Research conducted in ThinkMath project


Mononen, R. & Aunio, P. (2014). A Mathematics intervention for low-performing, Finnish second graders: findings from a pilot study. European Journal of Special Needs Education. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1080/08856257.2014.922794.
Abstract. Evidence-based practice is highly appreciated and demanded in the field of education, especially in relation to extra support provided for children struggling with learning. Currently, there is a lack of intervention studies in the area of mathematics. This study aimed to investigate the effects of a short mathematics intervention programme on second graders (Mage = 8 years, 2 months) with low performance in mathematics, in a quasi-experimental, intervention-control setting. A group of low-performing second graders (LOWi, n = 11) was taught twice a week for eight weeks on the mathematics topics of number word sequence skills, counting skills and conceptual place value knowledge. The intervention’s effectiveness was examined by comparing the mathematics performance of the LOWi group to those of two groups consisting of low performing (LOWc, n = 13) and typically performing children (TYPc, n = 64), who followed their business-as-usual mathematics instruction. The LOWi group made significant improvements in mathematics but did not show significantly better gains, compared to the LOWc and TYPc groups, immediately and three months after the intervention. We discuss the implications for educational practice and intervention research.
Mononen, R., Aunio, P., Koponen, T., & Aro, M. (2014). A review of early numeracy interventions for children at risk in mathematics. International Journal of Early Childhood Special Education, 6(1), 25-54.
Abstract. This study reviewed early numeracy interventions for four- to seven-year-old children at risk for mathematics difficulties. The search yielded 19 peer-reviewed studies with pre- and post-treatment control designs. The interventions were categorised as either core or supplemental instruction. The study analysed the effectiveness and identified the pedagogical components of the interventions: setting, duration, numeracy content used for intervention training and progress measurement, conductor and professional developmental support offered, and instructional design features. The interventions showed, to various degrees, the promising effect of improving the early numeracy skills of at-risk children. Results indicated that different types of instructional design features, including explicit instruction, computer-assisted instruction (CAI), game playing, or the use of concrete-representational-abstract levels in representations of math concepts, led to improvements in mathematics performance. The paper discusses the implications for practise and suggestions for future research.
Mononen, R. & Aunio, P. (2013). Early mathematical performance in Finnish kindergarten and grade one. LUMAT, 1(3), 245-261.
Abstract. The present study assessed Finnish kindergarten (N = 177, Mage = 76.4 months, SD = 3.7 months) and grade one (N = 178, Mage = 87.2 months, SD = 3.7 months) children’s mathematical skills in the beginning of the school year. The mathematical skills were assessed once using researcher-developed paper-pencil tests. The variance analysis (ANOVA) was used to study the effects of age and gender on performance level. Boys and girls performed similarly in both samples, but age effects were found in the kindergarten and first grade; older children performed higher than younger ones. The older children may have had more opportunities to practise and get acquainted with mathematical issues, as the age difference between the youngest and the oldest child in the classroom can be up to one year. Children performing at or below the 25th percentile in both samples showed significantly weaker performance in several mathematical skills (i.e., number word sequences, enumeration, and addition and subtraction), compared to other performance groups. On the other hand, many children already understood in the beginning of the school year much of what is considered in mathematics curriculum and materials in their forthcoming school year in the kindergarten or the first grade.