Jump Math


The Problem

When it comes to learning, there is an assumption that some children are naturally gifted while others are not. This assumption creates a self-fulfilling prophecy of failure for many students. Left unchallenged, this myth results in huge economic and personal losses across a lifetime.

The Innovation

JUMP Math – Junior Undiscovered Math Prodigies – challenges teaching and societal norms, creating a new educational infrastructure that eliminates the assumption that there are natural hierarchies of ability.

The JUMP Math method of instruction called “guided discovery,” takes account of various strengths and weaknesses of the brain that cognitive scientists have found play a key role in learning. Lessons are based on a series of Socratic questions, challenges and activities in which new information is introduced in manageable steps, with enough practice and review for students to consolidate what they have learned.

JUMP Math is a set of teaching tools: student assessment and practice books, guides for teachers with full lesson plans, and professional development.

Research has shown children as early as pre-school start comparing each other. Once they have decided that they’re not smart in a particular area, their minds stop working efficiently. By grades 1 and 2, a significant proportion of the class has effectively switched off. It gets worse every year in math, because math is like a ladder; once you miss a step, you have trouble going on.

When students experience success with the program, research has shown the class capabilities improve as a whole. As a result, the achievement gap closes dramatically.

It’s a birthright for children to exercise a sense of wonder and imagination about their connection to the world.

That’s what they’ll get from being educated according to their true potential. – John Mighton

Teachers who have used JUMP Math feel that its incremental approach leads to mastery; success leads to more success, the use of praise at each step and the pattern approach help students develop a feeling of self-confidence. To date, the JUMP Math program has been adopted by hundreds of schools, often instigated by individual teachers. JUMP engages and trains interested teachers to ensure that the lesson plans are used with fidelity.

JUMP Math has seen exponential growth with this model, but they are now looking at scaling through school boards, superintendents, teachers unions and parent groups.

Teachers attend a 1-day professional development session. With only 2 full-time trainers until late 2011, JUMP Math reached approximately 3,000 teachers in one year. Multiplying the impact by an average of 25 children per teacher, the program reached 75,000 students in 12 months.

JUMP is producing units on math and the environment; math and sports; math and art, in an effort to show how the exploration of patterns and connections is not related to any subject. It’s universal.

Some quick facts

Dr. John Mighton started a tutoring club at his house in 1998 and developed materials to aid in the tutoring process.

In 2002 JUMP Math was incorporated as a charity in Canada. JUMP is currently seeking charitable status in the UK and US.

JUMP is funded through a blend of corporate sponsorship, foundation funding, sales of learning materials and a small amount of provincial government support through grants.

Over the last 10 years, JUMP has seen an average growth rate of 40-50% in sales of the their teaching tools.

JUMP is positioned to reach 10% of all Canadian students between Grades 1-8 in the next 5 years.

JUMP has grown rapidly since 2002 and as of 2011 is being used by over 85,000 children in over 700 schools, tutoring programs and at home.


Mary Jane Case Study:


A Toronto-based teacher has documented her experience with JUMP Math above. On a standardized test called a TOMA, an idealized bell curve shows the distribution of marks across a particular education system or region. Typically in any classroom there are children ranked as low as the 9th percentile and as high as the 75th. This can represent as much as a 3 grade level difference in comprehension. The blue curve represents results recorded with JUMP. During her first year using JUMP, a Toronto teacher lifted her class average ranking from the 66th percentile on the grade 5 TOMA test to 92nd percentile on the grade 6 test, in September of the following year. Her next class improved its average ranking from the 54th to the 98th percentile.

Sick Kids Case Study:


The randomized-controlled study was conducted by a team from Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children, The Ontario Institute for Studies in Education and the University of Toronto which followed 272 students randomly selected from 29 classrooms in Ontario. Teachers (classes) were randomly selected to use either JUMP Math or the board’s incumbent math program as their sole instructional resource, and the teachers in each group received equivalent training in the respective programs. Researchers found that the math knowledge of children using JUMP Math grew twice as much as that of children using the incumbent program.

Lambeth, UK case study:


JUMP has run the program in the UK for 5 years with approximately 5,000 at-risk youth, tracking results for 4 years. Upon entering the program, 12% of the Grade 5 students were at grade level. The rest were 1-2 years behind. Within 2 years, 60% had caught up and passed the rigorous national exams. Nikki Aduba (Mathematics Consultant) November 2009

Challenges Met

Scale: JUMP’s driver of social change is the teacher. John realized he could reach many more children with teachers working with 25 students, 5 days a week.

Time: Teachers have many demands on their time. JUMP’s extensive teacher resources enable teachers to focus more time on their students.

Fear: Most elementary teachers don’t have math backgrounds. They are teaching several subjects, and math is almost never their specialty.

Recognizing limitations: Teachers need a lot more support to incorporate JUMP than was anticipated. Student assessment and practice wasn’t enough; teachers needed guides.

Looking Ahead

Greater Access to Training: JUMP is in the process of developing a suite of training options via webinar, online and distance learning. They also want to formalize the volunteer networks that have been created by teachers.

Fundraising: With strong research to back up their products, JUMP believes they are in a strong position to appeal to philanthropists and organizations particularly interested in education innovation.

Growing pains: With scaling up, JUMP is finding they must increase their output significantly. Everything for the US must be adapted and this comes with a hefty price tag.

Download the JUMP Math Profile

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