Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Special Education and Rehabilitation

Committee Chair(s)

Timothy A. Slocum


Timothy A. Slocum


Robert Morgan


Lillian Duran


This study investigated the effects of a direct instruction program on the ability of elementary school students identified as at risk for math failure to add and subtract numbers with decimals, and complete addition and subtraction word problems with decimals. Direct instruction has previously been shown to increase the math skills of special education and general education students. This study examined the extent to which these students could master these skills in six hours of instruction, with carefully designed sequences of examples and strategy instruction in word problems. The study took place in two elementary schools. The participants were fifth grade students who had received low math scores on a school wide test and placed in a math group accordingly. The students were given a pretest and placed into two different groups, iv based on a stratified random process. The students in the treatment group received six lessons in decimals and word problems. After the six lessons, the groups were given a posttest. Student progress was assessed by comparing the groups on posttest results, comparing the students’ pretest and posttest scores, and using the ANOVA to determine statistical significance. On the posttest, the students in the treatment group scored 35 percentage points higher than the students in the control group – this difference was statistically significant. The increase was largest in their ability to add and subtract decimals, however many of the students also made considerable progress in their ability to solve word problems.




This work made publicly available electronically on September 2, 2011.