Parent Resource

Explicit Instruction Works Best for Struggling Math Students

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by Allie Bidwell, Education reporter for U.S. News & World Report

Students who struggle early on with basic reading and math skills may continue to have a hard time as they progress through school. But many early grade teachers with students struggling in math appear to be more likely to use ineffective teaching methods, according to a new study.


The study – funded by the Department of Education and the National Institutes of Health – found first-grade teachers with a higher percentage of students with math difficulties in their classrooms were more likely to use student-centered instructional methods (such as the use of calculators, or movement and music to learn math) that have not been associated with achievement gains. Those students who struggle are more likely to benefit from teacher-driven instruction, in which the teacher models problems, provides explicit instruction and gives the students many opportunities to practice, says Paul Morgan, an associate professor of education at Pennsylvania State University, and a co-author of the study.  Read More