In the United States, only 34% of eighth-graders have scored at or above proficient in mathematics on the past two National Assessment of Educational Progress Mathematics Assessments. To support learners who are struggling with mathematics, many schools are providing mathematics intervention classes in addition to regular math classes. Yet little is known about how these intervention classes are being implemented at the middle grades and how well they are working.
EDC’s Strengthening Mathematics Intervention project addressed this research gap head-on by studying schools’ current intervention structures, practices, and challenges. The project team has published its findings and created professional development (PD) courses to support middle grades intervention teachers in providing effective mathematics instruction and support to their students.
The project team carried out the following educational R&D:
- Conducted an observational study and a national survey of the current landscape of mathematics intervention classes at the middle grades
- Designed two blended PD courses—including formative assessment approaches, accessible mathematics tasks, examples of evidence-based practices, videos, planning tools, and assignments—for mathematics intervention teachers in grades 5–8
- Created leadership resources (e.g., guiding principles, goal-setting activities, implementation suggestions) for mathematics supervisors, principals, and other administrators to strengthen mathematics intervention in their schools and districts
- Hosted three annual Forums on Mathematics Intervention at the Middle Grades that convened over 150 mathematics leaders and teachers from over 50 school districts in Massachusetts
- EDC’s national survey revealed widespread implementation of mathematics intervention classes by 69% of the 896 schools surveyed. The survey also provided new data on intervention structures and practices of interest to stakeholders working to improve student outcomes.
- The project produced strategic resources and new insight into how to build the capacity of teachers and administrators to strengthen mathematics intervention in their classrooms, schools, and districts.
- The project pilot-tested the new Strengthening Mathematics Intervention PD courses with 78 educators from Massachusetts and Maine. The pilot showed increases in teachers’ content knowledge, self-efficacy, and instructional practices.
- The project has widely disseminated findings through articles in journals such as Mathematics Teacher: Learning and Teaching PK–12 and Principal Leadership, as well as through presentations and webinars.