The Science

...And why it is important

Early mathematic skills have a substantial impact on later school achievement. Children with poor school achievement are at risk for adverse consequences later in life. Math competencies also have consequences for the economy at large because societies are becoming increasingly dependent on mathematic skills.

Why was this research conducted?

The purpose of this research was to help low performing children catch up in math. More specifically, 8-year olds with low math performance trained early critical math skills using an adaptive program on a tablet.

Results

Students training the program showed significant and substantial improvement in critical math skills compared to students who did not use the program. The gap between low performing student who practiced the program and higher performing students who did not practice the program decreased.

Short Description of Our Research

Study I

This study investigated if arithmetic skills could be assessed in a reliable and valid way on tablet. The examination showed that arithmetic scales could be transferred from paper-based tests to tablet with comparable psychometric properties, although not for a pictorial scale, and that separate norms are needed for tablet.

Study II

This study demonstrated that training on a tablet, for on average 19 hours across 20 weeks, improved basic arithmetic skills after training in the math conditions compared to control / placebo conditions. The effects were medium sized at post assessment. There was a fadeout of effects at 6 months follow-up, where small effects were shown, and the effects decreased further at 12 months follow-up.

Children with lower non-verbal IQ seemed to gain significantly more at follow- ups than children with higher non-verbal IQ. Furthermore, persistent long-term effects were found for children with lower non-verbal IQ were found. Similar patterns, although not significant, were demonstrated for children with low socioeconomic status and children attending schools with high levels of diversity.

The study found no additional effects of combining working memory training and math training.

Study III

Using a machine learning analysis, this study found that children demonstrating a positive response at 6 months follow-up were characterized by having completed 90 % or more of the math program at the default level, in combination with having a fairly favorable socioeconomic background.

List of Papers

Hassler Hallstedt, M., & Ghaderi, A. (in press) Tablets Instead of Paper-Based Tests for Young Children? Comparability between Paper and Tablet Versions of the Mathematical Heidelberger Rechen Test 1-4. Educational Assessment.

Hassler Hallstedt, M., Klingberg, K., & Ghaderi, A. (in press) Short and Long-Term Effects of a Mathematics Tablet Intervention for Low Performing Second Graders. Journal of Educational Psychology.

Hassler Hallstedt, M., & Ghaderi, A. Predicting Long-Term Response in a Mathematics Tablet Intervention. Manuscript submitted for publication.

Reprints were made with permission from the respective publishers.