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Mathematics / Elementary

Key Findings

Overall, 87 studies met the inclusion criterion, of which 36 used random assignment to treatments. These included 13 studies of mathematics curricula (2 randomized), 38 studies of CAI (15 randomized), and 36 studies of instructional process programs (20 randomized).

  • Mathematics Curricula (MC). The review found limited evidence that it matters which textbook is used, at least for student outcomes on standardized tests. Studies of curricula supported by the National Science Foundation, such as Everyday Mathematics and Math Trailblazers, found small differences in math achievement in comparison to control groups. Similarly, Saxon Math and traditional math texts had little evidence of effectiveness. Median effect size across 13 studies: +0.10.

  • Computer-Assisted Instruction (CAI). Most studies of CAI find positive achievement outcomes. However, the outcomes are very mixed, and the highest-quality studies find few positive effects. Also, most qualifying studies evaluated programs that are no longer available; there are few studies of current versions of CAI. Median effect size across 38 studies: +0.19.

  • Instructional Process Strategies (IP). The highest-quality studies and strongest positive effects were found for instructional process programs such as cooperative learning, classroom management and motivation programs, and small-group tutoring programs. Median effect size across 36 studies: +0.33.
     
   

   
 
 
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