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Eric.ed.gov – Evaluating Math Recovery: Assessing the Causal Impact of Math Recovery on Student Achievement

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The authors’ goal was to evaluate the potential of Math Recovery (MR), a pullout, one-to-one tutoring program that has been designed to increase mathematics achievement among low-performing first graders, thereby closing the school-entry achievement gap and enabling participants to achieve at the level of their higher-performing peers in the regular mathematics classroom. Specifically, the research questions were as follows: (1) Does participation in MR raise the mathematics achievement of low performing first-grade students?; (2) If so, do participating students maintain the gains made in first grade through the end of second grade? The two-year evaluation of Math Recovery was conducted in 20 elementary schools (five urban, ten suburban and five rural), representing five districts in two states. Students were selected for participation at the start of first grade based on their performance on MR’s screening interview and follow-up assessment interview. The authors recruited 18 teachers to receive training and participate as MR tutors from the participating districts–all of whom had at least two years of classroom teaching experience. The findings of this study have theoretical, practical, and policy significance. Practically, the positive causal effect of MR tutoring demonstrates that programs that are diagnostic rather than scripted in nature can overcome fidelity concerns and have an impact on student early mathematics performance. Theoretically, the findings indicate that investing in tutors’ knowledge of student reasoning and pedagogical content knowledge can pay off in terms of improvement in student’s mathematical learning, particularly if tutors use carefully designed tools such as the MR Learning and Instructional Frameworks that codify and schematize this knowledge. With regard to policy, the authors’ finding that the MR program can reduce some of the pre-K mathematics achievement gap provides an initial indication that the cost of the program per student might be justified, although further work is needed to understand why initial gains made by participants appear to diminish after tutoring ends. It is possible that the forms of arithmetic reasoning that MR develops needs to be further supported in the regular classroom to see the full benefit of this form of tutoring. Longitudinal studies that track MR students and their initially higher performing peers until the end of elementary school are needed to address this question adequately.

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Troels Gannerup Christensen

Jeg er ansat som adjunkt hos Læreruddannelsen i Jelling, hvor jeg underviser i matematik, specialiseringsmodulet teknologiforståelse, praktik m.m. Jeg har tidligere været ansat som pædagogisk konsulent i matematik og tysk hos UCL ved Center for Undervisningsmidler (CFU) i Vejle og lærer i udskolingen (7.-9. klasse) på Lyshøjskolen i Kolding. Jeg er ejer af og driver bl.a. hjemmesiderne www.lærklokken.dk og www.iundervisning.dk, ggbkursus.dk og er tidligere fagredaktør på matematik på emu.dk. Jeg går ind for, at læring skal være let tilgængelig og i størst mulig omfang gratis at benytte.

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