Building Number Sense Among English Learners: A Multisite Randomized Controlled Trial of a Tier 2 Kindergarten Mathematics Intervention


English learners (ELs) represent a rapidly growing subgroup in U.S. schools. Yet converging evidence suggests that a concerning number of ELs struggle to reach proficient levels in mathematics. The purpose of this multisite randomized controlled trial was to examine the treatment effects of a Tier 2 mathematics intervention on the mathematical outcomes of kindergarten ELs with mathematics difficulties. Additionally, recognizing that students differently benefit from early mathematics interventions, the study also examined whether specific student-level variables predicted ELs’ differential response to the intervention. A total of 295 ELs from 138 kindergarten classrooms participated in the study. Findings indicated overall treatment effects on five mathematics outcome measures. Results also suggested that the intervention worked equally well across a diverse sample of at-risk ELs with varying mathematics skills and English proficiency levels. Implications in terms of using principles of explicit instruction to improve the design of mathematics interventions and furthering the knowledge base of effective instruction for ELs with mathematics difficulties are discussed.


Doabler, C. T., Clarke, B., Kosty, D., Smolkowski, K., Kurtz-Nelson, E., Fien, H., & Baker, S. K. (2018). Building number sense among English learners: A multisite randomized controlled trial of a Tier 2 kindergarten mathematics intervention. Early Childhood Research Quarterly. Advance online publication. doi:10.1016/j.ecresq.2018.08.004