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IES Grant

Title: Learning Progressions: Developing an Embedded Formative and Summative Assessment System to Assess and Improve Learning Outcomes for Elementary and Middle School Students with Learning Disabilities in Mathematics
Center: NCSER Year: 2010
Principal Investigator: Seeratan, Kavita Awardee: SRI International
Program: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics      [Program Details]
Award Period: 03/01/2010 02/28/2014 Award Amount: $1,658,705
Type: Measurement Award Number: R324A100068

Purpose: This purpose of this project is to develop and validate a formative and summative classroom assessment system embedded with universal design principles for evaluating and promoting conceptual understanding of pre-algebra constructs for elementary and early middle school students with mathematics learning disabilities (MLD). The instruments will be designed to assess how students with MLD learn constructs important to number sense and operations for whole numbers and elementary fractions.

Project Activities: The research team will develop assessments designed to measure number sense and operations for students with mathematics learning disabilities. The team will iteratively develop and validate all assessment components. Activities and analysis will involve data collection from the literature, interdisciplinary experts, teacher panels, and students.

Products: The products of this project include a fully developed and validated assessment system for students with math learning disabilities, the accompanying learning progressions and maps for the relevant mathematics constructs, presentations and published reports.

Setting: The research will take place in approximately 20 public elementary schools in three large districts in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan region.

Population: The sample will be comprised of elementary and early middle school general education and mathematics learning disabled students and their teachers. Mathematics learning disabled students will be sampled from grades 1 through 6 and general education students will be sampled from kindergarten through grade 3. The study sample includes approximately 450 mathematics learning disabled students and their 36 teachers and approximately 150 general education students and their 12 teachers.

Intervention: The intervention to be developed is a system for assessing elementary and middle school students who are struggling to learn mathematics concepts important for later success in Algebra, particularly number sense and operations for whole numbers and fractions. The assessment will be delivered via an online system designed to provide data logging, analysis, feedback, and reporting to users. The assessment system will also incorporate universal design for learning principles (e.g., text to speech) to promote accessibility.

Research Design and Methods: The researchers will use an iterative approach in the development and validation of the assessment. Item development involves a research literature review to establish the target constructs.

Control Condition: There is no control condition.

Key Measures: Measures will include data from the administration of newly developed assessment items and think-aloud interviews, students' artifacts from the classroom, existing students' data on state and standardized math achievement tests, data from the Number Knowledge Test, and the teacher-administered Learning Disabilities Diagnostic Inventory.

Data Analytic Strategy: Data analytic methods include synthesizing findings from the literature, interdisciplinary team discussions, teacher and expert panels, and think-aloud child interviews. Methods for determining psychometric properties of the measures and will be unidimensional and multidimensional item response models, linear logistic test models, and repeated measures analysis of variance.