WWC review of this study

The Effects of Strategic Counting Instruction, with and without Deliberate Practice, on Number Combination Skill among Students with Mathematics Difficulties [Word problem instruction with strategic counting practice vs. word problem instruction without strategic counting practice]

Fuchs, Lynn S.; Powell, Sarah R.; Seethaler, Pamela M.; Cirino, Paul T.; Fletcher, Jack M.; Fuchs, Douglas; Hamlett, Carol L. (2010). Learning and Individual Differences, v20 n2 p89-100. Retrieved from: https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ872585

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
     examining 
    100
     Students
    , grade
    3

Reviewed: April 2020

No statistically significant positive
findings
Meets WWC standards without reservations
Algebra and Algebraic Reasoning outcomes—Indeterminate effect found for the domain
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

Find X (Fuchs & Seethaler 2008) dichotomous

Targeted Math Intervention vs. (Not applicable)

0 Days

T1 (WP with strategic counting practice) vs T2 (WP without strategic counting practice);
100 students

98.62

96.00

No

--
Whole Numbers Computation outcomes—Substantively important positive effect found for the domain
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

Double-digit Addition & Subtraction (Fuchs, Hamlett, & Powell 2003)

Targeted Math Intervention vs. (Not applicable)

0 Days

T1 (WP with strategic counting practice) vs T2 (WP without strategic counting practice);
100 students

0.51

0.06

No

--

Four subtests of the Grade 3 Math Battery (Fuchs, Powell, & Hamlett, 2003)

Targeted Math Intervention vs. Intervention

0 Days

T1 (WP with strategic counting practice) vs T2 (WP without strategic counting practice);
100 students

0.32

0.07

No

--
Whole Numbers Word Problems/Problem Solving outcomes—Indeterminate effect found for the domain
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

Vanderbilt Story Problems Grade 2

Targeted Math Intervention vs. (Not applicable)

0 Days

T1 (WP with strategic counting practice) vs T2 (WP without strategic counting practice);
100 students

0.58

0.30

No

--

KeyMath-Revised Problem Solving

Targeted Math Intervention vs. (Not applicable)

0 Days

T1 (WP with strategic counting practice) vs T2 (WP without strategic counting practice);
100 students

0.44

0.23

No

--

Vanderbilt Story Problems Grade 3

Targeted Math Intervention vs. Intervention

0 Days

T1 (WP with strategic counting practice) vs T2 (WP without strategic counting practice);
100 students

0.42

0.28

No

--


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.


  • 17% English language learners

  • Female: 41%
    Male: 59%

  • Urban
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    Tennessee, Texas
  • Race
    Black
    61%
    Other or unknown
    28%
    White
    11%
  • Ethnicity
    Hispanic    
    26%
    Not Hispanic or Latino    
    74%

Setting

The study took place in two urban school districts (Houston and Nashville). Students were from 13 schools in Nashville and 18 schools in Houston.

Study sample

The strategic counting with deliberate practice group included 39% female students. 73% of students in this group were receiving subsidized lunches and 43% were receiving special education services. For 18%, English was the student's second language. The racial and ethnic breakdown for this group was as follows: 59% African American, 8% Caucasian, 31% Hispanic, and 2% other. 31% of the students in this group had been retained in grade. The strategic counting without deliberate practice group included 43% female students. 71% of students in this group were receiving subsidized lunches and 45% were receiving special education services. For 16%, English was the student's second language. The racial and ethnic breakdown for this group was as follows: 63% African American, 14% Caucasian, 20% Hispanic, and 2% other. 35% of the students in this group had been retained in grade (p. 22). All students in the study were experiencing math difficulty. This was determined based on the students' scores on two screening measures. All students scored below the 26th percentile on the Arithmetic subtest of the Wide Range Achievement Test-3 and below the 36th percentile on the Iowa Test of Basic Skills: Problem Solving and Data Interpretation (p. 5, 10). Students were also screened for reading difficulties using the reading subtest of the Wide Range Achievement Test-3. Students who scored below the 26th percentile on this assessment were classified as having reading difficulties. In the final analytic sample (including the control group), 27% of students met criteria for math difficulties alone and 73% met criteria for both math and reading difficulties (p. 6, 10)

Intervention Group

The intervention being tested (T1) is strategic counting instruction with deliberate practice. The intervention took place in the context of one-on-one tutoring and was supplemental to the core mathematics. Tutoring lasted 16 weeks and included 48 sessions divided across 4 units. Each session was 20-30 minutes in duration. The tutoring condition looked at embedding strategic number combination instruction within validated word problem intervention. Tutoring sessions were divided up into four units. The first unit focused on foundational skills and included one lesson on strategic counting. During this lesson, they learned about the strategy of “counting up” if they did not instantly know the answer to a problem and learned how to use this strategy for addition and subtraction problems. The remaining three units focused on one of three word problem types (total, difference, and change). During these units, students were taught how to identify different problem types, identify relevant information for solving the problem, and plug the relevant information into appropriate equations for that problem type. During these units, tutors worked to broaden students’ schemas for each problem type by teaching them to identify irrelevant information, solve problems where the missing information is in different locations in the relevant equation for the problem type, work with problems with double-digit numbers, and identify relevant information when it was displayed in pictographs, charts or pictures. Tutoring sessions followed a regular sequence: starting with a flash-card warm up, followed by a word –problem warm-up (starting in session 7), conceptual and strategic instruction, sorting word problems, and a paper-and-pencil review (p. 7-9). The deliberate practice involved several components. First, at the start of each lesson, tutors reviewed the content that was covered in the strategic counting lesson with students. Second, during the flash card warm up, students were presented with problems to solve. If they did not produce the correct answer, the tutor prompted them to count up to the correct answer. Third, when students made errors during the rest of the tutoring session (after the flash card warm up), the tutor prompted the student to count up to arrive at the correct answer. Finally, when the tutor corrected the paper-and-pencil review, for any incorrect answers, he or she demonstrated how to arrive at the correct answers by using the counting up strategy.

Comparison Group

The comparison condition consisted of a schema-based instruction on word problems where students were taught to distinguish between problems types with additive and subtractive structures (combine, compare, change). Strategic counting practice was NOT included; however, students were taught at the start of tutoring on one occasion a strategy for counting up to solve addition and subtraction basic facts. To account for time spent in T1 on flash card practice, T2 also included flash cards to build fluency on number identification 0-9999.

Support for implementation

Tutors were provided with scripted lessons and were instructed to study the lessons ahead of time rather than read straight from them during tutoring.

 

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