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ERIC Number: ED566981
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2016
A Randomized Control Trial Evaluating the Effectiveness of Computer Assisted Instruction in Numeracy on Math Outcomes for Monolingual English Speaking Kindergartners from Title 1 Schools
Foster, M. E.; Anthony, J. L.; Clements, D. H.; Sarama, J.; Williams, J. M.
Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness
Children from low-income and ethnic minority backgrounds have demonstrated substantially lower levels of math achievement than their middle class majority peers for decades. The present study addressed two research questions: (1) when used as a supplement to typical classroom instruction and in isolation from the larger curriculum, does Building Blocks Software lead to improvements in math achievement as measured by proximal and distal measures of mathematics?; and (2) are the impacts of supplemental use of Building Blocks Software specific to math achievement? Nine Title 1 schools drawn from a large urban school district in Texas that primarily served students from low-income and ethnic minority backgrounds participated in this study. Forty kindergarten classrooms, all with full-day programming, participated. The sample consisted of 243 monolingual English speaking children (52% female). Most of these children represented ethnic minorities: 63% were African American, 30% Hispanic/Latino, 4% mixed ethnicity, 2% Caucasian, and 1% other. At the study's onset, the sample's scores on norm-referenced standardized tests of verbal ability (M = 84; SD = 14) and nonverbal ability (M = 77, SD = 11) were low average and below average, respectively, indicating risk for poor academic outcomes. Participants were randomized to receive computer assisted instruction with "Building Blocks Software" or "Earobics Step 1", a literacy software program. Randomized control trial; participants were randomized with equal probability from within classroom to one of the two experimental conditions. Children's numeracy skills were assessed with the "Research Based Early Math Assessment," a measure proximal to the Building Blocks Software at the beginning (i.e., pretest) and at the end (i.e., posttest) of children's kindergarten year. At posttest, the Applied Problems subtest from the "Woodcock-Johnson III Tests of Achievement," a distal measure of broad math achievement, was administered. To examine treatment specificity, vocabulary was assessed with the "Expressive One Word Picture Vocabulary Test" at pretest and posttest. Significant benefits for posttest math scores, but not vocabulary scores, were seen for children in the "Building Blocks Software" condition. For numeracy scores at posttest, there was a main effect for group, F(1, 178) = 8.08, p < 0.01, after accounting for numeracy scores from pretest and classroom nesting. The "Building Blocks Software" group outperformed the comparison group, with a difference in least squared means of 1.85 raw score units. This study demonstrated that a relatively low intensity, supplemental implementation of "Building Blocks Software" throughout most of children's kindergarten school year led to reliable improvements in math achievement.
Descriptors: Randomized Controlled Trials, Computer Assisted Instruction, Numeracy, Mathematics Instruction, Kindergarten, At Risk Students, Monolingualism, Educational Technology, Urban Schools, Low Income Groups, Minority Group Students, Teaching Methods, Pretests Posttests, Comparative Analysis, Scores, Achievement Tests, Mathematics Achievement, Program Effectiveness, Statistical Analysis
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Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Kindergarten; Primary Education; Early Childhood Education
Authoring Institution: Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness (SREE)
Identifiers - Location: Texas
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Expressive One Word Picture Vocabulary Test; Woodcock Johnson Tests of Achievement