The study summarized below, which did employ random assignement of classes of students to treatments, is an optimistic sign for the development of empirically-based interventions, particulary for students with disabilities.
Fuchs, L. S., Fuchs, D., Prentice, K., Burch, M., Hamlett, C. L., Owen, R., & Schroeter, K. (2003). Enhancing third-grade students' mathematical problem solving with self-regulated learning strategies. Journal of Educational Psychology, 95(2), 306-315.
- The authors assessed the contribution of self-regulated learning strategies (SRL), when combined with problem-solving transfer instruction (L. S. Fuchs et al., 2003), on 3rd-graders' mathematical problem solving. SRL incorporated goal setting and self-evaluation. Problem-solving transfer instruction taught problem-solution methods, the meaning of transfer, and 4 superficial-problem features that change a problem without altering its type or solution; it also prompted metacognitive awareness to transfer. The authors contrasted the effectiveness of transfer plus SRL to the transfer treatment alone and to teacher-designed instruction. Twenty-four 3rd-grade teachers, with 395 students, were assigned randomly to conditions. Treatments were conducted for 16 weeks. Students were pre- and posttested on problem-solving tests and responded to a posttreatment questionnaire tapping self-regulation processes. SRL positively affected performance. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2005 APA, all rights reserved)
- In an experimental investigation of the effects of self-regulated learning (SRL) strategy training on mathematical problem-solving (Fuchs, Fuchs, Prentice, Burch, Hamlett, Owen & Schroeter, 2003), 24 third-grade teachers were randomly assigned to three different treatment conditions (8 per condition—one condition being a control). Fuchs et al. (2003) reported that on both immediate- and near-transfer problem-solving measures, students in the problem-solving transfer treatment condition outperformed those in the control treatment. Effect sizes (ESs) were large, and ranged from 1.24 to 1.98 across different levels of initial (pre-intervention) achievement status. More importantly, the combined problem-solving transfer and SRL treatment produced stronger ESs that exceeded 2.00 standard deviations on immediate transfer, 1.81 to 2.40 on near-transfer, and between 0.81 and 1.17 on far transfer. The authors concluded that “whereas the problem-solving transfer treatment alone failed to promote reliable effects on the far-transfer measure (the most novel, and therefore truest, measure of mathematical problem solving in this study), the combination of problem-solving transfer and SRL succeeded in effecting this challenging outcome” (Fuchs et al., 2003, p. 313).
- More importantly, Fuchs et al. (2003) reported comparable growth for the students with disabilities in the study, a group for whom learning transfer effects are often negligible. On immediate-transfer measures, ESs for students with disabilities (when compared to controls) were large: 1.07 for the transfer condition; 1.43 for the transfer plus SRL condition. Although the ESs failed to achieve statistical significance, Fuchs et al. (2003) considered the ESs of 0.95 (near-transfer) and 0.58 (far-transfer) to be “notable.”
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