The study took place in two, large, urban school districts, one in Houston, Texas and the other in Nashville, Tennessee. Participants were drawn from 63 classrooms across 18 schools: 7 schools and 23 classrooms in Houston and 11 schools and 40 classrooms in Nashville.
Students in the Math Flash intervention condition had the following characteristics: mean age of 9.0 years, 52% female, 82% eligible for subsidized lunch, 18% classified as special education, 30% had been retained a grade, 14% classified as English learners, 61% African American, 11% Caucasian, 25% Hispanic, and 3% other.
Students in the control condition had the following characteristics: mean age of 8.86 years, 34% female, 77% eligible for subsidized lunch, 17% classified as special education, 23% had been retained a grade, 15% classified as English learners, 70% African American, 9% Caucasian, 19% Hispanic, and 2% other.
The Number Combination tutoring, Math Flash, was the intervention. It was provided for 16 weeks, 3 sessions per week and included 48 lessons. Each lesson lasts for 20-30 minutes. Math Flash addresses the 200 number combinations with addends and subtrahends from 0-9. Number combinations are introduced in a deliberate order and continued distributed and cumulative review occurs of number combinations already addressed. Manipulatives and the number line are used. Students are taught strategies for solving number combinations. They can either know it, or use a counting up strategy. Five activities are included in the lesson: flash card warm up, conceptual and strategic instruction, lesson-specific flash card practice, computerized practice, and paper-pencil cumulative review. A motivation component is included.
Students in the comparison condition participated in business-as-usual math instruction. In Nashville, teachers followed the Houghton Mifflin Math curriculum (Greenes et al., 2005). In Houston, teacher selected their own math curriculum but were guided by Houston's Horizontal Alignment Planning Guide.
Support for implementation
Tutors are provided scripts to be studied before tutoring, not read aloud to students during tutoring. Tutors were trained in a one-day session of instruction which included practicing implementation. Tutors then practiced alone, with a partner, and then provided tutoring to their supervisor before implementation. Ongoing meetings occurred every 2-3 weeks throughout the intervention period to address problems as they arise and to update any tutoring procedures.