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Bloom's 2 Sigma Problem Summary

Bloom's 2 sigma problem

Bloom's 2 sigma problem refers to an educational phenomenon observed by educational psychologist Benjamin Bloom and initially reported in 1984 in the journal Educational Researcher. Bloom found that the average student tutored one-to-one using mastery learning techniques performed two standard deviations better than students who learn via conventional instructional methods—that is, "the average tutored student was above 98% of the students in the control class". Additionally, the variation of the students' achievement changed: "about 90% of the tutored students ... attained the level of summative achievement reached by only the highest 20%" of the control class. Bloom's graduate students J. Anania and A. J. Burke conducted studies of this effect at different grade levels and in different schools, observing students with "great differences in cognitive achievement, attitudes, and academic self-concept".

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