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Fractions Intervention for 5th Grade Students

Project Title: Teaching Struggling Fifth Graders Fractions Concepts, Procedures, and Problem-Solving: A Rigorous Efficacy Trial of a Fractions Intervention


Purpose: The purpose of this efficacy study is to evaluate the impact of a small-group intervention in fractions for fifth graders who are at risk for mathematics failure. The intervention program focuses on systematically building foundational mathematical skills and understandings while also incorporating opportunities for problem solving. The study focuses on improving fractions performance of students, which has been a national priority for some time. Because understanding fractions is paramount for success in algebra and higher-level mathematics, the study focuses on increasing students’ fraction understanding in upper elementary school as they move toward more advanced mathematics concepts. The funding for study comes from the National Science Foundation (grant # 1535214). The principal investigator for this study is Russell Gersten; the co-Principal Investigators are Karen Karp, Madhavi Jayanthi, and Joseph Dimino.


Design: The study is a randomized control trial (RCT) in which 200 students will be randomly assigned to either fractions intervention or business-as-usual control conditions. Students will be tutored in small groups comprised of four to six students. The tutoring will take place during the school day and will supplement core classroom mathematics instruction. Students will receive the intervention for 30-35 minutes, three times a week (total of 50 lessons). Students in the control condition will receive core classroom mathematics instruction as well as any intervention or support provided to students by classroom teachers or school interventionists.


Timeline: The study will be conducted over two school years: 2015-16 (pilot year) and 2016-17 (RCT).


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