Overview

This project developed, implemented, and evaluated the effectiveness of a mathematics intervention for students in grades 3 and 4 who were identified as being at risk (Tier II) for mathematics difficulties that could affect long-term success in mathematics. As an additional component of validating the lessons, mathematics specialists, education service center representatives, and classroom educators and interventionists throughout Texas reviewed the lessons. Intended outcomes included the validation of intervention lessons with progress-monitoring tools and the development of clearer definitions and characteristics of Tier II students in grades 3 and 4.

Outcomes

All intervention students were administered a pretest and posttest within each module. For all modules, growth was seen in both grades 3 and 4.

Project Design

Procedures

The Elementary Students in Texas: Algebra Ready (ESTAR) intervention consists of eight modules that can be used with students in grades 3 through 5. For this project, MCPER interventionists implemented systematic, explicit instruction 4 to 5 days per week with small groups of students (three to six students). Each interventionist had extensive training in the modules and previous experience in small-group tutoring and/or as a classroom educator. In addition to this pullout tutoring, a group of educators volunteered to implement and provide feedback on the lessons.

Each module consists of 20 lessons that focus on a specific skill in the area of numbers and operations and that integrate this skill within application-style word problems. Instructional components within each module include lesson previews or objectives, engagement of prior knowledge, modeled practice, guided practice, and independent practice. The intervention builds conceptual and procedural knowledge by using different representations (concrete, pictorial, and abstract), peer discussions, and extensive questioning.

The modules were designed for grades 3 and 4, but due to feedback from teachers, the grade levels have been removed. Both educators and reviewers felt the lessons could and should be used across a range of grade levels to meet the needs of struggling students.

Texas educators can download all intervention materials (lessons, student activity sheets, and mats) for free through Project Share, a community-orientated learning management system run by the Texas Education Agency.

The intervention includes the following modules:

  • Place Value Concepts

  • Addition and Subtraction of Whole Numbers

  • Multiplication and Division of Whole Numbers

  • Fraction Models

  • Multiplication and Division Fact Strategies

  • Multiplication and Division of Whole Numbers

  • Building, Comparing, and Ordering Fractions

  • Fraction and Decimal Relationships

Participants

A total of 290 students in grade 3 and 301 students in grade 4 were given the AIMSWeb Mathematics Computation measure. Students who scored below the 34th percentile were randomly assigned to intervention (two-thirds) or control (one-third). In grade 3, 51 students were assigned to Tier II intervention and 26 students were assigned to comparison. In grade 4, 42 students were assigned to Tier II intervention and 26 students were assigned to comparison.

Contact Information

Diane Bryant
Principal Investigator
dpbryant@austin.utexas.edu

Principal Investigators

  • Brian R. Bryant
  • Diane Bryant

Additional Investigators

  • Kathleen Hughes Pfannenstiel

Non-MCPER Additional Investigators

  • David Chard
  • Karen Karp

Funding Agency

Timeline

  • This project was completed during the 2011–2012 school year.

Sites

  • Five elementary schools in Austin Independent School District and 10 other elementary schools that volunteered to review the lessons, teach small groups of students, and provide feedback