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Studies Find Math Intervention Effective for Students With and Without Disabilities

Findings from two large pretest-posttest, cluster-randomized studies based at the University of Kentucky College of Education showed that students taught using the Enhanced Anchored Instruction (EAI) method made significant improvement in computing fractions and problem solving over students taught by their teachers using the usual school curriculum. Results also indicated that in classrooms where special education teachers shared direct teaching responsibilities with math teachers, the effects were much greater than for classrooms where the special education teacher assumed a more passive role.

photo of Dr. Brian Bottge
Dr. Brian Bottge

The first study was conducted in 67 special education resource rooms across 31 middle schools and spanned 94 instructional days. It included 49 special education teachers and 407 students with a variety of learning difficulties. The second study took place over the course of 65 days in inclusive math classrooms in 24 middle schools and included 25 math and 25 special education teachers who co-taught 471 students with and without learning disabilities in math.

The Institute of Educational Sciences funded the $2.3 million project directed by Dr. Brian Bottge, William T. Bryan Endowed Chair in the UK College of Education’s Department of Early Childhood, Special Education and Rehabilitation Counseling, along with his colleagues at UK, Vanderbilt University, and the University of Georgia.

Bottge developed the Enhanced Anchored Instruction teaching method while at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. EAI is designed to improve the computation and problem-solving skills of low-achieving adolescents, especially those having difficulty in learning math. Because this research involved students with and without learning disabilities, the findings are notable for both general education and special education teachers who are charged with raising the performance of all students.

The findings have been reported in several publications, including top journals in special education (e.g., Exceptional Children) and measurement (e.g., Psychometrika).  Bottge was recently invited to deliver keynote presentations of these results at the Seoul National University of Education and Ewha Women’s University in Seoul, South Korea.

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