# The effectiveness of instructional

# practices for first-grade math

July 22, 2015

A
new study by Pennsylvania State University researchers examines which
types of instructional practices are most effective with first-grade
math students—both with and without

They
analyzed survey responses from roughly 3,600 teachers and data from
over thirteen thousand kindergarten children in the class of 1998–99.
The database is known as the**mathematical difficulties (MD)**.**Early Childhood Longitudinal Study (ECLS).**The authors then controlled for students’ prior math and reading achievement, family income, classroom and school contexts, and other factors. (

**MD was defined as falling in the bottom 15 percent of the score distribution on the ECLS-K Math test.**)

The
key findings: In first-grade classrooms with higher percentages of MD
students, teachers were more likely to use practices not associated with
greater math achievement by these students.

Yet
**These non-effective practices included using manipulatives, calculators, movement, and music to learn math.**It should be noted that these practices were also ineffective for students without math difficulties.**more frequent use of teacher-directed instructional practices was consistently associated with gains in math achievement for first graders with MD. More specifically, the most effective instructional practice teachers could use with these struggling students was routine practice and drills**(that’s right, drill and kill!). Similarly,

**lots of chalkboard instruction, traditional textbook practice problems, and worksheets that went over math skills and concepts were also effective with them.**

Source material:

Paul L. Morgan, George Farkas, and Steve Maczuga,

"Which Instructional Practices Most Help First-Grade Students With and Without Mathematics Difficulties?,"

Paul L. Morgan, George Farkas, and Steve Maczuga,

"Which Instructional Practices Most Help First-Grade Students With and Without Mathematics Difficulties?,"

*Education Evaluation and Policy Analysis*vol. 37 no. 2 (June 2015).**First-grade teachers in the United States may need to increase their use of teacher-directed instruction if they are to raise the mathematics achievement of students with MD.**
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Study: Teachers More Likely to Use Ineffective Instruction When Teaching Students with Mathematics DifficultiesPost a Comment