Media: Backgrounder & Press Releases

Background Information about JUMP Math

Poor Math Skills Create Huge Economic and Social Costs

Poor math skills contribute huge economic costs, high drop out rates, limited life success, and increased risk of anti-social outcomes.  

  • 55% of Canadians lack the basic numeracy skills they need to navigate their lives. 
  • McKinsey calls the impact of persistent gaps in educational achievement (in numeracy and literacy) in the United States the economic equivalent of a permanent national recession.
  • According to the World Bank, only 32% of OECD students are proficient enough in math to succeed in further education and work.
  • The myth that mathematical talent is a rare genetic gift creates a self-fulfilling prophecy of failure for many students. This is amplified by high math anxiety among many teachers.

With the great disparity in math accomplishment at school, it may seem that some children are born genetically pre-wired for math, while most are not.  However, advances in cognitive science are revealing that the brain is far more plastic than was previously suspected.  In practical terms, this means that we can safely start with the assumption that with careful instruction, every student can develop a deep understanding of, and proficiency at, math.  Ensuring attentive engagement in learning and practice is the key. 

JUMP Math’s History

The JUMP Math numeracy program was started in 1998 by mathematician and playwright, Dr. John Mighton and became a registered charity in 2002.  This year JUMP Math will reach about 65,000 children in schools, over 20,000 at home and over 1,000 through tutoring programs, while training over 2,000 teachers and parents in the use of JUMP.

Studies and Results Show JUMP Math’s Effectiveness

JUMP Math's method of teaching mathematics results in measurable higher scholastic performance, along with major improvements in students’ self-esteem and attitudes towards learning.  JUMP Math’s rigorous design and careful balance of guided and independent work make it remarkably effective at closing the achievement gap, even as it raises the bar for all.  

  • Preliminary results of a randomized controlled study led by researchers from Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children, Ontario
  • Institute for Studies in Education and the University of Toronto shows that the math knowledge of children using JUMP Math grew twice as much as that of children using the incumbent math program (one of Canada’s leading programs).
  • In her first year of using JUMP, a Toronto teacher lifted her class’s average ranking from the 66th to 92nd percentile, based on the US Test of Mathematical Abilities.  She moved her next class from the 55th to 98th percentiles.

Unique Approach of JUMP Math

JUMP Math’s unique combination of depth, careful scaffolding, continuous assessment and a variety of innovative instructional approaches enables teachers to accomplish the seemingly impossible task of teaching to the whole class while tailoring to students’ individual needs. 

JUMP Math also recognizes that few elementary school teachers are math specialists, so we take special care to ensure that our Teacher’s Guides include clear explanations of math concepts and how they link to other subjects, other areas of math, real world applications, and higher level mathematics.  Our lesson plans provide detailed scripts for teachers who need them, but can also be used as a resource package for teachers who just want ideas.

(Watch John Mighton, describe JUMP Math’s philosophy and approach.)

JUMP Math is a complete package of resources intended to cover the curricula for grades 1 to 8 in much of Canada.  It is also used in several other countries.

Founded by Mathematician and Playwright, Dr. John Mighton

JUMP Math’s founder, Dr. John Mighton, is a Fellow of the Fields Institute for Research in Mathematics, Officer of the Order of Canada, Ashoka Fellow, best-selling author of The Myth of Ability: Nurturing Mathematical Talent in Every Child and multiple awarding winning playwright, John almost failed first-year calculus in university, but his love of math and his belief that everyone has great mathematical potential led him to found JUMP Math as a kitchen-table tutoring group in 1998.  As a tutor, John repeatedly witnessed the heart-breaking paradox of high potential and low achievement. 

JUMP Math is a Charity

JUMP Math is a Canadian registered charity, based in Toronto, Canada. Our mission is to close the gap between students who are currently between being left behind in math, even as we raise attainment for students who are already doing well. 

For Further Information

Please contact Scott McMeekin, CEO, at 416-596-7716 x 230 or