Small Group Effectiveness in Math InterventionBy Jennifer Cartwright
Many students have developed a fear of math from early failures which perpetuates into a lack of motivation to even try in secondary school. These students have no foundation to build upon and can benefit greatly from direct intervention outside of the regular math classroom. Many studies have been conducted with varying degrees of success, but a familiar theme runs through the majority in which specific techniques such as reinforcement, drill and practice and peer tutoring are combined with small groups to be the most effective for struggling students. An intervention program was recently implemented at Gladewater High School to address this issues and I found these techniques to be effective with many of my students.
For an intervention program to be successful, students must be carefully screened in order to create the best plan possible for each individual student. The reason a student is struggling in math needs to be identified before the student’s intervention plan can be implemented.
A screening process needs to include not only prior student performance, but also the student’s current performance level and the attitude the student has toward learning. Our school began this process by analyzing each student’s state scores in math (both current and past) then included information from previous classroom teachers as well as talking to the students themselves to assess their ability level and willingness to participate in the program. Overall screenings should include brief assessments on specific skills in order to predict a student‘s future success as students needs vary greatly.(Jenkins, 2003)
One must be careful when screening that students are not falsely identified as needing help while others slip through the cracks. Performance on standardized benchmarks is only a part of the process in identifying a student at risk of falling behind as the student’s attitude is also a very important part.