WWC review of this study

The Influence of Mathematics Vocabulary Instruction Embedded within Addition Tutoring for First-Grade Students with Mathematics Difficulty [Addition tutoring (with or without embedded vocabulary component) vs. control]

Powell, Sarah R.; Driver, Melissa K. (2015). Learning Disability Quarterly, v38 n4 p221-233. Retrieved from: https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ1075501

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
    , grade

Reviewed: July 2019

At least one statistically significant positive finding
Meets WWC standards without reservations
Whole Numbers Computation outcomes—Substantively important positive effect found for the domain
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
Significant? Improvement

Addition Fluency

Targeted Math Intervention vs. Business as usual

3 Days

Aggregated sample;
98 students




Show Supplemental Findings

Addition Fluency

Targeted Math Intervention vs. Business as usual

3 Days

addition tutoring without language/vocab component vs. comparison;
63 students





Addition Fluency

Targeted Math Intervention vs. Business as usual

3 Days

addition tutoring with language/vocab component vs. comparison;
63 students





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.

  • 14% English language learners

  • Female: 49%
    Male: 51%
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    Northeast, South
  • Race
    Other or unknown
  • Ethnicity
    Not Hispanic or Latino    


The study took place in first-grade classrooms in the mid-Atlantic region.

Study sample

Of the 98 students in the analytic sample, approximately 49 percent were female, 15 percent had a school-identified disability, and 10 percent were learning English as a second language. The racial and ethnic background of students was 20 percent black, 52 percent white, 12 percent Hispanic, 3 percent other, and 12 percent unknown. During the 2012 through 2013 school year, the average percentage of students receiving reduced and/or free lunch across the 18 schools was 43.7%. (p. 224)

Intervention Group

The two addition tutoring intervention conditions—with and without the math vocabulary component—were the same with the exception of the embedded math vocabulary component. Specifically, students in both addition tutoring conditions received tutoring sessions up to 3 times per week for 10 to 15 minutes each session from the first week of March to the last week of April (15 tutoring sessions total). Sessions were led by trained tutors presumably in small groups by condition. Three activities occurred in both tutoring conditions: flash cards, tutor-led lesson, and paper-and-pencil review. There were two key differences between the two tutoring conditions. The students in the tutoring condition with the math vocabulary component participated in a mathematics vocabulary introduction or review at the start of each session, and the tutor emphasized vocabulary terms during the tutor-led lesson. (pp. 225, 226)

Comparison Group

Students in the business-as-usual comparison condition received no addition tutoring.

Support for implementation

Hired tutors participated in a two-hour training to familiarize themselves with and practice the two addition tutoring interventions. Each tutoring session had a lesson guide to ensure that the tutors covered lesson materials in a similar manner. Tutors also met with the project coordinator at the end of the second and fourth weeks of tutoring to discuss implementation and resolve any issues related to student behavior. (p. 225)


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