Academic journal article Education & Treatment of Children

Using Incremental Rehearsal to Increase Fluency of Single-Digit Multiplication Facts with Children Identified as Learning Disabled in Mathematics Computation

Academic journal article Education & Treatment of Children

Using Incremental Rehearsal to Increase Fluency of Single-Digit Multiplication Facts with Children Identified as Learning Disabled in Mathematics Computation

Article excerpt

Abstract

Previous research suggested that Incremental Rehearsal (IR; Tucker, 1989) led to better retention than other drill practices models: However, little research exists in the literature regarding drill models for mathematics and no studies were found that used IR to practice multiplication facts. Therefore, the current study used IR as an intervention to teach single-digit multiplication facts to three elementary students identified as learning disabled in mathematics computation using a multiple-baseline single-subject design. All of the students demonstrated 100% non-overlapping data with a median effect size of 4.79 standard deviation units. Potential implications, suggestions for future research, and limitations are included.

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As technology becomes increasingly important in daily lives, the need for mathematical skills and thinking increases as well. Mathematics proficiency has been linked to successful employment and higher income upon employment (Rivera-Baltiz, 1992). However, less than one-third (31%) of 4th grade students in the United States scored at or above the proficiency standard on the 2003 National Assessment of Educational Progress in mathematics (Manzo & Galley, 2003). Moreover, over 50% of children identified with learning disabilities (LD) in United States' schools have Individualized Educational Program goals that address mathematics (Lerner, 2003). This is especially important given that without direct intervention learning disabilities in mathematics tend to persist into adulthood (Miller & Mercer, 1997). Still, interventions for children with mathematics disabilities are far less frequently studied as compared to research on reading disabilities (Badian, 1999; Daly & McCurdy, 2002).

The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM, 2000) listed fluent computation as a goal for mathematics instruction, and failure to rapidly recall basic facts a characteristic often associated with mathematics disabilities (Miller & Mercer, 1997). In order to be fluent, a child should be able to automatically compute mathematical facts (Lerner, 2003). Automaticity was described as the goal of most instructional efforts (Slavin, 1997) and is obtained when it is faster to solve the problem through recall than it is to perform a mental algorithm for completing the current task (Logan, Taylor, & Etherton, 1996).

Increasing speed of performance occurs through practice of an individual item (Cohen, Servan-Schreiber, & McCelland, 1992) and increasing the amount of drill and practice is often considered to be the most effective approach to improve learning (Chase & Symonds, 1992). Moreover, Green-wood, Delquadri, and Hall (1984) suggested that opportunities to respond (OTR) are a crucial aspect of academic remediation. Successful retention of new information through rehearsal is directly linked to the number of practice trials (Daly, Hintze, & Hamler, 2000; Logan & Klapp, 1991), which has been shown to be true across academic areas, including mathematics fluency (Skinner, Belfiore, Mace, Williams & Johns, 1997). Thus, automaticity of mathematical facts seems closely linked to OTR for each fact.

An effective method of increasing the number of practice trials for new mathematics facts is the use of drill rehearsal models (Burns, 2004). Research has consistently demonstrated that teaching basic skills through drill tasks led to increased retention (Burns, 2004; Cooke, Guzaukas, Pressly, & Kerr, 1993; Cooke & Reichard, 1996, Koegel & Koegel, 1986; Roberts & Shapiro, 1996; Roberts, Turco, & Shapiro, 1991) and subsequently increased performance of more advanced skills (Dehaene & Akhavein, 1995; Jones & Christensen, 1999; Tzelgove, Porat, & Henik, 1997). Some children may lack prerequisite skills for higher-order tasks and must first master the basic information in order to move to higher levels. …

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