Teaching math to small groups of low-income, minority kindergartners has a positive impact on their learning and can help bridge the divide with higher-income peers, U.S. researchers have found.
The researchers at the University of Michigan (U-M) evaluated kindergarten students in the one-year math enrichment High 5s program in 24 low-income elementary schools in New York City, according to a news release posted on the UM's website on Monday.
Students enrolled in the High 5s program met in groups of four students with a trained facilitator for 30 minutes three times a week. Activities were delivered in a game-like format and intended to be fun, engaging, interactive and developmentally appropriate.
At the end of kindergarten, student math achievement was analyzed on two different measures: the Woodcock-Johnson applied problems subscale and REMA-K. The students in High 5s scored higher than the control students on the REMA-K.
The effect of the program was equivalent to about two-and-a-half months of learning on the assessment, the researchers said.
The U-M researchers are now working to develop a model for such small-group math instruction that requires fewer resources and could be more easily scaled.