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date: 27 May 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Young children who find mathematics very difficult are likely to encounter profound problems later on. Previous small-scale studies have indicated that early intervention can help them, but have provided insubstantial evidence. This chapter discusses the key features of a new mathematics intervention in England, Numbers Count, and analyzes the findings of a large-scale impact study of 8000 low-achieving 6- and 7-year-old children. After an average of 43 half-hour, one-to-one lessons in 3 months, their number age test scores had risen by 14 months with an effect size of .85. Their attitudes towards learning mathematics also improved substantially, with an effect size of .7. Children made strong progress irrespective of their background characteristics. It is suggested that the success of the intervention was due to its design, to its teachers’ professional development program, and to rigorous quality assurance. Subsequent changes are discussed.

Keywords: primary education, mathematics education, mathematical difficulties, underachievement, intervention

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