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Eric.ed.gov – The Effects of “Math Pathways and Pitfalls” on Students’ Mathematics Achievement: National Science Foundation Final Report

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This study was designed to assess the impact of “Mathematics Pathways and Pitfalls” (“MPP”) on the mathematics that second-, fourth-, and sixth-grade students learn. The specific research questions that were addressed are: (a) What is the impact of “MPP” on students’ knowledge of the mathematics topics addressed, compared to that of students using the regular math curriculum? and (b) How equitable is the impact of “MPP” on students’ mathematics knowledge across levels of English language proficiency and entering mathematics ability? A cluster-randomized experimental design was implemented in five school districts. In the first year of the study, second-, fourth-, and sixth-grade teachers were randomly assigned within their school districts to either an experimental or a control group. The experimental group teachers were taught how to implement “MPP” during a six-hour professional development session. In the first year of the study, experimental group teachers substituted “MPP” for a portion of their regular mathematics curriculum. The control group teachers used their regular mathematics curriculum, and received whatever professional development they normally were provided during that year. A total of 99 teachers and 1,971 students participated in the first year of the study. The “MPP” Pitfalls Quiz was the primary instrument used to measure students’ mathematical knowledge. A separate “MPP” Pitfalls Quiz was developed for each grade level. Items on the “MPP” Pitfalls Quizzes assess concepts and procedures that are known to cause difficulty for students. In addition to the “MPP” Pitfalls Quizzes, standardized mathematics achievement test score data were collected. Multilevel statistical models were used to analyze the achievement test data. These analyses showed that student math performance in “MPP” classes was higher than in non-“MPP” classes for all three grade levels. With respect to the impact of “MPP” on students’ mathematics knowledge across levels of English language proficiency, we found that for second and fourth grades, “MPP” impacted ELL and non-ELL students equally. The effect size statistics (ESS) for second and fourth grade were 0.43 and 0.66, respectively. For sixth grade, “MPP” had a greater treatment effect for ELL students (ESS = 0.74) than non-ELL students (ESS = 0.28). Teachers expressed strongly positive opinions about the value of the program, including that their students understood the math topics in the lessons better than students in past years, and that “MPP” helped most of their students learn the math concepts and prevent pitfalls. (Contains 29 tables.) [“Mathematics Pathways and Pitfalls” materials presented in this document were developed by the Mathematics Case Methods Project/WestEd.]

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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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