Fostering at-risk preschoolers' number sense

Arthur J. Baroody, Michael Eiland, Bradley Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Research Findings: A 9-month study served to evaluate the effectiveness of a pre-kindergarten number sense curriculum. Phase 1 of the intervention involved manipulative-, game-based number sense instruction; Phase 2, computer-aided mental-arithmetic training with the simplest sums. Eighty 4- and 5-year-olds at risk for school failure were randomly assigned to (a) structured discovery of the n+0/0+n=n pattern and the n+1/1+n = the number after n relation; (b) structured discovery with explicit instruction; (c) blocked practice of (zero, one, and number-after) items; and (d) haphazard practice. Analyses with a Wilcoxon signed-rank test of follow-up Test of Early Mathematics Ability-Third Edition and mental-arithmetic testing indicated that general achievement and fluency with n+0/0+n combinations improved significantly. Significant improvement for n+1/1+n combinations was evident only if success included slow or counted answers. Practice or Policy: Theoretical, methodological, and educational implications are discussed, including the need to score in context (e.g., consider responses to other items).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)80-128
Number of pages49
JournalEarly Education and Development
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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