WWC review of this study

The impact of a technology-based mathematics after-school program using ALEKS on student’s knowledge and behaviors.

Craig, S. D., Hu, X., Graesser, A. C., Bargagliotti, A. E., Sterbinsky, A., Cheney, K. R., & Okwumabua, T. (2013). Computers & Education, 68, 495–504.

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
     examining 
    253
     Students
    , grade
    6

Reviewed: September 2016

No statistically significant positive
findings
Meets WWC standards with reservations
General Mathematics Achievement outcomes—Indeterminate effect found for the domain
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program (TCAP)

Assessment and Learning in Knowledge Spaces (ALEKS) vs. I do-We do-You do technique

Full sample;
253 students

N/A

N/A

No

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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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    Tennessee

Setting

The setting of the study was four intermediate schools in a single district in West Tennessee. The authors randomized four classrooms in each of the four schools to the intervention or comparison condition, resulting in eight classes in each condition. One teacher was assigned to each class in the study, and a maximum of 20 students could be in those classes. In all, 253 students participated across 16 classes.   

Study sample

The analysis controls for both gender and ethnicity, but the article does not provide detailed enough information to describe the sample. The variable (gender) has a mean value of 1.56, but does not indicate which gender is represented by which value. Likewise, the variable (ethnicity) has a mean value of 1.85, but there is no indication how this variable was coded. The school system from which the study sample was a part of, was 68% economically disadvantaged, 56% African American, 3% Hispanic, and 39% white.  There is no indication of what percentage of the students had learning disabilities.

Intervention Group

Students in the ALEKS intervention condition were supported to use the web-based, adaptive software, based on their instructional needs and self-pacing through instructional modules for 25 weeks. During each tutoring session, students interacted with the ALEKS system and teachers supervised, provided technical assistance, and mathematics assistance as needed. Program participation involved two hours, 2x per week after school. In the two hour sessions, intervention students worked in the ALEKS system during three, 20 minute tutoring sessions, for a total of 1 hour of per session in the ALEKS system, or a total of 2 hours per week. Each two-hour session had two 20 minute breaks, with 10 minutes at the beginning and the end for set-up and dismissal. During one break, students received district-approved snacks and during the second break, students could play games.

Comparison Group

Students in the comparison condition participated in the teacher-led instructional content using the I do-We do-You do technique for 25 weeks. In this condition, participation also involved two hours, 2x per week after school. In the two hour sessions, comparison students had one hour of instructional time, broken into three 20 minute segments. The teacher modeled math problems in the first 20 minute session. In the second 20-minute session, the students worked on similar math problems as a group. In the third 20-minute session, students worked on math problems independently. Each two-hour session in the comparison condition had two 20 minute breaks, with 10 minutes at the beginning and the end for set-up and dismissal.

Support for implementation

Participating teachers received a three-hour training on the procedures for both conditions (p. 12). Each of the four schools had an onsite facilitator, who was appointed by the school principal to provide oversight to the program. The onsite facilitators enforced schedules, placed students into the correct classrooms, and managed the delivery of snack breaks. The onsite facilitators also provided assistance to teachers for disciplinary issues that arose, and handled distribution of materials for the study. Onsite facilitators were paid $25 per hour for after school hours. Teachers collected information on students' attendance in each condition. At ten random dates, all students who participated received a small gift from the Oriental Trading Company. Students with high attendance were entered in a drawing for more substantial prizes (e.g. laptop) at the end of the program. Teachers were paid $20 per hour for their instructional time.

 

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