WWC review of this study

Effects of a pre-kindergarten mathematics intervention: A randomized experiment.

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
At least one statistically significant positive finding
Meets WWC standards without reservations

Reviewed: December 2013

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

Child Math Assessment (CMA)

Pre-K Mathematics vs. business as usual

Posttest

Preschool children;
278 students

0.55

0.47

Yes

 
 
20

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.

  • Race
    Asian
    4%
    Black
    53%
    Not specified
    4%
    White
    22%
  • Ethnicity
    Hispanic
    22%
    Not Hispanic
    78%

  • Urban
    • B
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    California, New York

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.

Meets WWC standards without reservations

Reviewed: November 2013

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.


  • Female: 48%
    Male: 52%
  • Race
    Asian
    4%
    Black
    53%
    Not specified
    4%
    White
    22%
  • Ethnicity
    Hispanic
    22%
    Not Hispanic
    78%

  • Urban
 

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