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MATH
Programs that work
another. We also found that the outcomes particularly strong. In cooperative learning About the author
were stronger for computations than for students work in pairs or small groups to Robert Slavin is director of the Institute
concepts or problem solving. This is not help each other. This strategy increases for Effective Education at the University
surprising, as CAI particularly helps children learning if the groups have a common of York and the Center for Research and
with their computation skills. goal that they can only achieve if all group Reform in Education at the Johns Hopkins
In middle/high schools, technology is members do well on independent learning. University. He is also Chairman of the
used in three ways in the teaching of math: In other words, students have to teach each Success for All Foundation, a restructuring

Supplemental programs, used to fi ll gaps other, because their own success depends program that helps schools to identify and
in children’s knowledge; on it. implement strategies to meet the needs of

Core programs, where the computer In elementary schools, programs that all learners.
largely replaces the teacher; and focused on classroom management and

Computer-managed learning systems that motivation also had strong evidence of
What we know
use a computer to assess students and effectiveness.
provide teachers with feedback for use in

No evidence that different curricula
lessons. Conclusions
give different outcomes.
In the 40 qualifying studies that looked at There are a number of important conclusions

Limited evidence that ordinary CAI
these various programs, there was little to be taken from our reviews:
improves learning.
evidence of effectiveness. No program stood

There is no evidence that different

Strong evidence that using effective
out as having large and replicated effects. curricula give different achievement
teaching strategies can make a
outcomes. Clearly this has enormous
difference.
Professional development implications for teaching and policy;
A number of studies have looked at the

There is also limited evidence that
impact of using extensive professional ordinary CAI improves math learning; and
Further reading
development to help teachers use effective

Finally, there is strong evidence that using Slavin RE & Lake C (2008), Effective
teaching strategies. These studies usually effective teaching strategies can make Programs for Elementary Mathematics:
keep the textbooks, content, and objectives a real difference. Changing the way that A Best Evidence Synthesis. Review of
the same, but change the teaching methods. children work together, and classroom Educational Research, 78 (3), 427–515.
There were 36 qualifying studies of management and motivation, can improve
professional development strategies in the math outcomes for all students.
Slavin RE, Lake C & Groff C (2009),
elementary schools and 22 in middle/ The full reviews, together with
Effective Programs in Middle and High
high schools. Professional development educator’s summaries, can be found on the
School Mathematics: A Best Evidence
programs had the strongest evidence of Best Evidence Encyclopedia,
Synthesis. Review of Educational
effectiveness. Cooperative learning was www.bestevidence.org
Research, 79 (2), 839 –911.
fall 2009 Better: Evidence-based Education 5
Better(US) Fall09.indb 5 14/10/09 13:04:42
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