Since 2002 Neil Heffernan has been a Professor at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in the Computer Science Department. He taught middle school math and science in the Teach for America program in Baltimore where he met his soon to be spouse, Cristina. Cristina and Neil created ASSISTments, a platform used by 50,000 across the United States for daily classwork and nightly homework. In 1997 he had a seizure and was told he had brain cancer and only had 2-3 years to live; this helped motivate giving away this platform as a free public service. In October of 2016 an objective independent research organization, SRI International, published a peer-review journal article reporting that ASSISTments caused students to learn 75% more on a standardized test of math achievement, compared to what they would have learned in a typical school year. Neil and Cristina now are funded by NSF and Schmidt Futures to let other researchers use his platform and student to run their own studies.
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