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Improving Essential Numeracy Skills in Primary Schoolchildren Using a Brief Fluency-building Intervention: A Randomised Control Trial

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Numeracy skills are essential if children are to succeed academically. We investigated the efficacy of short fluency-building exercises to target a number of essential numeracy skills (writing digits and simple addition problems). We further wanted to ascertain whether such an intervention would impact their ability to solve related but unpractised subtraction problems. Children from two mainstream primary schools (aged 9–10) were allocated randomly to either a fluency-building intervention group (FBI; n = 19) or a control group (C; n = 10). The intervention group engaged in daily fluency-building practice that consisted of writing and reciting essential numeracy facts. The control group children received their standard instruction. The study took place over five weeks; following the intervention, the children in the FBI group performed significantly better (p < .05) on three of the four numeracy elements with large effect sizes (d = 1.25–1.67). Results are discussed in the context of incorporating simple essential skills fluency-building exercises into mainstream classes, and how the implementation need not be costly in terms of staff time or resources.
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Keywords: BASIC SKILLS; ESSENTIAL NUMERACY SKILLS; FLUENCY-BUILDING PROCEDURES; NUMBER NEEDED TO TREAT (NNT); RELIABLE CHANGE INDEX (RCI)

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2018

More about this publication?
  • Previously published under the title University of Wales Journal of Education, this internationally-distributed annual journal offers an arena for disseminating education research from national and international perspectives. The journal explores a range of controversial arguments relating to education, including areas such as bilingualism, religion in education, well-being and the standards of literacy and numeracy. The contemporary drive for improved education standards, within Wales and internationally, provides a wealth of interdisciplinary research opportunities, and the journal aims to publish research reports relating to these current issues. The journal also includes a comprehensive reviews section.

    Mae'r cylchgrawn blynyddol hwn, a adwaenid gynt fel Cylchgrawn Addysg Prifysgol Cymru, yn trafod agweddau datganoledig ar addysg, ynghyd ag ymdrin ag addysg o safbwynt cenedlaethol a rhyngwladol. Wrth ymhel â materion cyfoes yn ymwneud ag addysg, mae'r drafodaeth yn amlinellu safbwyntiau dadleuol ynghylch dwyieithrwydd a chrefydd yn ogystal â safonau llythrennedd a rhifedd. Mae'r ymdrechion i wella safonau addysg yng Nghymru a thu hwnt yn esgor ar feysydd ymchwil newydd, a bwriad y cyfnodolyn yw cyhoeddi erthyglau cryno yn ymdrin â materion cyfredol o'r fath. Mae'r cyfnodolyn hefyd yn cynnwys adran adolygiadau.

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