Date of Award

2014

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Susan Brady

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of the novel math curriculum, mathUP, on math development for pupils receiving this instruction. Two Rhode Island schools participated: a charter school that had implemented mathUP and a suburban control school located in a higher socioeconomic (SES) community. Kindergarten students (n=41) were assessed on the following measures: two for early numeracy skills, one for visuospatial working memory (WM), and one for math achievement. Fifth-grade students (n=73) were administered a standardized measure of math achievement and an experimenter-generated math test. In addition, kindergarten and fifth-grade teachers in each school completed a brief questionnaire about their math instruction practices. Teacher reports revealed that the mathUP curriculum incorporated many research-based characteristics associated with improved math achievement. Findings also showed that early numeracy skills and visuospatial WM are important for kindergarten math achievement. In contrast to known academic achievement gaps between students from low and high SES circumstances, there were no significant differences between the kindergarten students on early numeracy skills, visuospatial WM, and math achievement. Additionally, fifth-grade students demonstrated comparable math achievement and performance on the math test. Overall, these results provide preliminary evidence that mathUP is an effective math curriculum with many evidence-based characteristics that may offset disadvantages usually associated with lower SES circumstances.

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