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Raising Early Achievement in Math With Interactive Apps: A Randomized Control Trial

Outhwaite, LA; Faulder, M; Gulliford, A; Pitchford, NJ; (2018) Raising Early Achievement in Math With Interactive Apps: A Randomized Control Trial. Journal of Educational Psychology 10.1037/edu0000286. Green open access

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Abstract

Improving provision and raising achievement in early math for young children is of national importance. Child-centered apps offer an opportunity to develop strong foundations in learning math as they deliver one-to-one instruction. Reported here is the first pupil-level randomized control trial in the United Kingdom of interactive math apps designed for early years education, with 389 children aged 4-5 years. The original and rigorous research design disentangled the impact of the math apps as a form of quality math instruction from additional exposure to math. It was predicted that using the apps would increase math achievement when implemented by teachers in addition to standard math activities (treatment) or instead of a regular small group-based math activity (time-equivalent treatment) compared with standard math practice only (control). After a 12-week intervention period, results showed significantly greater math learning gains for both forms of app implementation compared with standard math practice. The math apps supported targeted basic facts and concepts and generalized to higher-level math reasoning and problem solving skills. There were no significant differences between the 2 forms of math app implementation, suggesting the math apps can be implemented in a well-balanced curriculum. Features of the interactive apps, which are grounded in instructional psychology and combine aspects of direct instruction with play, may account for the observed learning gains. These novel results suggest that structured, content-rich, interactive apps can provide a vehicle for efficiently delivering high-quality math instruction for all pupils in a classroom context and can effectively raise achievement in early math.

Type: Article
Title: Raising Early Achievement in Math With Interactive Apps: A Randomized Control Trial
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1037/edu0000286
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1037/edu0000286
Language: English
Additional information: This article has been published under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Copyright for this article is retained by the author(s). Author(s) grant(s) the American Psychological Association the exclusive right to publish the article and identify itself as the original publisher.
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10058087
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