WWC review of this study

Scaling up the implementation of a pre-kindergarten mathematics intervention in public preschool programs (Final Report: IES Grant R305K050004)

Starkey, P., & Klein, A. (2012). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education.

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
     examining 
    669
     Students
    , grade
    PK

Reviewed: September 2018

At least one finding shows moderate evidence of effectiveness
At least one statistically significant positive finding
Meets WWC standards with reservations
Alphabetics outcomes—Indeterminate effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

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

Pre-K Mathematics vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Full sample;
669 students

340.63

339.52

No

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

Test of Early Mathematics Ability (TEMA-3)

Pre-K Mathematics vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Full sample;
669 students

14.86

12.49

Yes

 
 
14
 


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.


  • 13% English language learners

  • Female: 52%
    Male: 48%

  • Rural, Suburban, Urban
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    California, Indiana, Kentucky
  • Race
    Asian
    3%
    Black
    17%
    Other or unknown
    9%
    White
    52%
  • Ethnicity
    Hispanic    
    18%
    Not Hispanic or Latino    
    82%

Setting

The setting for this study was public pre-K classrooms, located in either the Sacramento metro area of CA or in rural KY and IN counties near Louisville. Participating preschools included both Head Start and state-funded preschool programs. Some preschools were single-classroom sites, while other centers had multiple preschool classrooms.

Study sample

"Of the 387 students selected from the intervention condition, 51.7% were female. The average age was 4.43 years old, and 93.5% spoke English fluently. Of the 357 students selected from the comparison condition, 56.3% were female. The average age was 4.45 years old, and 86.8% spoke English fluently. All students in the sample were in their pre-K year of preschool, becoming eligible for Kindergarten in the year after intervention. The ethnic composition of the entire sample of students selected for the study was 52.3% Caucasian, 18.0% Hispanic/Latino, 17.3% African American, 3.0% Asian American, and 9.4% multi-racial or other."

Intervention Group

The intervention included a published mathematics curriculum. The curriculum, Pearson's Pre-K Mathematics, included activities for both the classroom and at home, in addition to computer software and materials for a math learning center. Classroom activities occurred primarily in small groups, with students scheduled to complete 52 activities lasting 15-20 minutes each over the course of the school year. At-home activities included a kit with instructions to parents and were sent every 1-2 weeks over the course of the school year. Additionally, students were encouraged to use the math learning center during free time and were required to complete a computer activity at least once per week.

Comparison Group

Students in the comparison condition received business-as-usual education, with no formal mathematics curriculum in use in comparison classrooms.

Support for implementation

Implementation supports for the intervention included professional development for teachers and tools to complement the curriculum. Professional development began in the school year prior to curriculum implementation. External trainers provided training to internal facilitators, who were preschool school or district professionals. Throughout the implementation school year, internal facilitators met bi-weekly with each teacher. Each teacher was also required to participate in 9 days of workshops taught by both the internal facilitators and external trainers, where teachers would learn about the classroom activities they would use in the curriculum. Other tools to complement the curriculum were also provided, focusing on formative assessment and tracking the progress of each student.

 

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