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ERIC Number: ED544204
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Aug
Pages: 9
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
WWC Review of the Report "Improving At-Risk Learners' Understanding of Fractions." What Works Clearinghouse Single Study Review
What Works Clearinghouse
The study examined the effects of "Fraction Challenge," a supplemental small-group tutoring math program that focuses on improving student understanding of fractions. Study authors randomly assigned fourth grade "at-risk" students in 53 classrooms in 13 schools to either an intervention group that received "Fraction Challenge" or to a comparison group that did not receive "Fraction Challenge." At-risk students were identified as students who scored below the 35th percentile on an assessment of whole-number calculations. Students in the intervention group received tutoring with "Fraction Challenge," an intervention that emphasizes understanding of fractions using a number line, in groups of three students. The small groups met for 30 minutes at a time, three times a week, for 12 weeks. Students in the comparison group continued with instruction using the "Houghton Mifflin Math" program, an approach that emphasizes part-whole understanding of fractions, which also was used in intervention classrooms during non-"Fraction Challenge" time. The study examined the effects of "Fraction Challenge" by comparing the performance of 129 students in the intervention group and 130 students in the comparison group on six assessments of knowledge and understanding of fractions that were administered within two weeks of the end of the intervention. In addition to the analysis that compared at-risk students in the intervention and comparison conditions, the authors also compared the at-risk students who received "Fraction Challenge" to a sample of "low-risk" students (defined as scoring higher than the 35th percentile on the assessment of whole-risk calculations). The study authors reported, and the What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) confirmed, that "Fraction Challenge," had statistically significant positive impacts on fraction knowledge. Students in the intervention group were better able to compare relative magnitudes of fractions, identify where fractions were on a number line from 0 to 1, use magnitude and part-whole representations of fractions, and perform addition and subtraction with fractions. The study is a well-implemented randomized controlled trial with low attrition. The author’s comparison of the performance of at-risk students receiving "Fraction Challenge" to the performance of low-risk students did not meet WWC evidence standards, because the groups were not equivalent at baseline. The following are appended: (1) Study details; (2) Outcome measures for the mathematics achievement domain; and (3) Study findings for the mathematics achievement domain. A glossary of terms is included. (Contains 2 endnotes.) [The following study is the focus of this "Single Study Review": Fuchs, L. S., Schumacher, R. F.; Long, J.; Namkung, J.; Hamlett, C. L., Cirino, P. T., Changas, P., Jordan, N. C.; Siegler, R., & Gersten, R. (in press). "Improving at-risk learners' understanding of fractions." "Journal of Educational Psychology."]
What Works Clearinghouse. P.O. Box 2393, Princeton, NJ 08543-2393. Tel: 866-503-6114; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Education; Grade 4
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: What Works Clearinghouse (ED)
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: National Assessment of Educational Progress; Wide Range Achievement Test
IES Funded: Yes