WWC review of this study

Pre-K Mathematics supplemented with DLM Early Childhood Express Math software: University of California, Berkeley and University at Buffalo, State University of New York. In Effects of preschool curriculum programs on school readiness (pp. 131–142)

Preschool Curriculum Evaluation Research (PCER) Consortium (2008). Washington, DC: National Center for Education Research, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education.

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
     examining 
    297
     Students
    , grade
    PK
At least one statistically significant positive finding
Meets WWC standards with reservations

Reviewed: December 2013

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

Building Blocks Shape Composition Task

Pre-K Mathematics vs. Business as usual

Posttest

Preschool children;
297 students

N/A

N/A

Yes

 
 
32
More Outcomes

Child Math Assessment-Abbreviated (CMA-A) Composite

Pre-K Mathematics vs. Business as usual

Posttest

Preschool children;
297 students

N/A

N/A

No

 
 
14

Woodcock-Johnson III (WJ-III): Applied Problems subtest

Pre-K Mathematics vs. Business as usual

Posttest

Preschool children;
296 students

N/A

N/A

No

--
Oral language outcomes—Indeterminate effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
index

Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test III (PPVT-III)

Pre-K Mathematics vs. Business as usual

Posttest

Preschool children;
296 students

N/A

N/A

No

--
More Outcomes

Test of Language Development - Primary III (TOLD-PIII): Grammatic Understanding subtest

Pre-K Mathematics vs. Business as usual

Posttest

Preschool children;
269 students

N/A

N/A

No

--
Phonological processing outcomes—Indeterminate effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
index

Preschool Comprehensive Test of Phonological and Print Processing (Pre-CTOPPP): Elision subtest

Pre-K Mathematics vs. Business as usual

Posttest

Preschool children;
270 students

9.67

9.24

No

--
Print knowledge outcomes—Indeterminate effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
index

Woodcock-Johnson III (WJ-III): Spelling subtest

Pre-K Mathematics vs. Business as usual

Posttest

Preschool children;
297 students

N/A

N/A

No

--
More Outcomes

Woodcock-Johnson III (WJ-III): Letter-Word Identification subtest

Pre-K Mathematics vs. Business as usual

Posttest

Preschool children;
297 students

N/A

N/A

No

--

Test of Early Reading Ability III (TERA-III)

Pre-K Mathematics vs. Business as usual

Posttest

Preschool children;
270 students

N/A

N/A

No

--

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.


  • Female: 52%
    Male: 48%
  • Race
    Black
    45%
    White
    18%
  • Ethnicity
    Hispanic
    23%
    Not Hispanic
    77%
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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

The study, conducted during the 2003–04 and 2004–05 school years, included an intervention group implementing Pre-K Mathematics with DLM Early Childhood Express Math software and a comparison group. In the 2002–03 school year (the study’s pilot year), teachers who volunteered to participate in the study were blocked by program type and randomly assigned to either an intervention group or a comparison group except for two pairs of classrooms, where randomization was conducted within the pair. In the study’s evaluation year (2003–04), 33 of the 40 teachers were retained, and seven teachers were added using processes that were not consistent with the original random assignment design. In one site, three replacement classrooms were randomly selected, but the probability of selection to the intervention group was 66%, higher than the original 50% probability at the start of the study. In the other site, three teachers were nonrandomly placed into classrooms that were originally randomly assigned to intervention or comparison groups, and another teacher was randomly selected from among volunteers to fill an open teaching position in a study classroom. This resulted in a sample of 40 teachers (20 intervention, 20 comparison) in the 2003–04 school year. Thus, for most of the classrooms, the intervention condition had been in place for a full year when the evaluation year started. After parental consent was obtained, the sample included 316 children at baseline; 297 children were included in the analytic sample (148 intervention, 149 comparison). Baseline equivalence between the analytic sample of intervention and comparison children was established based on baseline outcome measures data provided by the study authors. At baseline, children in the study classrooms averaged 4.3 years of age; 48% were male; 45% were African American, 23% were Hispanic, and 18% were Caucasian. Ten percent of the children were identified as having a disability.

Intervention Group

Teachers conducted mathematics activities from Pre-K Mathematics twice a week with groups of four to six children for approximately 20 minutes per group. During each classroom session, teachers completed Assessment Record Sheets that were tied to the mathematics activity in that session. Twenty-nine classroom activities were completed, and teachers sent 19 home activities and materials for children to complete at home. Materials for home mathematics activities were sent home every 1 to 2 weeks. Pre-K Mathematics was supplemented with the DLM Early Childhood Express Math software, which included 26 numerical, quantitative, geometric, and spatial activities. The software program provided individualized mathematics instructional activities approximately twice a week. The intervention took place over 36 weeks. 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

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

Outcome descriptions

The outcome domains of oral language, print knowledge, phonological processing, and math were assessed with standardized measures. Oral language was assessed with the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test, Third Edition (PPVT-III) and the Grammatic Understanding subtest of the TOLD-P:3. Print knowledge was assessed with the TERA-III and the WJ-III Letter-Word Identification and Spelling subtests. Phonological processing was assessed with the Pre- CTOPPP Elision subtest. Math was assessed with the WJ-III Applied Problems subtest, the CMA-A, and the Building Blocks Shape Composition test. The pretest assessment was conducted in the fall of the 2003–04 school year, and the posttest assessment in the spring of the same school year, when the children in the sample attended preschool. Trained research staff administered all assessments. For a more detailed description of these outcome measures, see Appendix B.

Support for implementation

During the 2002–03 school year (the evaluation year), intervention teachers participated in a 4-day training workshop. Ongoing on-site training was provided approximately twice per month. Prior to the 2003–04 school year, teachers in the intervention group received a 2-day refresher workshop. Project staff observed and rated implementation fidelity of the small group sessions once or twice a month and provided feedback to teachers.

 

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