WWC review of this study

Easy as ABCABC: Abstract Language Facilitates Performance on a Concrete Patterning Task [Labeling patterns with abstract labels vs. labeling patterns with concrete labels]

Fyfe, Emily R.; McNeil, Nicole M.; Rittle-Johnson, Bethany (2015). Child Development, v86 n3 p927-935. Retrieved from: https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ1060670

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
    , grade

Reviewed: April 2022

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

Solve Items (Rittle-Johnson et al., 2013)

Labeling patterns with abstract labels vs. Intervention

0 Days

Full sample;
62 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.

  • Female: 45%
    Male: 44%

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Children were recruited from six pre-kindergarten centers in the Nashville, Tennessee area. The pre-kindergarten centers predominantly serve White, middle-class populations.

Study sample

Of the 62 children in the study, 28 were female. Specific characteristics about the sample are not described.

Intervention Group

Children met with an experimenter for a single 20-minute session. The session entailed a pre-test item, three example items, and eight items in which children had to identify and produce a pattern based on an abstract (e.g., AAB, ABA) pattern. Pattern abstraction is recreating a model pattern using different materials. The results of the eight items comprise the outcome measure.

Comparison Group

The comparison condition was identical to the intervention condition except that the 20-minute session used a concrete (e.g., blue-blue-green, square-circle-square) pattern given. In this condition, patterns are described by the color or shape of the elements.

Support for implementation



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