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Large numbers of students are not proficient in mathematics and there are disparities in mathematics achievement between students from different ethnic and socioeconomic groups. Mathematics skills are important for both academic and workplace success and there are a large number of interventions that aim to improve student mathematics achievement. This review focuses on mathematics interventions that are typically used in kindergarten through grade 8 and are designed to affect students’ mathematics achievement.

Whether an intervention falls under the scope of this review depends on both the grade level and content of the intervention. For example, the review can include students in grades 9–12 if they use a primary mathematics intervention such as pre-algebra.

The following research questions guide this review:

  • Which interventions are effective at increasing the learning of primary mathematics content and skills
  • Are some primary mathematics interventions more effective for certain types of students, particularly students who are at risk of failure in mathematics?

Protocol Details

  • Version: 4.0
  • Released: December 2018
  • Version: 3.1
  • Released: June 2015
  • Version: 3.0
  • Released: July 2014

What is a Protocol?

The What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) uses the Study Review Protocol to review all studies, including those cited as evidence for U.S. Department of Education grant competitions, studies that were funded by the Department, and studies identified for systematic reviews of evidence based on a search of the research literature in a particular topic area. As articulated in the WWC Procedures and Standards Handbook, Version 5.0, when the Study Review Protocol is used to review studies for systematic reviews, an accompanying topic area synthesis protocol will provide criteria for the literature search; guidance on how to identify and prioritize relevant studies for review and inclusion in evidence synthesis products; and guidance on intervention, sample, and outcome eligibility criteria for the synthesis.

The Study Review Protocol is used in combination with the WWC Handbook to guide the review of all studies by the WWC. In particular, the Study Review Protocol provides additional information on eligible outcome domains for all topic areas reviewed by the WWC and provides examples of outcome measures that fall within each domain. Starting in January 2021 with the release of the Study Review Protocol, Version 1.0, the WWC publishes an updated version of the Study Review Protocol to align with an updated version of the WWC Handbook. The current version of this protocol, the Study Review Protocol, Version 5.0, was published in March 2023 to accompany the WWC Procedures and Standards Handbook, Version 5.0.

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