WWC review of this study

Narrowing the early mathematics gap: A play-based intervention to promote low-income preschoolers’ number skills [Numerical magnitude comparison vs. numerical matching card game]

Scalise, N. R., Daubert, E. N., & Ramani, G. B. (2018). Journal of Numerical Cognition.

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
     examining 
    46
     Students
    , grade
    PK

Reviewed: February 2022

No statistically significant positive
findings
Meets WWC standards without reservations
Mathematics outcomes—Indeterminate effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

Non-symbolic ordinality

Numerical magnitude comparison vs. (Not applicable)

0 Days

Full sample;
46 students

0.75

0.61

No

--
More Outcomes

Non-symbolic magnitude comparison

Numerical magnitude comparison vs. (Not applicable)

0 Days

Full sample;
46 students

0.72

0.66

No

--

Symbolic magnitude comparison

Numerical magnitude comparison vs. (Not applicable)

0 Days

Full sample;
46 students

0.90

0.83

No

--

Rote Counting

Numerical magnitude comparison vs. (Not applicable)

0 Days

Full sample;
46 students

1.00

0.98

No

--

Numeral Identification

Numerical magnitude comparison vs. (Not applicable)

0 Days

Full sample;
46 students

0.90

0.91

No

--


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: 48%
    Male: 52%
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    Northeast, South
  • Race
    Asian
    7%
    Black
    35%
    Other or unknown
    4%
    White
    54%
  • Ethnicity
    Hispanic    
    54%
    Not Hispanic or Latino    
    46%

Setting

The participants were low-income preschool children from four Head Start centers in a mid-Atlantic state.

Study sample

The low-income preschoolers had a mean age of 4 years, 9 months. Of the sample, 48% were female. Race/ethnicity demographics are: 54% Caucasian, 35% African American, 7% Asian, 4% Multiracial, and 54% Hispanic/Latino.

Intervention Group

Low-income participants met individually with an experimenter in a quiet area of the hallway or room nearby their classroom for 6 sessions, each 15-20 minutes occurring over a 3-week period on average. During Sessions 1 and 6, the children completed 5 pretest and posttest assessments of their numerical knowledge, including multiple measures assessing non-symbolic and symbolic representations. Following Session 1, children were randomly assigned and stratified by gender to either the intervention condition that played a numerical magnitude comparison card game condition (War) or to the comparison condition that used a numerical matching card game condition (Memory) during Sessions 2-5. The War card game used 40 cards which included 4 subsets of cards representing quantities 1 through 10. Each card had both Arabic numerals and red dots representing the quantity. Students played the game with an experimenter. The cards were divided equally between the experimenter and the student to start. To play, each person turned over his/her top card, said the number on the card, and then the child was asked to say which number was greater. If a child struggled to identify the number the experimenter had the child count the dots. If the student was ever wrong the experimenter corrected the number. The player with the greater magnitude card took the card and whoever had the most cards at the end of the game won. Each session consisted of 15 minutes and as many rounds as could be played during that time were played.

Comparison Group

The same deck of cards used for the intervention was used in the Memory card game comparison condition. These cards were organized into two sets of 10 cards each. Each set of 10 contained 5 pairs of matching number cards. For each game, the 10 cards were placed face down in 2 rows of 5 columns. Each player took turns flipping over 2 cards and saying the number on each card, trying to find cards with the same number. If a child struggled the experimenter encouraged them to count the dots and if the child ever said the incorrect number the experimenter corrected them. Sessions lasted a total of 15 minutes and as many rounds as could be played in that time were played.

Support for implementation

No support for implementation was described.

 

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