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IES Grant

Title: A Randomized Control Trial of a Tier 2 Kindergarten Mathematics Intervention
Center: NCSER Year: 2012
Principal Investigator: Clarke, Ben Awardee: University of Oregon
Program: Mathematics and Science Education: Special Education Research      [Program Details]
Award Period: 07/01/2012-06/30/2016 Award Amount: $3,338,552
Goal: Efficacy and Replication Award Number: R324A120304
Description:

Purpose: Recently, students in the United States have demonstrated low levels of mathematics performance compared to national standards and the performance of students from other countries. Signs of potential low performance and risk for mathematics disabilities can appear early in students' schooling. Without intervention in early elementary school, these difficulties are likely to persist over time and become more challenging to remediate. One approach to improving mathematics achievement is to deliver effective instructional programs to students at risk for mathematics disabilities as they enter kindergarten. Few experimental studies exist for evaluating the efficacy of mathematics programs used in kindergarten classrooms for students at risk for mathematics disabilities or future poor performance in mathematics.

The purpose of this project is to test the efficacy of a fully developed mathematics intervention for kindergarteners, called ROOTS, aimed at improving the mathematics skills of students with or at risk for mathematics disabilities. The project will evaluate two versions of the ROOTS intervention to investigate the relationship between group size and student outcomes. The first version is considered to be a high intensity version with two students in each intervention group; the second version is considered to be a low intensity version with five students in each intervention group.

Project Activities: The researchers will evaluate the efficacy of ROOTS for improving mathematics outcomes for students with or at risk for mathematics disabilities. ROOTS is designed to be a supplemental mathematics intervention or a Tier 2 intervention in a response to intervention model. Approximately 120 classes will be involved in the research. Within each class, 10 children with or at risk for mathematics disabilities will be identified through pre-intervention screening and randomly assigned to a no treatment control group, a high intensity ROOTS group, or a low intensity ROOTS group. Data will be analyzed in a multi-level framework to provide evidence of the efficacy of the ROOTS intervention for improving student outcomes in mathematics.

Products: The expected outcomes of this research include evidence of the ROOTS intervention for improving kindergarteners' mathematics achievement, peer-reviewed publications, and presentations.

Structured Abstract

Setting: The research will be conducted in elementary schools in Massachusetts and Oregon.

Sample: The sample will consist of kindergarten students from economically and racially diverse communities in 120 kindergarten classrooms. Within each participating kindergarten classroom, 10 children with or at risk for mathematics disabilities will be identified through pre-intervention screening using a combination of mathematics proficiency measures and teacher input.

Intervention: ROOTS is a fifty-lesson intervention program intended for use in intervention settings for students with or at risk for disabilities. ROOTS is designed to be aligned to the Common Core State Standards and provides instruction on number sense and whole number concepts including counting, cardinality, number operations, base 10, and place value. The project will compare two versions of the ROOTS intervention—a high intensity version with two students in each intervention group and a low intensity version with five students in each intervention group. Students will continue to receive core mathematics instruction in their general education kindergarten classroom in addition to the ROOTS intervention.

Research Design and Methods: A randomized controlled trial with three groups will be conducted. The study will take place in 120 kindergarten classrooms across four years, with 60 classrooms recruited and retained for two years each. Within classrooms, students will be randomly assigned to a no treatment control group, a high intensity ROOTS group, or a low intensity ROOTS group.

Control Condition: Students assigned to the control condition will remain in the general education classroom and continue to receive their core mathematics instruction as approved by the participating school district.

Key Measures: Pre- and post-intervention instruments include proximal and distal measures of student mathematics achievement. These include the Number Sense Brief Screen, Proximal Early Learning in Mathematics, the Test of Early Mathematics Ability-Third Edition, the Stanford Achievement Test-Tenth Edition, and the Early Numeracy-Curriculum Based Measurement. Classroom observations focused on fidelity of implementation and quality of instructional interactions will be conducted. Teacher and student demographic data will also be collected.

Data Analytic Strategy: Multilevel modeling that nests students within instructional groups will be used to determine whether either version of ROOTS produces better mathematics outcomes compared to the control condition and whether the two versions of the intervention lead to differences in mathematics outcomes. The researchers will also investigate whether initial skill level moderates intervention effects.

Publications from this project:

Gersten, R. M., Clarke, B., Jordan, N., Newman-Gonchar, R., Haymond, K., & Wilkins, C. (2012). Universal screening in mathematics for the primary grades: Beginnings of a research base. Exceptional Children, 78 (4), 423–445.

Clarke, B., Doabler, C. T., Smolkowski, K., Kosty, D. B., Baker, S. K., Fien, H., & Strand Cary, M. (2014). Examining the efficacy of a tier 2 kindergarten mathematics intervention. Journal of Learning Disabilities, Advanced online publication. doi: 10.1177/0022219414538514

Clarke, B., Haymond, K., & Gersten, R. M. (2014). Mathematics screening measures for the primary grades. In R. J. Kettler, T. A. Glover, C. A. Albers & K. A. Feeney-Kettler (Eds.), Universal screening in educational settings: Evidence-based decision making for schools (pp. 199–221). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. doi: 10.1037/14316–008

Clarke, B., Doabler, C. T., Nelson, N. J., & Shanley, C. (2015). Effective instructional strategies for kindergarten and first grade students at-risk in mathematics. Intervention in School and Clinic, 50, 257–265. doi: 10.1177/1053451214560888

Clarke, B., Doabler, C. T., & Nelson, N. J. (2014). Best practices in mathematics assessment and intervention with elementary students. In A. Thomas & P. Harrison (Eds.), Best practices in school psychology (6th ed., pp. 219–232) Bethesda, MD: National Association of School Psychologists.

Clarke, B., Nelson-Walker, N. J., & Shanley, L. (in press). Mathematics fluency: Beyond the weekly timed test. In K. D. Cummings & Y. Petscher (Eds.), The fluency construct. New York, NY: Springer.


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