Effectiveness of Touch Math for Teaching Addition to Kindergarten Students California State University, Long Beach Vanessa Velasco, M.A. Kristin Powers, Ph.D., NCSP Acknowledgments Bradly Snyder Bridgette Molina Gerianne Alaghehband Lydia Velasco Norma Salazar Tamara Cornette Lindsay Tartre, Ph. D. Shuhua An, Ph.D. The Kindergarten class who participated Introduction The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (2000) claims that fluency, accuracy, and automaticity with math facts are precursors to learning more advanced math. Current teaching practices include: drill and practice techniques, memorization, manipulatives, and worksheets Teachers incorporate supplemental material into lesson plans to reach a diverse group of students What is Touch Math? A multi-sensory, supplemental curriculum that attempts to bridge the gap between manipulation and memorization of math facts (Bullock, 2000; Grattino, 2004) Follows the sequential learning strategies endorsed by Bruner, Piaget, and Vygotsky in their developmental theories Students point to, touch, and count dots representing the quantity of a number Statement of the Problem Presently there is limited research on the effectiveness of Touch Math and none on general education setting with kindergarten students There is even less information available from studies that included treatment and comparison groups through an experimental design Purpose of the Study Question: Is Touch Math an effective supplemental math program for teaching addition to kindergarten students? Hypothesis: Kindergarten students in the Touch Math group will demonstrate larger gains on the math-post test than students in the comparison and control groups. Why is This Study Important There is little research available The effects of teaching Touch Math to kindergarten students is unknown Very few comparison studies have been conducted, and none have employed experimental designs What Does the Literature Say? A growing awareness in early childhood mathematics has expanded the knowledge base about learning, teaching, and research-based curriculum and instruction (NAEYC & NCTM, 2000). High-quality, challenging, and accessible mathematics education for 3-6 year old children is a vital foundation for future mathematics learning Literature continued The developmental theorists suggest that children transition from the concrete to the pictorial stages of development and end at the symbolic stage, which is a later stage where memorization and higher levels of cognition are developed. The emphasis on evidence-based interventions in No Child Left Behind and Individuals with Disabilities Improvement Acts warrants a more careful analysis of the effects of Touch Math on student outcomes. Literature continued Supplemental instruction is part of a larger concept known as Response to Intervention (RTI), which is a proactive approach to providing students with specialized instruction prior to failing in an academic area (Murawski & Hughes, 2009) Touch Math is a supplemental program that could be used at all levels of instruction Quasi-Experimental Studies A study conducted by Dev, Doyle, and Valente (n.d.) included eleven participants who were referred by their teachers for evaluation during their kindergarten year. Taught TM in 1st grade and reviewed as necessary in 2nd grade. Pre- post-test results indicated that 75% of students scored higher than grade level in math Quasi-Experimental Studies Dulgarian (n.d.) employed a quasi-experimental group design with twenty 4th and 5th grade students in special education at a Title I school for 45 minutes, 3 days a week, for 10 weeks Group I instructed in TM Group II instructed in Math Steps TM group scored 68% correct on pre-test and 82% correct on post-test Math Steps group scored 71% correct and 78% correct on the pre- and post-tests, respectively Single Subject Studies A study by Wisniewski and Smith (2002): 4 students in 3rd and 4th grade special education Received instruction in mathematics for 45 minutes daily (20 minutes were dedicated to TM) for 14 weeks. Student 1: Pre-test 85% in 5 minutes. Post-test 100% in 5 minutes Student 2: Pre-test 98% in10 minutes. Post-test 95% in 4 minutes Student 3: Pre-test 100% in7 minutes. Post-test 100% in 4 minutes Student 4: Pre-test 23% in 8 minutes . Post-test 93% in 4 minutes Single Subject Studies A very brief Touch Math intervention was conducted by Rudolph (2008) with her third grade students at a suburban school in North Carolina After one week of instruction for 30 minutes daily, all students (N = 17) except for one improved in the number of problems completed correctly. Satisfaction Surveys The developers of Touch Math, Innovative Learning Concepts, Inc., conducted a survey (Grattino, 2004) to understand how educators use Touch Math, how it has helped them in their classrooms, and to gain a better understanding of the impact Touch Math has had on teachers and students. Approximately 99.8% of respondents indicated that Touch Math was an effective supplemental math program. Methodology Subjects 26 Kindergarteners from a low-income parochial school in Santa Ana, CA. 58% female, 42% male 54% 5 years old, 42% 6 years old 92% Hispanic 27% English Language Learner 69% Bilingual Chi square analyses found no significant difference between the four groups in terms of gender, race, disability status or bilingual language skills. Methodology Instruments Used (Pre-Post Test Measures) DIBELS Phoneme Segmentation Fluency (PSF) probe (Good & Kaminski, 2001) Curriculum Based Measure-Addition (CBM-A) worksheet (20 single digit addition problems using numbers 0 – 6) Assessment Integrity Checks PSF Assessment Integrity: 42% of the PSF administrations were observed and 97% of behaviors on the PSF integrity worksheet were observed. The most common mistake was that directions were not read verbatim. Math Assessment Integrity: 20% of the worksheets were scored twice, the inter-rater agreement was 100%. Intervention Integrity Checks 20% of the intervention sessions were observed. The interventionists were observed leading each of the 3 groups. A 10 item intervention plan implementation checklist was developed. Touch Math: 98% accurate Phonemic Awareness Math group: 98% accurate California Math group: 85% accurate (one interventionist replaced after first week) Most common mistake was not consistently providing positive reinforcement. Methodology Procedure Students randomly assigned to 4 groups Three interventionists rotated to a new group every two weeks (all volunteers) Pre-tests administered to all students (counter- balanced) 45 minutes of daily instruction for a total 18 days. Post-tests administered to all students Extended math post-test administered to all students six weeks later (math Time 2). Results The data from the pre- and post-test were analyzed by Analysis of Covariance (ANCOVA) with the pre-test serving as the covariate. Follow-up pairwise t-tests were conducted on significant ANCOVA results. Results Math Post-Test 1: The means were not statistically different. F (3, 22) = 2.94, p = .33 CA Math: 17.00 TM: 13.17 PA: 6.20 Control: 8.43 PSF Post-Test: The means were statistically different. F (3, 25) = 15.60, p < .001; Pairwise post test indicate PA group performed significantly better than the other groups. CA Math: 17.17 TM:8.50 PA: 39.50** Control: 9.00 Results Math Extended Post-Test 3: Most means were statistically different. F (3, 25) = 9.68, p < .05 CA Math: 19.79* TM: 20.00* PA: 10.58 Control: 8.96 Pairwise follow-up comparisons found both math groups to significantly outperform PA (p<.05) and Control (p<.01) groups. Effect Sizes (Cohen’s d) Post PSF MathTime 1 Math Time 2 TM v. CA Math -.532 -.435 .045 TM v. PA -3.56 .699 1.74 TM v. Control -.057 .667 1.78 CA Math v. PA -1.47 1.57 1.51 CA Math v. Control .535 1.65 1.60 PA v. Control 4.68 -.108 .220 Conclusion Both math programs improved students’ mastery of single digit addition 6 weeks after the intervention. Neither was more effective than the other. It is important to compare similar academic interventions Small group instruction in phonemic awareness produced the largest effects. May be a result of stronger connection between curriculum and assessment. Conclusion Limitations: Small sample size Study took place in a parochial school, results may not generalize to public school settings Student Behavior Training and experience of volunteer interventionists Length and duration of interventions Teacher advised students to use their fingers on 1st post-test Conclusion Implications: Although students learn new techniques they may require further instruction on when to use the newly acquired skills (generalization) Touch Math is a systematic, sequenced, and structured program that shows promise for teaching a diverse group of students how to add.
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