digital programs to help students of all ages learn at their own pace, in their own way. The company is home to such renowned publishing brands as Pearson Prentice Hall, Pearson Scott Foresman, Pearson Educational Measurement, Pearson Assessments, Pearson Learning Group, Pearson Digital Learning, and many others. Pearson Education is part of Pearson (NYSE: PSO), the international media company. In addition to Pearson Education, Pearson's primary operations include the Financial Times Group and the Penguin Group.

About MyMathLab

Powered by CourseCompass and MathXL, Pearson Higher Education's MyMathLab is a series of text-specific online courses that accompany over 200 Addison-Wesley and Prentice Hall textbooks in Mathematics and Statistics. Since 2001 more than 1.3 million students have improved their math scores with MyMathLab's easy-to-use online homework, guided solutions, multi-media, tests, and eBooks. Pearson provides training and support to the more than 1,600 two and four-year colleges adopting the MyMathLab platform. For more information, visit

Media Contacts

Stevan Allen (916) 448-1336

Jami Warner (916) 761-7699