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IES Grant

Title: A Meta-Analysis and Narrative Synthesis of Mathematics Interventions
Center: NCEE Year: 2021
Principal Investigator: Jayanthi, Madhavi Awardee: Instructional Research Group
Program: Unsolicited and Other Awards      [Program Details]
Award Period: 2 years (10/1/2021 - 9/30/2023) Award Amount: $559,465
Type: Other Goal Award Number: R305U210004

Co-Principal Investigators: Gersten, Russell; Schumacher, Robin; Krowka, Sarah

Purpose The purpose of the project is to conduct a network meta-analysis and a narrative synthesis of relevant, high-quality studies that were used to inform the development of the recently released What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) mathematics intervention practice guide, Assisting Students Struggling with Mathematics: Intervention in the Elementary Grades. Competency in mathematics paves the way for later academic and occupational success. Because of the association between mathematics proficiency in school and outcomes in adulthood, it is necessary to provide students with effective mathematics instruction. For struggling learners, the need for effective intervention has been well-documented. Most critically, over the last decade, students taking the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) mathematics assessment at the 25th percentile flatlined and students at the 10th percentile performed significantly worse (NAEP, 2019). Thus, focusing on effective practices for students performing under the 25th percentile is essential. There has been an improvement in the quality of mathematics intervention research over the past 10 years. While exploring past research for the WWC practice guide, the expert panel found that many studies have moderate to large effect sizes, signaling that the research conducted over the last decade was effective as well as rigorous. However, a comprehensive research synthesis addressing this corpus of research on mathematics interventions in K–6 is needed because more recent research needs to be included and more intensive analyses of all the research can offer more meaningful and actionable insights that may be highly relevant for both practitioners and researchers.

Project Activities

1. A literature search, screening, and review of studies will be conducted using the same process as the practice guide and following the WWC group design protocol version 4.0 for articles that were published between January 2019 and August 2021. These studies will be used in addition to the studies in the practice guide published between January 2004 to December 2018 in the coding of instructional practices and in the meta-analysis.

2. Articles will be coded for how particular instructional practices were employed in the interventions. For example, were representations introduced concurrently or consecutively? Were students asked to use newly taught mathematical vocabulary when they explained mathematical concepts? Codes will also be used to note when instructional practices are bundled together (such as a number line used in combination with concrete mathematical representations). Articles will also be coded for instructional practices not addressed in the practice guide, such as strategies that address executive function or motivation.

3. Forced-entry multivariate meta-regression and network meta-analysis will be conducted to allow for more precision in determining which specific aspects of bundled intervention practices are associated with better outcomes and to better understand the effects of two instructional practices implemented independently or together.

4. A comparison of the findings of this meta-analysis will be made to the prior meta-analysis, with a focus on the added value of the findings from the new meta-analysis in terms of instructional practices and implications for researchers and practitioners.

Products This project will produce a report that summarizes the findings of the meta-analysis by (a) identifying which instructional practices, or bundles of practices, are driving impacts within mathematics intervention and (b) delineating under which conditions and contexts interventions are more or less effective. The project will also result in peer-reviewed publications and presentations as well as additional dissemination products that reach education stakeholders, such as practitioners and policymakers.

Related IES Projects: Assisting Students Struggling with Mathematics: Intervention in the Elementary Grades