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IES Grant

Title: Evaluating Math Recovery With Student Outcomes
Center: NCER Year: 2007
Principal Investigator: Cobb, Paul Awardee: Vanderbilt University
Program: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education      [Program Details]
Award Period: 2 years Award Amount: $1,120,353
Type: Development and Innovation Award Number: R305B070554
Description:

Purpose: Children enter school with a wide range of mathematical abilities. Data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study—Kindergarten class show that the achievement gaps that appear in kindergarten widen from kindergarten through Grade 3. The goal of Math Recovery is to enable first graders whose performance is below the 25th percentile nationally to achieve at the level of their higher-performing peers, thus changing the longitudinal trajectory of their mathematics development. Although Math Recovery is a fully developed intervention that has been implemented in 19 states, it has not been rigorously evaluated. This purpose of this project is to evaluate the potential of Math Recovery to increase mathematics achievement among low-performing first graders.

Project Activities: The research team is completing an initial study examining whether participation in Math Recovery boosts students' mathematics performance on externally validated assessments. The researchers are randomly assigning first grade students who are low performing in math to receive Math Recovery or to receive the regular math instruction provided by their school. The researchers are tracking the performance of all participants from the beginning of first grade through the end of second grade in order to examine whether any gains from Math Recovery participation in first grade are maintained through the following year.

Products: Products from this project include published reports on the potential impact of Math Recovery tutoring on student mathematics performance.

Structured Abstract

Purpose: This purpose of this project is to evaluate the potential of Math Recovery to increase mathematics achievement among low-performing first graders.

Setting: The participating schools are from urban and suburban school districts in Minnesota and Illinois.

Population: The percentage of ethnic minority students in the schools range from 4 to 97 percent, the percentage of students participating in the free/reduced price lunch program range from 30 to 95 percent, and the percentage of English Language Learner students in the schools range from 2 to 33 percent.

Intervention: The Math Recovery program consists of three components: (1) student identification and assessment, (2) one-to-one tutoring, and (3) teacher training. In the first component of the program, the tutor screens for low-performing students in mathematics, and also conducts individual interviews to develop a detailed profile of each child's knowledge of the central aspects of arithmetic. In the second component, each child receives four to five tutoring sessions of 30 minutes per week for 11 weeks. In the third component, teachers receive 60 hours of training to support their learning of new practices for clinical assessment and diagnostic tutoring.

Research Design and Methods: Students are selected for participation in the study at the start of first grade based on their performance on Math Recovery's screening and follow-up assessment interviews. Within each school, between 16 and 35 of the lowest performing students in math will be identified and asked to participate in the study.

To examine the potential impact of the intervention, the researchers are randomly assigning first grade students who are low-performing in math to one of the three groups that receives Math Recovery or to receive the regular math instruction provided by their school. The three experimental groups differ only in terms of when participating students will receive Math Recovery, e.g., beginning in September, December, or March. The research team is tracking the performance of all participating students from the beginning of first grade through the end of second grade in order to examine whether any gains from Math Recovery participation in first grade are maintained through the following year.

Control Condition: Students participating in the control condition receive the regular math instruction provided by their school.

Key Measures: Student mathematics achievement measures include the Applied Problems, Quantitative Concepts, and Fluency subtests of the Woodcock Johnson III Achievement Test, and the Proximal Math Recovery Assessment.

Data Analytic Strategy: The researchers are analyzing the data using hierarchical linear growth models.

Publications

Journal article, monograph, or newsletter

Munter, C., Wilhelm, A.G., Cobb, P., and Cordray, D.S. (2014). Assessing Fidelity of Implementation of an Unprescribed, Diagnostic Mathematics Intervention. Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness, 7(1): 83–113.

Smith, T.M., Cobb, P., Farran, D.C., Cordray, D.S., and Munter, C. (2013). Evaluating Math Recovery: Assessing the Causal Impact of a Diagnostic Tutoring Program on Student Achievement. American Educational Research Journal, 50(2): 397–428.


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