This study examined the effectiveness of a number sense program on kindergarten students' number proficiency and responsiveness to treatment as a function of students' risk for mathematics difficulties. The program targeted development of relationships among numbers (e.g., spatial, more and less). A total of 101 kindergarten students (not at risk: 22 control and 36 experimental; at risk: 18 and 25) from five classrooms in a high-poverty elementary school participated in the study. Using a quasi-experimental design, classrooms were randomly assigned to either the intervention (number sense instruction, NSI) or control condition. Results indicated significant differences favoring the treatment students on all measures of number sense (e.g., spatial relationships, more and less relationships, benchmarks of five and ten, nonverbal calculations) at posttest and on a 3-week retention test. Furthermore, the effects were not mediated by at-risk status, suggesting that NSI may benefit a wide range of students. Implications in terms of preventing early mathematical learning difficulties are discussed.
- at risk
- strategy instruction