The Effects of Personalized Practice Software on Learning Math Standards in the Third through Fifth Grades
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The purpose of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of MathFacts in a Flash software in helping students learn math standards. In each of their classes, the third-, fourth-, and fifth-grade students in a small private Roman Catholic school from the Pacific Northwest were randomly assigned either to a control group that used flash cards and worksheets or to a treatment group that used a computer software program to practice grade-level appropriate math facts. Students advanced to math facts at the next grade level after completing the levels appropriate to their own. A crossed design allowed the two groups of students in each of the grades to participate in their respective intervention and control treatments over the course of 6 weeks before they received the alternative treatment. Students took equivalent forms of curriculum-based measures for their grade level at the beginning, middle, and end of the study (e.g., third graders took third grade assessments) and equivalent forms of curriculum-based measures at the middle and end of the study for the next grade level (e.g., third graders took fourth grade assessments). A correlated-groups t-test was conducted to determine the significance of the computer software program on students' performance on the grade-level measures, and an independent-groups t-test was conducted to determine the significance of the computer software program on students' performance on the subsequent grade-level measures. The results of the study indicate that there was not a significant difference in math scores between students practicing math facts with MathFacts in a Flash and those practicing math facts with flash cards and worksheets in both the on-grade and subsequent-grade-level measures. The findings are discussed in the context of the ways computer software may still be used to increase student proficiency with learning math standards in the third, fourth, and fifth grades.