Skip Navigation
Funding Opportunities | Search Funded Research Grants and Contracts

IES Grant

Title: Early Learning in Mathematics: A Prevention Approach
Center: NCER Year: 2004
Principal Investigator: Ketterlin Geller, Leanne Awardee: University of Oregon
Program: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education      [Program Details]
Award Period: 3 years Award Amount: $1,485,165
Type: Development and Innovation Award Number: R305K040081

Children's mathematics achievement in the early grades in U.S. schools has been low for decades, and the gap between the achievement levels of children from low-income families and minorities and the achievement levels of their more advantaged peers is large. At the same time, expectations for mathematics achievement have risen for students, particularly in the early grades, including kindergarten. Unfortunately, insufficient information is available regarding how best to meet these rising expectations for students as they are just beginning school, especially for students experiencing significant difficulties in mathematics, and there is very little empirical evidence regarding the effects of mathematics reforms on learning. The purpose of the current study is to address the need to identify practices that promote mathematics learning in young children by developing and evaluating the efficacy of a mathematics instructional intervention and progress monitoring system designed to address the instructional needs of a wide range of kindergarten learners.

In the first year of the project, mathematics instruction strategies, curriculum materials, and student activities are being developed, along with tests and observation procedures designed to measure student learning and the quality of the educational approach. This work is being done in collaboration with four kindergarten teachers recruited based on their expertise in kindergarten curriculum and instruction who will serve as teacher-researchers and who will pilot test intervention materials with their students. In the second year of the project, a study will be conducted in which 20 kindergarten teachers will be randomly assigned either to use the new mathematics instruction approach in their classrooms or to continue as before. In both conditions, mathematics instruction will occur for approximately 20 minutes per day, 5 days per week for the entire school year. A series of mathematics assessments will be administered to determine the efficacy of the new mathematics curriculum compared with the standard curriculum. These will include standardized mathematics assessments at pretest and posttest (one of the standardized assessments will also be administered at mid-year). In addition, a sample of eight randomly-selected students (four at-risk, four average achieving) in each classroom will be administered performance assessments at three points during the year to determine ongoing student learning and progress. Observational and interview measures will be used to assess the fidelity and intensity of implementation, as well as the participation and engagement of the 8 students selected for more in-depth assessment.

In the third year, the teachers who participated in the second year study will use the same instructional approach they used in the previous year with a new class of kindergarten students, and the same assessment procedures will be used. In addition to examinations of the differential efficacy of the new instructional approach compared with standard mathematics instruction, an additional focus will be on whether teachers assigned to use the new mathematics instructional intervention become more adept at using the new approach during the second year, and whether this results in improved student outcomes, particularly for at-risk students. In addition, during year 3, students who participated during Year 2 will be re-assessed at the end of their first grade year to determine the longer-term impact of the kindergarten intervention on student mathematics learning. The overall goal of this project is to develop a usable and effective approach to mathematics instruction in kindergarten, including instructional strategies, curriculum materials, a computer software program for student practice, and assessment strategies for identifying students who are having trouble learning mathematics.

Related IES Projects: Early Learning in Mathematics: Efficacy in Kindergarten Classrooms (R305A080114) and A Randomized Study of the Efficacy of a Two-Year Mathematics Intervention for At-Risk Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten Students (R305A120262)

Products and Publications

Book chapter

Chard, D.J., Ketterlin Geller, L., and Jitendra, A. (2008). A Model of Instructional Support to Enhance Mathematics Learning for All Students. In E.L. Grigorenko (Ed.), Educating Individuals With Disabilities: IDEA 2004 and Beyond. New York: Springer.

Chard, D.J., Ketterlin-Geller, L., and Jitendra, A. (2008). Systems of Instruction and Assessment to Improve Mathematics Achievement for Students With Disabilities: The Potential and Promise of RTI. In E.L. Grigorenko (Ed.), Educating Individuals With Disabilities: IDEA 2004 and Beyond (pp. 227–248). New York: Springer.

Clarke, B., Baker, S., and Chard, D.J. (2008). Best Practices in Mathematics Intervention and Assessment. In A. Thomas, and J. Grimes (Eds.), Best Practices in School Psychology (pp. 465–476). Bethesda, MD: National Association of School Psychologists.

Journal article, monograph, or newsletter

Chard, D.J., Baker, S.K., Clarke, B., Jungjohann, K., Davis, K., and Smolkowski, K. (2008). Preventing Early Mathematics Difficulties: The Feasibility of a Rigorous Kindergarten Mathematics Curriculum. Learning Disabilities Quarterly, 31(1): 11–20.

Chard, D.J., Clarke, B., Baker, S., Otterstedt, J., Braun, D., and Katz, R. (2005). Using Measures of Number Sense to Screen for Difficulties in Mathematics: Preliminary Findings. Assessment for Effective Intervention, 30(2): 3–14.

Clarke, B., Baker, S., and Chard, D.J. (2007). Measuring Number Sense Development in Young Children: A Summary of Early Research. Leadership to Math Success for All, 5: 1–11.

Clarke, B., Baker, S.K., Smolkowski, K., and Chard, D. (2008). An Analysis of Early Numeracy Curriculum-Based Measurement: Examining the Role of Growth in Student Outcomes. Remedial and Special Education, 29(1): 46–57.

Clarke, B., Doabler, C.T., Smolkowski, K., Kosty, D.B., Baker, S.K., Fien, H., and Strand, C.M. (2016). Examining the Efficacy of a Tier 2 Kindergarten Mathematics Intervention. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 49(2): 152–165.

Clarke, B., Smolkowski, K., Baker, S.K., Fien, H. Doabler, C.T., and Chard, D.J. (2011). The Impact of a Comprehensive Tier I Core Kindergarten Program on the Achievement of Students at Risk in Mathematics. Elementary School Journal, 111(4): 561–584.

Doabler, C.T., Baker, S.K., Kosty, D., Smolkowski, K., Clarke, B., Miller, S.J., and Fien, H. (2015). Examining the Association Between Explicit Mathematics Instruction and Student Mathematics Achievement. Elementary School Journal, 115(3): 303–333.

Doabler, C.T., Strand-Cary, M., Jungjohann, K., Fien, H., Clarke, B., Baker, S. Smolkowski, K., and Chard, D. (2012). Enhancing Core Math Instruction for Students At-Risk for Mathematics Disabilities. Teaching Exceptional Children, 44(4): 48–57.