WWC review of this study

Evaluation of the Computer and Team Assisted Mathematical Acceleration (CATAMA) Lab for Urban, High-Poverty, High Minority Middle Grade Students. Final Report to the Institute of Education Sciences

Balfanz, Robert; Ruby, Allen; Mac Iver, Doug. (2008). Grantee Submission. Retrieved from: https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED588795

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
    , grades

Reviewed: February 2023

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

TerraNova Comprehensive Test of Basic Skills (5th Edition, Form A) - Math

Computer and Team Assisted Mathematical Acceleration (CATAMA) Lab vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Full sample;
985 students




Show Supplemental Findings

TerraNova Comprehensive Test of Basic Skills (5th Edition, Form A) - Math

Computer and Team Assisted Mathematical Acceleration (CATAMA) Lab vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Grade: 9;
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: 55%
    Male: 45%

  • Rural, Urban
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    Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Texas
  • Race
    Other or unknown
  • Ethnicity
    Not Hispanic or Latino    
  • Eligible for Free and Reduced Price Lunch
    Other or unknown    


The study took place in six public schools in urban and rural settings: three middle schools and one high school in Pennsylvania, one middle school in Minnesota and one middle school in Texas. The intervention took place in a class that met 5 days per week for 45 minutes per day.

Study sample

The researchers randomly assigned 1,090 students across all participating schools: 619 to the intervention group and 471 to the comparison group. A total of 985 students were included in study in grades 5 through 9. Approximately 55% of the students were female. Thirty percent were Black, 6% were Asian, 5% were White, and 59% did not report race. Forty-four percent were Hispanic or Latino. Students were eligible for the study if they scored between the 25th and 65th percentile on districts’ standardized math assessment in the year before the study.

Intervention Group

Students assigned to Computer and Team Assisted Mathematical Acceleration (CATAMA) Lab intervention attended a class using this program 5 days per week, 45 minutes per day, for a full semester or trimester (13–18 weeks). CATAMA is an elective course for students needing additional assistance in math while they continue taking their regular math class. Each class session included whole class instruction, individual and peer-assisted computer instruction and practice, and individual and small group tutoring. Class instruction primarily covered pre-algebra topics and was determined by the instructor based on students' remedial math needs and upcoming topics of instruction in their regular math classes.

Comparison Group

Students in the comparison condition took an elective course such as music or art and did not attend the CATAMA Lab course.

Support for implementation

Each CATAMA Lab instructor was an experienced math teacher selected by the school. Instructors received an initial day of professional development taught by a university-based Lab facilitator. During the school year, the Lab facilitator visited the Lab once per week to help the instructor become familiar with the computer software, pair students appropriately, and either model or provide feedback on instruction.


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