WWC review of this study

Effects of a pre-kindergarten mathematics intervention: A randomized experiment. [Pre-K Mathematics and DLM Express math software vs. business as usual (Creative Curriculum or HighScope)]

Klein, A., Starkey, P., Clements, D., Sarama, J., & Iyer, R. (2008). Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness, 1(3), 155–178. Retrieved from: https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ873866

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
     examining 
    278
     Students
    , grade
    PK

Reviewed: January 2022

At least one finding shows promising evidence of effectiveness
At least one statistically significant positive finding
Meets WWC standards without reservations
Language outcomes—Indeterminate effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

Test of Language Development: Grammatical Understanding Subtest

Pre-K Mathematics and DLM Express math software vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Full sample;
269 students

9.51

9.25

No

--
More Outcomes

Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test-III

Pre-K Mathematics and DLM Express math software vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Full sample;
296 students

94.99

93.92

No

--
Mathematics outcomes—Statistically significant positive effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

Child Math Assessment (CMA)

Pre-K Mathematics and DLM Express math software vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Full sample;
278 students

0.54

0.47

Yes

 
 
20
 
Reading & Literacy Related outcomes—Indeterminate effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

Woodcock-Johnson III (W-J III) Spelling subtest

Pre-K Mathematics and DLM Express math software vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Full sample;
297 students

95.39

91.55

No

--
More Outcomes

Woodcock-Johnson III Tests of Achievement (WJ-III) Letter-Word Identification Subtest

Pre-K Mathematics and DLM Express math software vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Full sample;
297 students

102.54

100.89

No

--

Test of Early Reading Ability - 3rd Edition (TERA-3)

Pre-K Mathematics and DLM Express math software vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Full sample;
270 students

90.62

89.88

No

--
Social-Emotional Learning outcomes—Indeterminate effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

Social Skills Rating System (Klein et al 2008)

Pre-K Mathematics and DLM Express math software vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Full sample;
297 students

110.81

108.65

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.


  • Female: 52%
    Male: 48%
    • B
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    California, New York
  • Race
    Asian
    4%
    Black
    53%
    Other or unknown
    21%
    White
    22%
  • Ethnicity
    Hispanic    
    22%
    Not Hispanic or Latino    
    78%

Setting

The study took place in 40 Head Start and state-funded preschool classrooms within 6 centers located in the San Francisco Bay Area in California and in the Buffalo, New York area. Of the four San Francisco centers, two were Head Start programs and two were state-funded preschool programs. Of the two Buffalo centers, one was a Head Start program and two were state-funded preschool programs. Ten Head Start classes and 10 state-funded preschool classrooms were included from each state. Classrooms implementing the intervention were not located in the same buildings as classrooms participating in the comparison group. Teachers implemented the intervention with small groups of students.

Study sample

The mean age of the student sample was 4.4 years with a range of 3.8-4.9 years at pretest. All included children qualified for kindergarten in the next year, were considered normally developing, and were from low-income families. The racial/ethnic composition of the analytic sample was 53% African American, 22% White, 22% Hispanic, 4% Asian American, and 4% interracial/other. Approximately 48% of the sample was female. The 40 teachers included in the study were 38% White, 33% African American, 13% Hispanic, 10% Asian American, and 5% interracial/other. Teachers had an average of 12.4 years of experience teaching preschool, and 73% of teachers had at least a bachelor's degree. Teachers at state-funded centers were more highly educated than teachers at the Head Start centers. For teachers at state-funded centers, the teachers in New York had higher average education levels than those in California.

Intervention Group

Pre-kindergarten mathematics intervention provides mathematical enrichment in children’s preschool and home learning environments. The intervention consisted of small-group classroom, home, and computer-based components related to mathematics. The curriculum included units on (a) Counting and Number, (b) Understanding Arithmetic Operations, (c) Spatial Sense and Geometry, (d) Patterns, (e) Measurement and Data, and (f) Logical Reasoning. Teachers introduced roughly one activity per week for small groups of students, ranging from 4 to 6 students. There were 29 small-group activities included in the intervention. Each activity was conducted twice in each week for 20 minutes each, for a total of 40 minutes per week. Across the 29 activities, there is a total dosage of 58 20-minute small-group activities over the course of the year. The small group activities included suggestions for scaffolding if children struggled with any part of the activity as well as extensions for students that completed the activity relatively easily. Teachers used Assessment Record Sheets to track the progress of each student on each activity. In addition, teachers sent home 18 activities accompanying the in-class activities once every 1-2 weeks. Home activities included manipulatives for parents to use with children, a brief narrative describing the activity and stating its purpose, and picture strips depicting how to conduct the activity. Finally, students completed computer-based activities at the centers using DLM Express, a software program offering 27 supplementary computer-based activities and a math learning center.

Comparison Group

The comparison condition received classes as usual, through Creative Curriculum, High Scope, Montessori, and locally developed curricula. The study team told teachers not to alter their classroom practices or curriculum during the study period.

Support for implementation

Intervention teachers participated in two 4-day training sessions for the Pre-K Mathematics units. The intervention teachers participated in two workshops plus on-site training twice per month in their classrooms for an average of 15 on-site training sessions per teacher. Teachers were also provided with feedback from observations of the implementation of small-group activities and the use of computer-based mathematics activities.

Reviewed: December 2013

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 effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

Child Math Assessment (CMA)

Pre-K Mathematics vs. business as usual

Posttest

Preschool children;
278 students

0.55

0.47

Yes

 
 
20
 


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.


  • Urban
    • B
    • A
    • C
    • D
    • E
    • F
    • G
    • I
    • H
    • J
    • K
    • L
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    • M
    • N
    • O
    • Q
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    • S
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    • W
    • X
    • Z
    • Y
    • a
    • h
    • i
    • b
    • d
    • e
    • f
    • c
    • g
    • j
    • k
    • l
    • m
    • n
    • o
    • p
    • q
    • r
    • s
    • t
    • u
    • x
    • w
    • y

    California, New York
  • Race
    Asian
    4%
    Black
    53%
    Other or unknown
    4%
    White
    22%
  • Ethnicity
    Hispanic    
    22%
    Not Hispanic or Latino    
    78%

Setting

The study took place in 40 Head Start and state-funded preschool classrooms in California and New York. The classrooms were from four programs in California and two programs in New York.

Study sample

Twenty Head Start and 20 state-funded preschool classrooms were randomly assigned within program type either to an intervention group receiving Pre-K Mathematics with DLM Early Childhood Express Math or to a business-as-usual comparison group. Teachers volunteered to participate in the study, which took place during the 2002–03 school year. Of the 40 participating in the study, 33 were included in the PCER Consortium (2008) study that is described in Appendix A.2. The study began with 316 children from low-income families, combined across states. During the study, 38 children left, resulting in an analysis sample of 278 children. The mean age of the children in cohort 1 was 4.4 years. Fifty-three percent of the children were African American, 22% were Hispanic, 22% were Caucasian, 4% were Asian American, and 4% were interracial or another ethnicity. Forty-eight percent of the children were female.

Intervention Group

Teachers implemented the Pre-K Mathematics curriculum classroom activities with small groups of four to six children in twice-a-week, 20-minute sessions for 29 weeks. Each week involved a new math activity. The small-group sessions included activities from the seven units of the curriculum: (a) counting and number, (b) understanding arithmetic operations (fall unit), (c) spatial sense and geometry, (d) patterns, (e) understanding arithmetic operations (spring unit), (f) measurement and data, and (g) logical reasoning. In addition, teachers supplemented the Pre-K Mathematics curriculum activities with two other instructional activities: (a) 27 computer activities based on the DLM Early Childhood Express Math software, and (b) mathematics learning centers, which included materials from the small-group activities and additional mathematics materials from the classroom. Home activity materials parallel to the classroom activities were sent home every 1 to 2 weeks for parents to use with their children. Teachers tracked children’s progress using a Math Mastery Form, and intervention fidelity data were collected using the Fidelity of Implementation Record Sheet developed by the first two authors of the study. In addition, teachers used a pre-existing general curriculum in their classrooms (curricula included The Creative Curriculum®, High/Scope, Montessori, or specialized literacy curricula and curricula developed by local teachers and school districts).

Comparison Group

Teachers in the comparison group classrooms implemented the curriculum as business-as-usual in their programs. The curricula used in the comparison group classrooms included The Creative Curriculum®, High/Scope, Montessori, or specialized literacy curricula and curricula developed by local teachers and school districts.

Outcome descriptions

The study measured intervention and comparison group children’s mathematical knowledge with the researcher-developed CMA. All the children in the study were assessed at pretest before implementation of the intervention began in intervention classrooms, and at posttest after intervention classrooms completed implementation of the program. For a more detailed description of the CMA, see Appendix B.

Support for implementation

Teachers participated in a 4-day workshop at the beginning of the school year that focused on implementing the first three units of the curriculum and another 4-day workshop at mid-year that focused on implementing units four through seven. In addition, teachers were provided on-site training approximately twice a month and implementation fidelity checks once or twice each month.

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.

  • Starkey, P., & Klein, A. (2005). A longitudinal study of the effects of a pre-kindergarten mathematics curriculum on low-income children's mathematical knowledge. Berkeley, CA: University of California.

Reviewed: November 2013

Meets WWC standards without reservations


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: 48%
    Male: 52%

  • Urban
  • Race
    Asian
    4%
    Black
    53%
    Other or unknown
    4%
    White
    22%
  • Ethnicity
    Hispanic    
    22%
    Not Hispanic or Latino    
    78%
 

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