OverviewProject SCALE will examine the effectiveness of Fraction Face-Off (FFO), a math intervention with moderate evidence (as determined by the What Works Clearinghouse). FFO is designed as a Tier 2 intervention for students in Grade 4 to be implemented in small groups over 36, 30-minute sessions. We conduct randomized controlled trials with diverse student populations and settings to determine the extent to which FFO improves fraction knowledge and if improved math outcomes of students experiencing mathematics difficulty (MD) can be replicated. In addition to replicating the prior study with 4th graders, this project will also investigate the differences between in-person and virtual training for interventionists, and the efficacy of FFO as a Tier 2 intervention with 5th-8th grade students experiencing mathematics difficulties.
U.S. Department of Education Office of Education Innovation and Research
Dr. Leanne Ketterlin Geller at Southern Methodist University
Dr. Sarah Powell at the University of Texas at Austin
Dr. Erica Lembke at the University of Missouri
Dr. Andrew Swanlund with American Institutes for Research
In this project, we take a WWC approved intervention and contribute rigorous evidence of effectiveness with new populations and setting for implementation within a Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS). We address a pressing need to accelerate learning for students experiencing MD in upper elementary and middle schools. We study mechanisms to efficiently and cost-effectively scale FFO and build capacity within school districts to use FFO to improve understanding of fractions and general mathematics in order to facilitate algebra readiness. We predict positive and significant results across grade levels for both interventionists and students compared to business-as-usual (BAU). We predict that virtual training will be as effective as in-person training at supporting fidelity of implementation.
Across the five years of this project, we examine the effectiveness of Fraction Face-Off (FFO, Fuchs et al., 2013). We conduct randomized controlled trials with diverse student populations and settings to determine the extent to which implementing FFO as a Tier 2 and Tier 3 intervention improves fraction knowledge and math outcomes of students experiencing MD in grades 4-8.
In Experiment 1 (2022-23), we replicate efficacious findings of FFO (Fuchs et al., 2013),with 4th grade students in diverse settings who are experiencing MD. Interventionists are randomly assigned to two conditions—FFO and BAU. Pre- and post-tests are administered to interventionists and students. Follow-up student data are collected in Years 2-4.
In Experiment 2 (2023-24), we investigate if there are differences between in-person and virtual training for interventionists using FFO. Interventionists are randomly assigned to three conditions—FFO with in-person training, FFO with virtual training, and BAU. Teachers work with 4th grade students experiencing MD as a Tier 2 intervention, and both interventionists and students take pre- and post-tests. Follow-up student data are collected in Years 3-4.
In Experiment 3 (2024-25) and Experiment 4 (2025-26), we investigate the efficacy of FFO with 5th grade students and middle school students experiencing MD, respectively. FFO is implemented as a Tier 3 intervention. There are two conditions—FFO with the best training package determined in Experiment 2 and BAU. Both interventionists and students take pre- and post-tests. In Experiment 3, follow-up student data are collected in Year 4.
News and Related Articles
- Project SCALE Blog
- Can conquering fractions lead to algebra success?
- Ketterlin Geller's $8M Grant from Dept. of Education Is the Largest Single-Year Research Award at SMU
What Works Clearinghouse, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education.(2020, March). Fraction Face-Off! https://whatworks.ed.gov
Fuchs, L. S., Schumacher R. F., Long, J., Namkung, J, Hamlett, C. L., Cirino, P. T., Jordan, N.C., Siegler, R., Gersten, R., & Changas, P. (2013). Improving at-risk learners' understanding of fractions. Journal of Educational Psychology, 105(3), 683–700.https://doi.org/10.1037/a0032446