WWC review of this study

Evaluating the efficacy of a learning trajectory for early shape composition [Learning trajectories-based instruction vs. instruction at children’s target level without scaffolding]

Clements, D. H., Sarama, J., Baroody, A. J., Joswick, C., & Wolfe, C. B. (2019). American Educational Research Journal, 56(6), 2509–2530. Retrieved from: https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ1234710

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
     examining 
    145
     Students
    , grade
    PK

Reviewed: May 2022

At least one finding shows promising evidence of effectiveness
At least one statistically significant positive finding
Meets WWC standards without reservations
Mathematics outcomes—Statistically significant positive effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

Research Based Early Mathematics Assessment (REMA short form)

Learning Trajectory (LT) based instruction vs. Other intervention

0 Days

Full sample;
145 students

15.38

12.62

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.


  • Female: 43%
    Male: 57%
  • Race
    Asian
    7%
    Black
    14%
    Other or unknown
    18%
    Pacific Islander
    3%
    White
    58%
  • Ethnicity
    Hispanic    
    12%

Setting

The study took place in a large public school district that serves a racially and ethnically diverse student population.

Study sample

Children were on average 4.62 years old. Roughly 57% of children were male. Fifty-eight percent of children were Caucasian, 14% African American, 7% Asian, 3% Indian/Pacific Islander, and 18% other/not reported. Twelve percent of children were Hispanic.

Intervention Group

Children in the intervention condition received instruction on shape composition based on learning trajectories (LT). LTs are a sequence of lessons on a subject that progress in “levels” based on students’ understanding (in this case, children’s mental actions-on-objects for shape composition). The authors of this study developed an elaborated, scripted instructional unit on shape composition that incorporated a variety of puzzles. The children were offered puzzles and scaffolding for the level directly following the level at which they showed competency.

Comparison Group

The comparison condition was called the Skip-Level group. These students were also offered a variety of puzzles. Teachers presumably used direct instruction on the target level, without using an LT progression or scaffolding.

Support for implementation

Interventionists were trained to deliver the activities to the groups of students and administer the measures.

 

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