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ERIC Number: ED539694
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Jan
Pages: 20
Abstractor: ERIC
What Works in Teaching Math? Educator's Guide
Slavin, Robert E.; Lake, Cynthia; Groff, Cynthia
Center for Research and Reform in Education
This guide summarizes "Effective Programs in Elementary Mathematics: A Best-Evidence Synthesis" and "Effective Programs in Middle and High School Mathematics: A Best-Evidence Synthesis," two research reviews conducted by Johns Hopkins University's Center for Research and Reform in Education. The purpose of the reviews was to evaluate the achievement outcomes of alternative approaches to teaching math in elementary, middle, and high school. In both reviews, mathematics programs were grouped into the following three categories: (1) Mathematics Curricula; (2) Computer-Assisted Instruction; and (3) Instructional Process Programs. Study inclusion criteria for the two reviews included the use of randomized or well-matched control groups, study duration of at least 12 weeks, and the use of valid measures independent of treatments. A total of 189 studies met these criteria. The key findings of the reviews were as follows: (1) Programs designed to change daily teaching practices--particularly through the use of cooperative learning, classroom management, and motivation programs--have larger impacts on student achievement than programs that emphasize textbooks or technology alone; and (2) The most successful math programs encourage student interaction. There are a number of important conclusions to be taken from this research. There is no evidence that different curricula give different outcomes in terms of achievement. Clearly this has important implications for the policy behind teaching math. There is also limited evidence that technology is effective, although more research on newer programs would help to improve knowledge. However, there is strong evidence that using effective teaching strategies can make a real difference. Changing the way that children work together, and classroom management and motivation, can improve mathematics outcomes for all students. It is clear that more high-quality studies are needed on the effectiveness of the curricula, textbooks, computer programs, and teaching strategies being used in schools today. Also, it is important to note that the three types of approaches to mathematics instruction reviewed do not conflict with each other and may have additive effects if used together. A glossary is included.
Center for Research and Reform in Education. Available from: School of Education Johns Hopkins University. 200 West Towsontown Boulevard, Baltimore, MD 21204. Tel: 410-616-2407; Fax: 410-324-4444; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Guides - Non-Classroom; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Education; Elementary Secondary Education; High Schools; Middle Schools
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: Institute of Education Sciences (ED)
Authoring Institution: Center for Data-Driven Reform in Education (CDDRE)