Skip Navigation

icon of glasses and a book Early Learning Programs and Policies

Grantees

- OR -

Investigator

- OR -

Goals

- OR -

FY Awards

- OR -

Closing the SES Related Gap in Young Children's Mathematical Knowledge

Year: 2008
Name of Institution:
WestEd
Goal: Efficacy and Replication
Principal Investigator:
Starkey, Prentice
Award Amount: $3,000,482
Award Period: 4 years
Award Number: R305A080697

Description:

Purpose: There is a national need for effective interventions to improve school readiness and subsequent achievement in mathematics for students from low-income families. A socioeconomic gap in mathematical knowledge is present in U.S. children by three years of age. This gap widens over the preschool years. Recent intervention research has found that early mathematics enrichment can significantly enhance low-income children's mathematical knowledge. However, providing a math intervention for 4-year-olds only does not entirely close the socioeconomic gap in early mathematical knowledge. In this project, the research team is evaluating the efficacy of a two-year preschool math intervention that begins when children are 3 years of age. In particular, the research team is comparing the effects of one versus two years of preschool math intervention.

Project Activities: The research team is randomly assigning 60 Head Start classrooms to one of three conditions: a two-year math intervention (for 3-year-olds), a one-year math intervention (for 4-year-olds only), and a business-as-usual control condition with no math intervention during the two years of preschool. Children will be followed until the end of kindergarten. The effects of the intervention on children's mathematical knowledge will be assessed using the Child Math Assessment (CMA) measure and the Early Mathematics Classroom Observation.

Products: Products from this project include published reports on the efficacy of a preschool mathematics curriculum when implemented for one year and when implemented for two consecutive years.

Structured Abstract

Purpose: In this project, the research team is evaluating the efficacy of children participating in one versus two years of a preschool math intervention, beginning when the children are either 3 or 4 years of age and continuing through the end of preschool.

Setting: The research will be conducted in Head Start programs in California, Kentucky, and Indiana.

Population: Participants include 600 3- and 4-year-old children in 60 Head Start classrooms. The majority of the children in these programs are European American.

Intervention: The previously developed Pre-K Mathematics curriculum for 4-year-olds includes seven units: Number Sense and Enumeration, Arithmetic Reasoning (less-advanced fall activities), Spatial Sense and Geometric Reasoning, Pattern Sense and Pattern Construction, Arithmetic Reasoning (more-advanced spring activities), Measurement and Data Representation, and Logical Relations. The curriculum includes 32 small-group math activities. The curriculum for 3-year-olds includes five units: Number and Arithmetic (fall activities), Space and Geometry, Number and Arithmetic (winter/spring activities), Patterns, and Measurement. Both curricula are designed to be sensitive to the developmental needs of young children. Less-challenging extensions of the small-group activities are provided for children who are not ready for a given activity, and more challenging extensions are included for children who complete an activity easily. In addition to the teacher-guided small-group activities, DLM Math Software is included in the classroom component of the math intervention for 4-year-olds to accommodate children's individual learning styles.

Research Design and Methods: The research team is randomly assigning 60 Head Start classrooms to one of three conditions: a two-year math intervention (for 3-year-olds), a one-year math intervention (for 4-year-olds only), and a business-as-usual control condition with no math intervention during the two years of preschool. Ten children are randomly selected from each classroom for study participation. Children will be followed longitudinally for three years until the end of kindergarten.

Control Condition: The business-as-usual Head Start control group receives no math intervention.

Key Measures: Children's mathematical knowledge will be assessed in fall and spring of each year using the Child Math Assessment (CMA) measure and the Early Mathematics Classroom Observation. Information regarding socioemotional and academic engagement, as well as fidelity of program implementation, will also be collected.

Data Analytic Strategy: The research team will use multilevel modeling and growth curve analysis to track changes in the trajectories of children's math knowledge and achievement from preschool entry year to kindergarten.

Related IES Projects: A Longitudinal Study of the Effects of a Pre-Kindergarten Mathematics Curriculum on Low-Income Children's Mathematical Knowledge (R305J020026), Scaling Up the Implementation of a Pre-Kindergarten Mathematics Curriculum in Public Preschool Programs (R305J020026) and A Randomized Study of the Efficacy of a Two-Year Mathematics Intervention for At-Risk Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten Students (R305A120262)