Raising early achievement in math with interactive apps: a randomized control trial

Outhwaite, Laura A. and Faulder, Marc and Gulliford, Anthea and Pitchford, Nicola J. (2018) Raising early achievement in math with interactive apps: a randomized control trial. Journal of Educational Psychology . ISSN 1939-2176

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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.

Item Type: Article
RIS ID: https://nottingham-repository.worktribe.com/output/941710
Keywords: Math achievement; Improving classroom teaching; Interactive learning environments; Elementary education
Schools/Departments: University of Nottingham, UK > Faculty of Science > School of Psychology
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1037/edu0000286
Depositing User: Eprints, Support
Date Deposited: 08 Jun 2018 13:21
Last Modified: 04 May 2020 19:42
URI: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/52319

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