|Title:||Numbers Plus: A Comprehensive Approach to Early Mathematics Education|
|Principal Investigator:||Epstein, Ann||Awardee:||HighScope Educational Research Foundation|
|Program:||Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education [Program Details]|
|Award Period:||3 years||Award Amount:||$1,497,813|
|Type:||Development and Innovation||Award Number:||R305K060089|
Purpose: The High/Scope educational approach is implemented in many early childhood programs serving children from low-income and minority backgrounds. For example, the Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey data indicate that one in four Head Start programs report using the High/Scope curriculum. Although the overall positive impact of the High/Scope approach has been demonstrated in past research, its mathematics component needs to be made compatible with current research and standards. The purpose of this project is to develop a targeted, research-based preschool mathematics curriculum to supplement the overall High/Scope educational approach that can also be used in any program implementing compatible instructional models. In addition, the researchers intend to obtain preliminary evidence of the potential impact on student outcomes of participating in this supplementary curriculum.
Project Activities: The research team will develop a supplementary mathematics curriculum, Numbers Plus, and train teachers to include appropriate mathematics instructional strategies throughout all parts of the preschool day and learning environment, with explicit emphasis on small-group activities, and a commitment to focusing on contributing to children’s knowledge of underlying concepts rather than their ability to perform mechanical skills. A 10-day teacher training will be developed along with the curriculum. Two curriculum content specific measures will be developed based upon modifications of existing tools, as well as a curriculum manual. After development is complete, the team will gather preliminary evidence of the potential impact of the supplementary curricula using an experimental design.
Products: Products from this project include a mathematics curriculum to supplement the overall High/Scope educational approach, and published papers.
Setting: High/Scope is partnering with preschool programs in southeastern Michigan and northern Indiana.
Population: The researchers will work with a total of 31 sites, with an average of 3 classrooms (each with two teachers) per site and 6 children per classroom. The 15 program partners are made up of Head Start, faith-based, and private preschool programs. As a result, there is a mix of race/ethnicities and socioeconomic status among the children who will participate.
Intervention: The fully developed Numbers Plus intervention will include a curriculum, a teacher professional development program, and assessment tools. The Numbers Plus curriculum units will focus on key mathematics content areas such as classification, seriation, number, space, and time. In Year 1, the research team will develop the curriculum units and the teacher training protocol. Two curriculum content specific measures will be developed based upon modifications of existing tools, as well as a curriculum manual. A pilot study will be conducted during Year 1. The curriculum materials will be revised based on teacher feedback and the researchers’ review of the curriculum materials. During the 10-day teacher training, teachers will be trained to include appropriate mathematics instructional strategies throughout all parts of the preschool day and learning environment, with explicit emphasis on small-group activities, and a commitment to focusing on contributing to children’s knowledge of underlying concepts rather than their ability to perform mechanical skills. In Years 2 and 3 of the study, the research team will implement the curriculum and continue to refine the curriculum units, the teacher-training program, and the curriculum specific measures.
Research Design and Methods: A randomized design with randomization at the level of site will be used to collect preliminary data demonstrating the potential impact of the curriculum and training on teacher and child outcomes. Sites will be randomly assigned to the pilot, treatment, or delayed treatment control conditions. Curriculum and training methods will be developed and field-tested with a pilot group in Year 1. First year findings will be used to revise the curriculum, and systematic evaluation will take place in Years 2 and 3.
Control Condition: In classrooms not implementing the Numbers Plus Curriculum, delayed-treatment control group teachers will implement the general High/Scope preschool approach. Teachers in the delayed treatment condition will receive training in Year 3.
Key Measures: Classroom/teacher level outcomes will be measured using a Teacher Survey, the High/Scope Program Quality Assessment. The Math Program Assessment will measure fidelity of implementation of the intervention. Child/parent level outcomes will be measured using a parent questionnaire, the Child Observation Record, the Woodcock-Johnson Test of Achievement Applied Problems, and the Test of Early Mathematics Ability – 3.
Data Analytic Strategy: To account for the nested structure of the data, the investigators plan to use two and three level hierarchical linear models to estimate a fixed effect of treatment as well as growth over time while controlling for covariates.
Related IES Projects: Numbers Plus Efficacy Study (R305A110483)