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IES Grant

Title: Instructional Effects on Achievement Growth of Children with Learning Difficulties in Mathematics
Center: NCSER Year: 2007
Principal Investigator: Morgan, Paul Awardee: Pennsylvania State University
Program: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics      [Program Details]
Award Period: 3/1/2007 to 2/28/2009 Award Amount: $492,482
Goal: Exploration Award Number: R324A070270
Description:

Purpose: Students with disabilities tend to lag behind their peers in mathematics achievement. On the 2007 National Assessment of Educational Progress, 19 percent of students with disabilities in Grade 4, and 8 percent of students with disabilities in Grade 8 were proficient in mathematics for their grade. To date, relatively little research has been conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of specific interventions for improving mathematics achievement of students with mathematics disabilities or even to identify potentially effective curricula or instructional approaches. One strategy for identifying potentially effective interventions for improving student achievement is to analyze data from large-scale longitudinal research to determine which education practices are associated with better student achievement. This information can then be used to help develop coherent interventions that incorporate those practices that are most likely to contribute to better student outcomes. The purpose of this study is to analyze data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study—Kindergarten Cohort in order to identify specific types of mathematics instruction for children with, or at risk for, mathematics disabilities, that are associated with better student outcomes.

Project Activities: In the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, a nationally representative sample of children was followed from kindergarten through Grade 5. The researchers plan three sets of analyses on this dataset. First, they will identify the developmental dynamics of poor mathematics performance in grades K–5 (e.g., Does poor performance remain stable across time or does it tend to emerge at certain times and under certain circumstances?). Second, the researchers will analyze the relations between alternative types of mathematics and reading instruction and occurrence of mathematics disabilities in order to identify those practices that are potentially effective for preventing or remediating mathematics disabilities. Third, the team will replicate the above analyses for students without math disabilities to determine whether the instructional practices that are associated with better outcomes for students with mathematics disabilities are also associated with better outcomes for students without mathematics disabilities.

Products: The expected products from this study include publications and presentations on research activities and findings that may serve as a basis for developing instructional interventions for students with disabilities in mathematics.

Structured Abstract

Purpose: Students with disabilities tend to lag behind their peers in mathematics achievement. On the 2007 National Assessment of Educational Progress, 19 percent of students with disabilities in Grade 4, and 8 percent of students with disabilities in Grade 8 were at or above the proficient level in mathematics for their grade. To date, relatively little research has been conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of specific interventions for improving mathematics achievement of students with mathematics disabilities or even to identify potentially effective curricula or instructional approaches. One strategy for identifying potentially effective interventions for improving student achievement is to analyze data from large-scale longitudinal research to determine which education practices are associated with better student achievement. This information can then be used to help develop coherent interventions that incorporate those practices that are most likely to contribute to better student outcomes. The purpose of this study is to analyze data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study—Kindergarten Cohort in order to identify specific types of mathematics instruction for children with, or at risk for, mathematics disabilities, that are associated with better student outcomes.

Setting: This study will analyze data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study—Kindergarten Cohort. The children attended both public and private kindergartens offering full- and part-day programs.

Population: The Early Childhood Longitudinal Study—Kindergarten Cohort involves a nationally representative sample of students who were kindergartners in fall 1998. The original sample included 21,260 students. The study will employ three cutoff levels to identify students with math disabilities—35th percentile, 20th percentile, and 10th percentile on math assessments.

Intervention: Instructional practices in mathematics are the interventions of primary interest. The Early Childhood Longitudinal Study—Kindergarten Cohort measures these practices by means of teacher reports which are described under "Key Measures" below.

Research Design and Methods: The project will answer three sets of research questions: (1) What characterizes mathematics difficulties? (2) What teaching practices help prevent mathematics difficulties? And (3) Are these practices equally effective with children with and without mathematics difficulties?

Control Condition: n/a

Key Measures: Mathematics instructional activities and skills taught are measured by means of teacher reports involving multi-item questionnaires that ask about a wide range of instructional practices. For example, 1st grade teachers are asked to rate how frequently their students engage in 22 specific activities such as doing math worksheets, doing math problems with their textbooks, completing math problems on the chalkboard, playing math-related games, working with manipulatives to learn basic operations, etc. Student achievement in mathematics will be measured with the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study—Kindergarten Cohort Mathematics Test. In addition to direct measures of student achievement in mathematics, this project will use teacher ratings on a variety of mathematics skills.

Data Analytic Strategy: The project will estimate separate mathematics achievement equations for 1st, 3rd, and 5th grade students. The dependent variables will be various measures of mathematics proficiency. The independent variables will be the specific teacher-reported instructional activities.

Publications

Journal article, monograph, or newsletter

Morgan, P.L. (2015). Which Instructional Practices Most Help First-Grade Students With and Without Mathematics Difficulties?. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 37(2): 184–205. doi:10.3102/0162373714536608

Morgan, P.L., Farkas, G., and Maczuga, S. (2011). Kindergarten Children's Growth Trajectories in Reading and Mathematics: Who Falls Increasingly Behind?. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 44(5): 472–488. doi:10.1177/0022219411414010

Morgan, P.L., Farkas, G., and Maczuga, S. (2015). Which Instructional Practices Most Help First-Grade Students With and without Mathematics Difficulties?. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 37(2): 184–205. doi:10.3102/0162373714536608

Morgan, P.L., Farkas, G., and Wu, Q. (2009). Five-Year Growth Trajectories of Kindergarten Children With Learning Difficulties in Mathematics. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 42(4): 306–321. doi:10.1177/0022219408331037

Morgan, P.L., Farkas, G., Hillemeier, M.H., and Maczuga, S. (2016). Who is at Risk for Persistent Mathematics Difficulties in the United States?. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 49(3): 305–319. doi:10.1177/0022219414553849

Morgan, P.L., Farkas, G., Hillemeier, M.H., Mattison, R., Maczuga, S., Li, H., and Cook, M. (2015). Minorities Are Disproportionately Underrepresented in Special Education: Longitudinal Evidence Across Five Disability Conditions. Educational Researcher, 44(5): 278–292. doi:10.3102/0013189X15591157?

Morgan, P.L., Farkas, G., Hillemeier, M.H., Mattison, R., Maczuga, S., Li, H., and Cook, M. (2015). Minorities Are Disproportionately Underrepresented in Special Education: Longitudinal Evidence Across Five Disability Conditions. Educational Researcher, 44(5): 278–292. doi:10.3102/0013189X15591157

Morgan, P.L., Farkas, G., Hillemeier, M.M., and Maczuga, S. (2016). Who is At Risk for Persistent Mathematics Difficulties in the United States?. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 49(3): 305–319. doi:10.1177/0022219414553849

Wu, Q., Morgan, P. L. and Farkas, G (2014). Does Minority Status Increase the Effect of Disability Status on Elementary School Children's Academic Achievement?. Remedial and Special Education, 35(6): 366–377. doi:10.1177/0741932514547644 Full text


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