WWC review of this study

Addressing Challenging Mathematics Standards with At-Risk Learners: A Randomized Controlled Trial on the Effects of Fractions Intervention at Third Grade [Fractions intervention with word problem instruction (with or without self-regulation) vs. control]

Fuchs, Lynn S.; Wang, Amber Y.; Preacher, Kristopher J.; Malone, Amelia S.; Fuchs, Douglas; Pachmayr, Rachel (2020). Retrieved from: https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED604271

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
     examining 
    84
     Students
    , grade
    3

Reviewed: August 2023

At least one finding shows promising evidence of effectiveness
At least one statistically significant positive finding
Meets WWC standards without reservations
Number and Operations outcomes—Statistically significant positive effect found for the domain
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

Researcher-developed fraction knowledge assessment (Fraction Battery, Addition and Subtraction)

Super Solvers–Third Grade vs. Business as usual

2 Weeks

Super Solvers alone and Super Solvers with growth-mindset instruction;
84 students

6.08

1.72

Yes

 
 
40
 

Researcher-developed fraction knowledge assessment (Fraction Battery, Ordering)

Super Solvers–Third Grade vs. Business as usual

2 Weeks

Super Solvers alone and Super Solvers with growth-mindset instruction;
84 students

5.18

2.24

Yes

 
 
36
 

Researcher-developed fraction knowledge assessment (13 NAEP items on general fraction knowledge)

Super Solvers–Third Grade vs. Business as usual

2 Weeks

Super Solvers alone and Super Solvers with growth-mindset instruction;
84 students

5.94

3.98

Yes

 
 
30
 

Researcher-developed fraction knowledge assessment (Fraction Battery, Number Line)

Super Solvers–Third Grade vs. Business as usual

2 Weeks

Super Solvers alone and Super Solvers with growth-mindset instruction;
84 students

8.04

5.14

Yes

 
 
29
 

Researcher-developed fraction knowledge assessment (Fraction Battery, Word Problems)

Super Solvers–Third Grade vs. Business as usual

2 Weeks

Super Solvers alone and Super Solvers with growth-mindset instruction;
84 students

8.81

4.76

Yes

 
 
26
 

Researcher-developed fraction knowledge assessment (Fraction Battery, Single-Digit Multiplication)

Super Solvers–Third Grade vs. Business as usual

2 Weeks

Super Solvers alone and Super Solvers with growth-mindset instruction;
84 students

14.24

10.76

Yes

 
 
22
 
Show Supplemental Findings

Researcher-developed fraction knowledge assessment (Fraction Battery, Addition and Subtraction)

Super Solvers–Third Grade vs. Business as usual

2 Weeks

Super Solvers alone;
55 students

6.11

1.72

Yes

 
 
39

Researcher-developed fraction knowledge assessment (Fraction Battery, Ordering)

Super Solvers–Third Grade vs. Business as usual

2 Weeks

Super Solvers with growth-mindset instruction;
58 students

5.48

2.24

Yes

 
 
39

Researcher-developed fraction knowledge assessment (Fraction Battery, Addition and Subtraction)

Super Solvers–Third Grade vs. Business as usual

2 Weeks

Super Solvers with growth-mindset instruction;
58 students

5.66

1.72

Yes

 
 
39

Researcher-developed fraction knowledge assessment (13 NAEP items on general fraction knowledge)

Super Solvers–Third Grade vs. Business as usual

2 Weeks

Super Solvers alone;
55 students

6.37

3.98

Yes

 
 
37

Researcher-developed fraction knowledge assessment (Fraction Battery, Ordering)

Super Solvers–Third Grade vs. Business as usual

2 Weeks

Super Solvers alone;
55 students

4.92

2.24

Yes

 
 
36

Researcher-developed fraction knowledge assessment (Fraction Battery, Number Line)

Super Solvers–Third Grade vs. Business as usual

2 Weeks

Super Solvers alone;
55 students

8.21

5.14

Yes

 
 
31

Researcher-developed fraction knowledge assessment (Fraction Battery, Number Line)

Super Solvers–Third Grade vs. Business as usual

2 Weeks

Super Solvers with growth-mindset instruction;
58 students

7.86

5.14

Yes

 
 
28

Researcher-developed fraction knowledge assessment (Fraction Battery, Word Problems)

Super Solvers–Third Grade vs. Business as usual

2 Weeks

Super Solvers with growth-mindset instruction;
58 students

9.09

4.76

Yes

 
 
27

Researcher-developed fraction knowledge assessment (Fraction Battery, Word Problems)

Super Solvers–Third Grade vs. Business as usual

2 Weeks

Super Solvers alone;
55 students

8.62

4.76

Yes

 
 
26

Researcher-developed fraction knowledge assessment (13 NAEP items on general fraction knowledge)

Super Solvers–Third Grade vs. Business as usual

2 Weeks

Super Solvers with growth-mindset instruction;
58 students

5.47

3.98

Yes

 
 
23

Researcher-developed fraction knowledge assessment (Fraction Battery, Single-Digit Multiplication)

Super Solvers–Third Grade vs. Business as usual

2 Weeks

Super Solvers with growth-mindset instruction;
58 students

14.10

10.76

Yes

 
 
21

Researcher-developed fraction knowledge assessment (13 NAEP items on general fraction knowledge)

Super Solvers–Third Grade vs. Other intervention

2 Weeks

Super Solvers alone compared to Super Solvers with growth-mindset instruction;
55 students

7.07

6.03

No

--

Researcher-developed fraction knowledge assessment (Fraction Battery, Single-Digit Multiplication)

Super Solvers–Third Grade vs. Business as usual

2 Weeks

Super Solvers alone;
55 students

13.24

10.76

No

--

Researcher-developed fraction knowledge assessment (Fraction Battery, Number Line)

Super Solvers–Third Grade vs. Other intervention

2 Weeks

Super Solvers alone compared to Super Solvers with growth-mindset instruction;
55 students

9.50

9.17

No

--

Researcher-developed fraction knowledge assessment (Fraction Battery, Addition and Subtraction)

Super Solvers–Third Grade vs. Other intervention

2 Weeks

Super Solvers alone compared to Super Solvers with growth-mindset instruction;
55 students

5.04

4.66

No

--

Researcher-developed fraction knowledge assessment (Fraction Battery, Word Problems)

Super Solvers–Third Grade vs. Other intervention

2 Weeks

Super Solvers alone compared to Super Solvers with growth-mindset instruction;
55 students

9.67

10.40

No

--

Researcher-developed fraction knowledge assessment (Fraction Battery, Ordering)

Super Solvers–Third Grade vs. Other intervention

2 Weeks

Super Solvers alone compared to Super Solvers with growth-mindset instruction;
55 students

4.73

5.38

No

--

Researcher-developed fraction knowledge assessment (Fraction Battery, Single-Digit Multiplication)

Super Solvers–Third Grade vs. Other intervention

2 Weeks

Super Solvers alone compared to Super Solvers with growth-mindset instruction;
55 students

17.19

18.86

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.


  • 25% English language learners

  • Female: 51%
    Male: 49%

  • Urban
  • Race
    Black
    56%
    Other or unknown
    36%
    White
    8%
  • Ethnicity
    Hispanic    
    30%

Setting

The study took place in 29 grade 3 classrooms in 8 elementary schools in one urban school district in the United States.

Study sample

The study included 84 grade 3 students who were identified as needing additional support in math based on a standardized screening. Of these 84 students, 49% were male, 25% were English language learners, 11% had a school-identified disability, and 55% were eligible for free or reduced-price lunch. Approximately 56% were Black, 8% were White, and 36% were an unspecified race; 30% were Hispanic or Latino.

Intervention Group

Super Solvers is a supplemental math program designed to support elementary students who need assistance solving fraction problems and focuses on fraction magnitude. Teachers can use the program with individuals or small groups; in this study the intervention was administered to pairs of students. Students used the program for 3 sessions per week, lasting 35 minutes each, over a 13-week period. Each session included up to five activities (referred to as Multi-Minute, Problem Quest, Fraction Action, Fraction Flash, and Power Practice). The program focused on fraction magnitude and word problems. Fraction magnitude involved comparing, ordering, and placing fractions on number lines. Word problems presented narrative text illustrating fractions in everyday context. Students were assigned to one of two intervention groups to either receive the Super Solvers program alone or to receive Super Solvers with added attention to self-regulated learning with growth-mindset instruction embedded in the lessons. Specifically, in the latter group, the lessons included a discussion of growth mindset with self-assessments and goal setting. The main findings in this review combine both groups. Students received Super Solvers in place of some usual math instruction or in place of other instructional time. The study authors reported that students in the Super Solvers intervention condition received a similar total amount of math instruction, including the time during which they received Super Solvers, as those in the comparison condition.

Comparison Group

Students in the comparison group received business-as-usual grade 3 mathematics instruction without a supplemental program. The study authors reported that students in the comparison condition received a similar total amount of math instruction as those in the Super Solvers intervention condition.

Support for implementation

Ten tutors who were research grant employees implemented the intervention. The tutors were provided training and feedback during weekly meetings.

In the case of multiple manuscripts that report on one study, the WWC selects one manuscript as the primary citation and lists other manuscripts that describe the study as additional sources.

  • Fuchs, Lynn S.; Wang, Amber Y.; Preacher, Kristopher J.; Malone, Amelia S.; Fuchs, Douglas; Pachmayr, Rachel. (2021). Addressing Challenging Mathematics Standards with At-Risk Learners: A Randomized Controlled Trial on the Effects of Fractions Intervention at Third Grade. Exceptional Children, v87 n2 p163-182.

Reviewed: November 2019

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

Fraction Battery-Revised Addition and Subtraction (Malone & Fuchs, 2017)

Super Solvers vs. Business as usual

1 Month

T1 (Fraction Magnitude + Word Problem Instruction) + T2 (Fraction Magnitude + Word Problem + Self-Regulation Instruction) vs. control contrast;
84 students

6.08

1.72

Yes

 
 
40
 
Rational Numbers Knowledge outcomes—Statistically significant positive effect found for the domain
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

13 released items from 1990-2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)

Super Solvers vs. Business as usual

1 Month

T1 (Fraction Magnitude + Word Problem Instruction) + T2 (Fraction Magnitude + Word Problem + Self-Regulation Instruction) vs. control contrast;
84 students

5.94

3.98

Yes

 
 
30
 
Rational Numbers Magnitude Understanding/Relative Magnitude Understanding outcomes—Statistically significant positive effect found for the domain
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

Fraction Battery-Revised Ordering (Malone & Fuchs, 2017)

Super Solvers vs. Business as usual

1 Month

T1 (Fraction Magnitude + Word Problem Instruction) + T2 (Fraction Magnitude + Word Problem + Self-Regulation Instruction) vs. control contrast;
84 students

5.18

2.24

Yes

 
 
36
 

Fraction Battery-Revised Number Line (Malone & Fuchs, 2017)

Super Solvers vs. Business as usual

1 Month

T1 (Fraction Magnitude + Word Problem Instruction) + T2 (Fraction Magnitude + Word Problem + Self-Regulation Instruction) vs. control contrast;
84 students

8.02

5.14

Yes

 
 
29
 
Rational Numbers Word Problems/Problem Solving outcomes—Statistically significant positive effect found for the domain
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

Fraction Battery-Revised Word Problems (Malone & Fuchs, 2017)

Super Solvers vs. Business as usual

1 Month

T1 (Fraction Magnitude + Word Problem Instruction) + T2 (Fraction Magnitude + Word Problem + Self-Regulation Instruction) vs. control contrast;
84 students

8.81

4.76

Yes

 
 
26
 
Whole Numbers Computation outcomes—Statistically significant positive effect found for the domain
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

Fraction Battery-Revised Single-Digit Multiplication (Malone & Fuchs, 2017)

Super Solvers vs. Business as usual

1 Month

T1 (Fraction Magnitude + Word Problem Instruction) + T2 (Fraction Magnitude + Word Problem + Self-Regulation Instruction) vs. control contrast;
84 students

14.24

10.76

Yes

 
 
22
 


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.


  • 25% English language learners

  • Female: 51%
    Male: 49%

  • Urban
  • Race
    Black
    56%
    Other or unknown
    36%
    White
    8%
  • Ethnicity
    Hispanic    
    30%
    Not Hispanic or Latino    
    70%

Setting

Students in the study attended one of 29 classrooms in 8 schools in a large, metropolitan school district. The authors do not reveal where the school district was located.

Study sample

The sample was 48.81% male. The racial and ethnic breakdown of the sample was 55.95% African American, 8.33% White, 29.76% Hispanic, and 5.95% other. 54.76% of the sample qualified for the Federal School Lunch Program. 10.71% of the sample had a school-identified learning disability. 25.00% of the sample were English Learner students.

Intervention Group

For this contrast, the intervention condition is the combined fraction magnitude + word problem (FM + WP) group and fraction magnitude + word problem + self-regulation group (FM+WP+SR) group. All students in this group received 13 weeks of 35-minute explicit instruction, delivered to pairs of students 3 times per week. All students received the fraction magnitude and word problem components. The fraction magnitude component involved comparing, ordering, placing fractions on number lines, and equivalencies. The word problem (WP) component involved schema-based instruction with a focus on comparing and change fraction word problems. Some of the intervention group also received self-regulation component. The self-regulation component involved students evaluating progress and creating plans to reach goals. After two weeks, students graphed their score, set a goal to beat their highest score, and created a plan for how to meet their goal. While the those in the FM+WP+SR group had self regulation activities, those in the FM+WP group completed an extra word problem. The intervention condition differed from the comparison condition in 4 ways: (1) the comparison group focused on FM, (2) the intervention emphasized comparing fractions to benchmark fractions and the meaning of the numerator and denominator to help students understand relative FM, (3) the range of fractions was restricted to a specific pool of denominators, and (4) word problem instruction focused on identifying them as specific types of word problems to represent the structure of the problem.

Comparison Group

Students in the comparison group received business as usual math instruction, 89-90 minutes per day, 5 days a week. Eight comparison group students also received the school's supplemental math intervention. The comparison condition differed from the intervention condition in 4 ways: (1) the control group focused on part-whole understanding, (2) teachers used number lines and pictures to help students understand relative FM, (3) the range of fractions was not restricted, and (4) word problem instruction focused on operational procedures and drawing pictures.

Support for implementation

Tutors were observed in-person as well as audio-taped to check for fidelity of implementation. They attended weekly meetings. During these meetings, training was provided for upcoming sessions, an opportunity was provided to engage in problem-solving about any issues they were having, and they received feedback.

 

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