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Mathematics / Middle and High School

Key Findings

Overall, 102 studies met the inclusion criterion, of which 28 used random assignment to treatments. These included 40 studies of mathematics curricula, 40 studies of CAI, and 22 studies of instructional process programs.

Mathematics Curricula (MC). Taken together, there were 40 qualifying studies evaluating various mathematics curricula, with a sample size-weighted mean effect size of only +0.03. This is less than the effect size of +0.10 for elementary mathematics curricula reported by Slavin & Lake (2008). There were eight randomized and randomized quasi-experimental studies, also with a weighted mean effect size of +0.03. Effect sizes for the NSF-supported textbooks had a weighted mean effect size of 0.00 in 26 studies. However, the NSF programs add objectives not covered in traditional texts, so to the degree those objectives are seen as valuable, these programs are adding impacts not registered on the assessments of content covered in all treatments.

Computer-Assisted Instruction (CAI). A total of 40 qualifying studies evaluated various forms of computer-assisted instruction. Overall, the weighted mean effect size was +0.08. No program stood out as having notably large and replicated effects. There were few differences among programs categorized as core (weighted mean ES=+0.09 in 17 studies) and supplemental (weighted mean ES=+0.08 in 20 studies). Computer-managed learning systems (ES=-0.02 in 3 studies) had lower effect sizes.

Instructional Process Strategies (IP). As was true in the Slavin & Lake (2008) review of elementary math programs, the middle and high school approaches with the strongest evidence of effectiveness are instructional process programs. Across 22 qualifying studies, the median effect size was +0.18. However, outcomes varied considerably by type of approach. Two forms of cooperative learning, STAD (now disseminated as PowerTeaching) and IMPROVE, had a weighted mean effect size of +0.46 across 7 studies, and 4 of these, with a weighted mean effect size of +0.48, used random assignment to conditions. The findings for these cooperative learning programs are in line with those of the elementary review, which found a median effect size of +0.29 for cooperative learning (Slavin & Lake, 2008).



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