Study Design

The objective of this project is to measure the effect of a suite of interactive, adaptive, computer-based perceptual learning modules on 6th-grade mathematics achievement. Towards that end, we will ask teachers who teach multiple sections of 6th grade mathematics to teach their classes in two different ways:

1) According to their “business as usual” normal instructional practice (i.e., “control” condition), and

2) By implementing a series of perceptual learning modules in lieu of their normal instruction (i.e., “intervention” condition).

Teachers’ classes will be randomly assigned to either the control or intervention condition. A team of mathematics curriculum and learning specialists will analyze district curricula and work with school liaisons to substitute the modules for related activities in the normal curriculum. Thus, all students will receive equal math instruction time regardless of which condition their class is assigned to. In intervention classrooms, teachers will implement four modules, each over a span of several weeks where they best fit the flow of the ongoing curriculum.

We will measure student learning via state math tests administered at the end of 6th grade as well as four 20-minute tests administered at the conclusion of each module. A delayed posttest will be administered to students one year later to examine the durability of their learning gains.

We are also interested in teachers’ experiences in implementing the modules. Thus, teachers will be asked to complete a 30-minute survey directly after each module. We may also ask a small number of teachers to participate in an observational sub-study by allowing us to observe two of their lessons per year and conducting an interview to elicit information about the teacher’s perspective on the use of the modules.

In total, the study will include 30 teachers, representing 60 classes per year, for two successive years, resulting in approximately 1,500 students in each condition of the study.