Does an integrated focus on fractions and decimals improve at-risk students’ rational number magnitude performance?

The purpose of this study was to assess whether intervention with an integrated focus on fraction and decimal magnitude provides added value in improving rational number performance over intervention focused exclusively on fractions. We randomly assigned 4th graders with poor whole-number performance to 3 conditions: a business-as-usual control group and 2 variants of a validated fraction magnitude (FM) intervention. One variant of FM intervention included an integrated component on fraction-decimal magnitude (FM+DM); the other included a fraction applications component (FM+FAPP) to more closely mirror the validated FM intervention and to control for intervention time. Cross-classified partially-nested analyses (N=225) provided the basis for 3 conclusions. First, FM intervention improves 4th-graders' fraction understanding and applications. Second, effects of FM intervention, even without a focus on decimals, transfer to decimal number line performance. Third, an intervention component integrating fraction-decimal magnitude does not provide added value over FM intervention on fraction or decimal performance, except on decimal tasks paralleling intervention tasks. [This is the in press version of an article published in "Contemporary Educational Psychology."]

Authors citation
Malone, A. S., Fuchs, L. S., Sterba, S. K., Fuchs, D., & Foreman-Murray, L.
Publication
Contemporary Educational Psychology, 59, 101782
Year of Study
2019
Subject
Math
Program Evaluated

Fraction Face-Off!

Tutor Type
Teaching Assistant
Duration
12 weeks
Sample size
225
Grade Level(s)
4th Grade
Student-Tutor Ratio
Small group
Effect Size
0.29
Study Design
Student Randomized
Full citation

Malone, A. S., Fuchs, L. S., Sterba, S. K., Fuchs, D., & Foreman-Murray, L. (2019). Does an integrated focus on fractions and decimals improve at-risk students’ rational number magnitude performance? Contemporary Educational Psychology, 59, 101782. https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED595127