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IES Grant

Title: Evaluation of the KinderTEK iPad Math Program
Center: NCER Year: 2017
Principal Investigator: Strand Cary, Mari Awardee: University of Oregon
Program: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education      [Program Details]
Award Period: 4 years (7/1/2017-6/30/2021) Award Amount: $3,299,986
Type: Efficacy and Replication Award Number: R305A170044

Co-Principal Investigators: Ben Clarke and  Lina Shanley

Purpose: The purpose of this project is to evaluate the efficacy of KinderTEK, a fully developed, tablet-based math program for kindergarten students. Many teachers are turning to technology in the hopes that online programs, apps, and virtual manipulatives can provide engaging differentiated instruction, independent practice, and engaging content for students within their classrooms. Building off of a prior IES development grant and an OSEP Stepping Up Technology grant, the KinderTEK program can function both as a standard curriculum addressing whole number concepts, and as an individualized, preventative intervention with many opportunities for differentiated instruction. The KinderTEK adaptive program blends focused whole number content and evidence-based instructional design principles with the affordances of iPads to differentiate instruction for each student.

Project Activities: The researchers will evaluate the efficacy of a fully developed, tablet-based math intervention targeting kindergarten students' conceptual understanding of whole number concepts and procedural fluency in solving whole number problems. The intervention will be implemented for 12 weeks. Students will be administered pre- and post-test assessments that measure their mathematical procedural fluency and conceptual understanding.

Products: The outcomes of the project include evidence of the efficacy of the KinderTEK program.  Researchers will also produce peer-reviewed publications.

Structured Abstract

Setting: This  study will take place in urban, suburban, and rural elementary schools in Oregon and Pennsylvania.

Sample: The schools participating in the study are from economically and racially diverse communities. Approximately 3,000 kindergarten students (across four cohorts) and their general education classroom teachers (up to 120) will participate in the evaluation.

Intervention:  The KinderTEK intervention is an iPad application that is aligned with the Common Core State Standards to provide systematic and explicit mathematics instruction to kindergarten students. KinderTEK specifically targets students' conceptual understanding of whole number concepts and procedural fluency in solving whole number problems. It is an adaptive program that provides individualized instruction with learning scaffolds and formative assessments to support students with wide-ranging needs. The KinderTEK iPad app includes 51 instructional activities, as well as rewards and games for students. KinderTEK is designed to be used in 15-minute sessions and students' progress is automatically saved from session to session. Through the app, teachers can track student progress and adjust students' settings, and teachers can also access a website for student management, reporting, and implementation support.

Research Design and Methods:  Researchers will conduct a cluster randomized control trial with classrooms within schools randomly assigned to implement KinderTEK, or continue with their business-as-usual mathematics instruction and practices. Across four cohorts, 120 kindergarten classrooms will be recruited and randomly assigned to treatment and control conditions. The implementation of the intervention with Cohort 1 will take place in Year 1, Cohorts 2 and 3 in Year 2, and Cohort 4 in Year 3 of the study.  Prior to implementation, teachers in the KinderTEK condition will receive 10 hours of in-service training on the program, along with ongoing monitoring and support during implementation. Students in classrooms assigned to the treatment condition will use KinderTEK 15 minutes per day, 5 days per week, for 12 weeks in the second half of the school year during their core math block to control for time. Teachers can monitor their students' use and progress through the KinderTEK curriculum using the embedded teacher app or the accompanying teacher website. Throughout implementation, both control and treatment teachers will document core math instruction using General Instructional Logs. These logs will capture information related to content, format, and time spent on all types of math instruction during the math block. KinderTEK teachers will also complete KinderTEK Fidelity Logs and the research team will conduct classroom observations. Outcomes will primarily be measured through math assessments administered to students before and after KinderTEK implementation in kindergarten and as a follow-up during Grade 1.

Control Condition: Kindergarten classrooms employing their business-as-usual mathematics instruction and practices will serve as the comparison condition.

Key Measures: Key outcome measures include one proximal assessment and two distal assessments that measure students' procedural fluency and conceptual understanding. The KinderTEK Proximal Assessment will be included as the proximal measure, while the Assessing Student Proficiency in Early Number Sense (ASPENS) and the Test of Early Mathematics Ability-Third Edition (TEMA) will serve as the distal outcomes measure. In addition, qualitative and quantitative data regarding implementation fidelity, student engagement, and user perceptions will be gathered through KinderTEK analytics (detailed user-data collected by the KinderTEK program), classroom observations, KinderTEK fidelity logs, General Instructional Logs, and surveys of teacher and student perceptions.

Data Analytic Strategy: Researchers will analyze the effects of the KinderTEK intervention using a mixed model analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) that accounts for students nested in classrooms and schools.  The research team will evaluate tests of whether various student, teacher, and contextual characteristics moderate the relationship between KinderTEK participation and math outcomes using extensions of the primary mixed-model ANCOVA.

Project Website:
Related IES Project: KinderTEK: Teaching Early Knowledge of Whole Number Concepts Through Technology (R324A110286)