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Center for Improving Learning of Fractions

Project Title: Improving Understanding of Fractions Among Students With Mathematical Learning Disabilities, Center for Improving Learning of Fractions (CILF)


Purpose: Funded by the Institute of Education Sciences and administered at the University of Delaware, the Center for Improving Learning of Fractions (CILF) is a research and development center aimed at understanding difficulties students have with fractions ( The Center focuses on applying empirical findings from cognitive science research to develop effective interventions to improve math instruction for elementary and middle school children with mathematics difficulties (MD). IRG is one of the CILF partners and is tasked with dissemination and leadership activities.


Center Activities and Projects conducted by IRG


1. Dissemination and Leadership Activities


IRG staff will manage dissemination and leadership activities on an ongoing basis. As one of four Principle Investigators, Gersten will direct the national leadership activities for the project. Along with other PIs Jordan, Siegler, and Fuchs, he will work on building connections between the Center's work on fractions and key policy makers and practitioners in mathematics and mathematics difficulties.


 2. Development of Test for Understanding of Fractions.


IRG staff will work on developing a fourth grade fractions measure to assess student understanding of basic foundational fractions concepts. Items will be chosen from a large test bank developed by the Center through its various research activities.


Timeline: The Center will operate from 2010 to 2016.


Update (December 2015):


  1. Presentations at conferences include two 4-lecture strands at CEC (2014 & 2015) for which Gersten was discussant; three different collaborative presentations given at NCTM (2014-2015) with other researchers and mathematics educators; and a presentation on the intervention focus of CILF within a panel titled Improving Early Math Outcomes for Students with Disabilities through Intensive Intervention, for which Gersten served as discussant, at SREE. Additionally, IRG has arranged three internal meetings with invited attendees that focused on measurement, cognition, and early career researchers in the mathematics field.

  2. As the timeframe for the center comes to a close, Gersten, along with IRG staff, is co-editing a special issue of the Journal of Learning Disabilities focused on the findings of the three research teams that comprise the CILF.

  3. The TUF measure development has been completed. IRG staff has conducted psychometric analysis to establish IRT reliabilities and research mathematicians have validated the test items.



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