Reference Resources iconReview Protocols

This What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) review focuses on mathematics interventions for elementary school students in kindergarten through grade 5 designed to impact student achievement, including curriculum-based interventions, instructional techniques, and products designed to deliver content and monitor student progress. Systematic reviews of evidence in this topic area address the following questions:

• Which interventions are effective in increasing the learning of mathematics content and skills among elementary school students?

• Are some interventions more effective for certain types of students, particularly students who are at risk of failure in mathematics?

In this review, a mathematics intervention is defined as a replicable, materials-based instructional program that is delivered to elementary school students, clearly delineates mathematics learning goals for students, and is designed to directly affect student mathematics achievement.

Outcomes that fall in the mathematics achievement domain are those related to mathematics content and skills, commonly described as what students should know and be able to do. Mathematics content varies somewhat across curricula and grade levels, but generally includes: numbers, arithmetic, pre-algebra, geometry, measurement, graphing, and logical reasoning. Mathematics skills are the application of the learning of this content, as well as an understanding of mathematical concepts, procedures, and problem solving.


Math Topic Area Organization.
In June 2015, the WWC restructured our reviews of research on math interventions into two areas instead of three. These two review areas are Primary Mathematics (which includes interventions in which math is presented through multi-topic materials and curricula, typically used in grades K–8), and Secondary Mathematics (which includes interventions that are organized by math content area (e.g., Algebra, Geometry, and Calculus), typically taught in grades 9–12). These two areas replace the prior Elementary School Math, Middle School Math, and High School Math areas, which were organized by student grade level.

Table of Contents

  • Overview
  • Eligibility Criteria and Evidence Standards
  • Literature Search Methodology

Protocol Details

  • Version: 2.0
  • Released: March 2012

What is a Protocol?

A review protocol defines the scope of a systematic review. Developed with substantive experts, the protocol defines the parameters for the review, including the research, populations, settings, and outcomes. The protocol also specifies details of the literature search and any topic-specific applications of the design standards.

Protocol versions reflect the version of WWC standards in effect when the protocol was released. Protocol versions that predate the current version of the WWC standards handbook can be used to identify acceptable outcome domains for review within a given topic. The current WWC standards are used to guide the review of studies with acceptable outcomes.

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