The study includes 38 Grade 3 students with MD from 21 classrooms.
The authors only describe the demographic characteristics of the entire sample of 120, which includes students assigned to all four conditions and students with and without math difficulties. The racial and ethnic composition of the sample was as follows: 52.5% Anglo, 14.2% Hispanic, 6.7% African American, 6.7% Asian, and 20% mixed race/ethnicity or other. 45.8% of the sample was female. Specific information about the SES of participants was not provided in the article. Based on information about students eligibility for free or reduced price lunch, parent education and parent occupation, the authors concluded that the sample was primarily of low to middle SES.
The intervention was delivered in small groups of 2-4 students during 30 minute lessons three times per week for 8 weeks. Every lesson followed the same format, with four phases: warm-up, instruction, guided practice, and independent practice. During warm-up, which lasted 3-5 minutes, children solved calculation problems and solved puzzles. During instruction, which lasted 5 minutes, the tutor instructed children to mark the different parts of the word problems in specific ways. They underlined the question sentence, circled any sentences with numbers in them, put squares around key words, and crossed out any irrelevant information. The tutor then directed the student to determine which operation (i.e., addition and/or subtraction) was needed and then solve the problem. Next, instruction was provided on constructing two types of diagrams: those that are used to represent parts and the whole and those that were used to compare quantities. A question mark was used as a placeholder for the missing number in the diagrams. After completing the diagram, students were instructed to solve the problem. During the guided practice phase, which lasted 10 minutes, children worked on three practice problems. During this time, tutors provided feedback to students on how they were applying the steps and strategies learned during the instruction phase. During the independent practice phase, which lasted 10 minutes, children worked on three more problems without feedback from the tutor.
The comparison condition was business-as-usual classroom instruction using the enVisionMATH Learning Curriculum (Pearson Publishers, 2009).
Support for implementation
The 6 tutors delivered scripted lessons. Each tutor was randomly observed 6 times and evaluated on all parts of the lesson for treatment fidelity.