WWC review of this study

A quasi-experimental study of Saxon’s Incremental Development Model and its effects on student achievement in first-year algebra (Unpublished doctoral dissertation).

Pierce, R. D. (1984). University of Tulsa, OK.

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
    , grade

Reviewed: April 2017

Evidence Tier rating based solely on this study. This intervention may achieve a higher tier when combined with the full body of evidence.

Study sample characteristics were not reported.

Reviewed: June 2016

No statistically significant positive
Meets WWC standards without reservations
Algebra outcomes—Indeterminate effect found for the domain
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
Significant? Improvement

Lankton First-Year Algebra Test

Saxon Algebra I vs. Holt Algebra I

9 Months

Grade 9;
162 students





Evidence Tier rating based solely on this study. This intervention may achieve a higher tier when combined with the full body of evidence.

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.

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The study was conducted in a high school in the southern midwest United States.

Study sample

The school district was described as primarily White and middle or upper-middle class. Ninth graders enrolled in beginning algebra were on the average mathematics track and constituted the majority of ninth graders at the study school.

Intervention Group

Students in the intervention group received algebra instruction using Saxon Algebra I. Instruction in both conditions occurred over the course of an entire academic year during daily 55-minute math instructional blocks. Teachers organized their classroom instruction in “equivalent” ways for both the intervention and comparison sections, with respect to structure: utilizing 10–15 minutes for homework review, 10 minutes for review of the text, 15 minutes to review new material, and 15–20 minutes of work on problems due during the next class period. Class pacing was similar between the two groups; however, instructional approaches and problem set content were different based on the differential approaches of the intervention and comparison curricula. For example, students in the intervention group received ongoing review in accordance with Saxon’s Incremental Development Model.

Comparison Group

Students in the comparison group received instruction using Holt Algebra I, the school’s business-as-usual algebra curriculum. This curriculum followed standard mathematical pedagogy, including chapter reviews and practice problems, with problem sets and quarterly review tests.

Support for implementation

The two study teachers met with each other weekly and with the researcher monthly during the school year. The meetings were designed as an opportunity to discuss common problems encountered implementing Saxon Algebra I and share ideas about the study. Teachers agreed at the outset of the study to provide “equivalent” instruction to each study condition to maintain the integrity of the study.


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