Council for Exceptional Children, Volume 78, #1, Fall 2011, “Early Numeracy Intervention Program for 1st Grade Students with Mathematics Difficulties”, pages 7-23, Bryant/Bryant/Roberts/Vaughn/Pfannenstiel/Porterfield/Gersten.
The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of an early numeracy preventive intervention on the mathematics performance of 1st grade students with math difficulties.
Systematic instruction, visual representation of math concepts, purposeful & meaningful practice opportunities, & frequent progress monitoring were used. Researchers used progress-monitoring measures & a standardized assessment measure to test the effects of the intervention. Findings showed that students in the treatment group outperformed students in the comparison group (focusing on whole number computation). RTI includes universal screening, validated interventions, & ongoing monitoring. Early intervention is critical! Some students received small group tutoring 3xs/week for 16 weeks (40 minutes per session), including computer assisted instruction. A multi-tiered approach is necessary! This included sufficient time for students to learn early numeracy concepts & operations (special education students were not included in this research). Features of the intervention included modeling, guided practice, & independent practice. Students were rewarded with stickers & small items (pencils & erasers).
Systematic instruction & opportunities to practice are critical for successful student learning.
Automatic retrieval of arithmetic combinations has been identified as a hallmark of math difficulties! Fluency development was incorporated into daily practice. By the end of 1st grade 45% of the treatment students were no longer at risk for math difficulties!
Note: The success of Tier 2 intervention depends on increased instructional time.