WWC review of this study

Causal connections between mathematical language and mathematical knowledge: A dialogic reading intervention. [Mathematical language storybook intervention vs. business as usual (Creative Curriculum)]

Purpura, D. J., Napoli, A. R., Wehrspann, E. A., & Gold, Z. S. (2017). Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness, 10(1), 116–137. Retrieved from: https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ1125420

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
     examining 
    39
     Students
    , grade
    PK

Reviewed: January 2022

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

Expressive One-Word Picture Vocabulary Test--Fourth Edition (EOWPVT)

Mathematical language storybook intervention vs. Business as usual

2 Weeks

Full sample;
39 students

50.66

52.26

No

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

Mathematical language subtest

Mathematical language storybook intervention vs. Business as usual

2 Weeks

Full sample;
39 students

12.25

10.85

Yes

 
 
16
 
More Outcomes

Preschool Early Numeracy Skills Screener - Brief Version (PENS-B)

Mathematical language storybook intervention vs. Business as usual

2 Weeks

Full sample;
39 students

10.70

8.92

Yes

 
 
12
 


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.


  • 36% English language learners

  • Female: 44%
    Male: 56%
  • Race
    Black
    13%
    Other or unknown
    56%
    White
    31%
  • Ethnicity
    Hispanic    
    31%
    Not Hispanic or Latino    
    69%

Setting

Study participants included children from 10 classrooms located in four Head Start centers.

Study sample

Children who completed the study (the analytic sample) ranged in age from 3.33 to 5.24 years old (M=4.67, SD=0.41). A little over half of the participants were male. In terms of race, 30.8% of participants were Caucasian, 12.8% were African American, and 56.4% were from an other or unspecified racial group. In terms of ethnicity, 30.8% of participants were Hispanic. The median parental education was a high school diploma

Intervention Group

The storybook reading intervention used in this study was modeled after dialogic reading. The focus of the intervention was on terms, concepts, and pictures that involved mathematical language. Six books were used during the eight-week intervention; three books emphasized quantitative language and three emphasized spatial language. An important aspect of the intervention is that it was designed to include only mathematical language terms and not mathematical knowledge content. Interventionists read with children using specific strategies and prompts. The prompts for each book continually became more complex and interventionists asked these questions at the same points in each book. The children in the intervention condition met with an interventionist in a small group for a 15-20 minute session, two to three days per week, for eight weeks. The authors attempted to randomly assign children to the small groups for each session, but this was infeasible for some children. Out of a total of ten small groups, six groups always included the same children while children were randomly assigned to the other four groups for each session. One small group took place outside of the classroom setting, while the other nine groups were held in corners, nooks, or reading areas of the participants' classrooms. Most children participated in 13 to 18 sessions (M=14.5, SD=3.7). One child did not participate in any sessions, but was included in all analyses. Three graduate students implemented the intervention after completing training in dialogic reading and feedback strategies that reinforce mathematical language without reinforcing numeracy and counting. Fidelity of implementation was assessed by randomly selecting 33% of each interventionist's sessions and evaluating whether they used each of the prespecified questions and whether they used any exact numbers or counting words/processes. The three interventionists maintained high levels of fidelity (90%).

Comparison Group

Children in the comparison condition participated in business-as-usual classroom activities. All participating Head Start centers used the Creative Curriculum as their standard curriculum.

Support for implementation

Interventionists were provided with training in dialogic reading using a manual developed by the research team as well as training videos created by experts in the field of dialogic reading. Interventionists were also trained on strategies for providing feedback. Prior to the beginning of the study, interventionists practiced reading and using specific prompts with children not enrolled in the study and they received feedback from the principal investigator.

 

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