Helping students to understand the logical principles underlying math may improve their mathematical achievement, according to the findings of a randomized controlled trial published by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) in the UK.
Mathematical Reasoning lessons focus on developing students’ understanding of the logical principles underlying math, and cover principles such as place value and the inverse relation between addition and subtraction. One hundred and sixty English primary schools took part in the trial, and were randomly allocated to receive either Mathematical Reasoning or to be in the control group. The control group was given the opportunity to take part in the program the following year. Teachers in the intervention schools delivered the program to Year 2 students. over 12 to 15 weeks as part of their usual math lessons. Learning was supported by online games, which could be used by students at school and at home.
The independent evaluation by a team from the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) found that:
- There was a small but statistically significant effect on math achievement for students who took part in the program, compared to other students (ES = +0.08).
- It had the same impact for students eligible for free school meals.
- There were also some evidence indicating that the program had a positive impact on mathematical reasoning.
The authors suggested that the intervention was well received by schools in general, although the implementation in some schools that did not have access to the necessary IT equipment or teaching assistant support might not be intended.
Source (Open Access): Stokes, L., Hudson-Sharp, N., Dorsett, R., Rolfe, H., Anders, J., George, A., …& Munro-Lott, N. (2018). Mathematical Reasoning: Evaluation report and executive summary. London: Education Endowment Foundation.