WWC review of this study

Effects of Fact Retrieval Tutoring on Third-Grade Students with Math Difficulties with and without Reading Difficulties [Fact retrieval practice vs. control]

Powell, Sarah R., Fuchs, Lynn S., Fuchs, Douglas, Cirino, Paul T., Fletcher, Jack M. (2009). Learning Disabilities Research & Practice, 24(1), 1–11. Retrieved from: https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ827128

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
    , grade

Reviewed: January 2023

At least one finding shows promising evidence of effectiveness
At least one statistically significant positive finding
Meets WWC standards without reservations
Whole Numbers Computation outcomes—Statistically significant positive effect found for the domain
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
Significant? Improvement

Automatic Fact Retrieval

Fact retrieval tutoring—Powell et al. (2009) vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Fact practice/retrieval group vs. Comparison group contrast ;
66 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.

  • 12% English language learners

  • Female: 47%
    Male: 53%

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    Tennessee, Texas
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    Not Hispanic or Latino    


The study took place in third grade classrooms Nashville, Tennessee and Houston, Texas schools.

Study sample

Students were 9.1 years old on average. Approximately 47 percent were female, 73 percent received subsidized lunch, 23 percent were in special education, and 12 percent were learning English as a second language. The racial and ethnic background of students was 50 percent black, 27 percent white, and 23 percent Hispanic.

Intervention Group

Students assigned to the fact retrieval practice group received tutoring via computer-assisted instruction, math fact flash card practice, and math fact review. The computer-assisted instruction was given using Math Flash, an interactive program that uses number line illustrations to represent addition and subtraction facts. The flash card practice involved flash cards without answers and scripted feedback was provided by the tutor. For the math facts review, students recorded answers to math facts using pencil and paper. The tutoring took place 3 times per week for 15 weeks, and each session lasted between 15 and 18 minutes.

Comparison Group

Students assigned to the comparison group received no tutoring.

Support for implementation

Across the three tutoring conditions, 22 research assistants or project coordinators served as tutors. The tutors received a two-day training. The research team provided tutors with scripts that covered the key concepts and vocabulary used in each lesson; tutors did not have to follow the scripts word-for-word. Prior to implementation, the tutors reviewed the scripts and practiced tutoring on their own and in groups with other tutors. A project coordinator observed a tutoring session for each tutor, provided feedback, and checked in every 2-3 weeks with each tutor to review any issues or questions.


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