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IES Grant

Title: Implementing Fraction Intervention Classwide to Address Mathematics Learning Disabilities in Inclusive Classrooms
Center: NCSER Year: 2020
Principal Investigator: Fuchs, Lynn Awardee: Vanderbilt University
Program: Research Grants Focused on Systematic Replication in Special Education      [Program Details]
Award Period: 5 years (09/01/2020 - 08/31/2025) Award Amount: $3,589,062
Type: Replication Efficacy Award Number: R324R200003

Co-Principal Investigator: Fuchs, Douglas; Malone, Amelia

Purpose: To date, the efficacy of the Inclusive Fraction Intervention identified by IES for replication has been evaluated only when delivered in small groups by research staff tutors to students identified with or at-risk for mathematics learning disabilities (MLD). The purpose of this proposed efficacy replication is to assess the efficacy of the Inclusive Fraction Intervention on the same population in a different setting (classwide in inclusive general education, not small-group pullout) by different personnel (general education teachers, not research staff tutors). Researchers will also assess effects on non-MLD classmates.

Project Activities: For each of the five years of the project, the research team will randomly assign classrooms to Inclusive Fraction Intervention or the control condition creating five cohorts to be included in the study analyses. Researchers will test the efficacy of the intervention on improving mathematics outcomes for MLD students and non-MLD classmates. They will explore whether pretest mathematics skill across MLD and non-MLD students moderates the effects to deepen insight about for whom the intervention may be more or less effective. They will conduct an implementation study and assess fidelity of implementation in addition to collecting data on cost and cost-effectiveness. The hypothesis is that the feasibility, cost, and cost-effectiveness of the Inclusive Fraction Intervention will be attractive to schools, leading to wider adoption and implementation along with stronger scalability of the intervention in the future.

Products: Products include information about the efficacy of the intervention when implemented classwide by general education teachers for improving outcomes for students with or at risk for MLD. The project will also result in a released final data set, peer-reviewed publications and presentations as well as additional dissemination products that reach education stakeholders such as practitioners and policymakers.

Structured Abstract

Setting: The research will take place in elementary schools in Tennessee.

Sample: The sample will include approximately 170 fourth-grade classrooms and teachers, 510 fourth-grade students with MLD and 1,700 non-MLD classmates. Students with MLD for this project are defined as students who score under the 30th percentile on the nationally normed mathematics screening measure used in prior studies, with teacher confirmation of the need for intervention and without intellectual disability.

Intervention: The IES-identified Fraction Intervention, Inclusive Fraction Intervention is implemented by general education teachers using the intervention’s content, lesson structure, materials, and instructional methods classwide, with teacher-directed lessons and peer-assisted strategies to provide student-to-student guided rehearsal, discussion, and feedback.

Research Design and Methods: Researchers will test efficacy using a randomized controlled trial conducted in 5 annual cohorts, with classrooms randomly assigned to Inclusive Fraction Intervention or the control condition.

Control Condition: The typical school program.

Key Measures: The Wide Range Achievement Test-Math will be used as a screening test to identify MLD. Student mathematics measures used as pre-/posttests of fraction performance include researcher developed or adapted proximal measures (Fraction Number Line Estimation, Fraction Arithmetic Number Line Estimation, Fraction Calculations, Fraction Magnitude & Calculations in Context) and released NAEP assessment items (NAEP; U.S. Department of Education, 1990-2009). Data will also be collected to measure fidelity of implementation, costs, adherence to Inclusive Fraction Intervention’s design features, and post-intervention teacher ratings of Inclusive Fraction Intervention’s effectiveness and feasibility. Cost per student and cost-effectiveness data are collected for personnel, materials, and oversight annually based on periodic log data.

Data Analytic Strategy: For the primary analyses, the research team will use multilevel regression models with students nested within classrooms within schools. To examine moderation, the researchers will use multilevel modeling. Cost per student and cost effectiveness are estimated for start-up versus maintenance. Cost per student and cost effectiveness are contrasted for Inclusive Fraction Intervention against cost and cost effectiveness estimates for the same IES-identified Fraction Intervention when implemented by school interventionists.

Related IES Projects: Improving Reading and Mathematics Outcomes for Students with Learning Disabilities: Next Generation Intensive Interventions (R324D130003); National Research and Development Center on Improving Mathematics Instruction for Students with Mathematics Difficulties (R324C100004).