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Effects of Behavior Supports on Math Intervention Outcomes: A Meta-Analysis


Student achievement in mathematics is an area of concern that has implications for student success on an individual level as well as for the nation as a whole (National Mathematics Advisory Panel, 2008). Although tier 2 intervention has been shown to be effective in remediating math difficulty, an estimated 3-8% of students do not respond to intervention (Fuchs, Fuchs, & Compton, 2012). This indicates a need to identify specific intervention components, which can increase academic outcomes. One potential intervention component to increase academic outcomes is the use of behavioral strategies in math intervention. Behavioral strategies have been found to increase academic engagement (Brooks, Todd, Tofflemoyer & Horner, 2003; Liaupsin, Umbreit, Ferro, Urso, Upreti, 2006; Todd, Horner, & Sugai, 1999). In turn, engagement increases academic outcomes (Finn, 1993; Marks, 2000). The following study uses meta-analytic techniques to assess effect size differences between math interventions with and without behavioral components. Twelve studies were included in the analysis. In addition, effect sizes were calculated by behavioral component type in order to determine whether the magnitude of effect varied by this moderator. Results from this study indicate that the use of behavioral strategies in mathematics interventions may increase intervention effectiveness. The use of self-monitoring strategies, particularly graphing progress, led to larger effect sizes than studies which utilized other strategies (verbal praise and tangible reinforcement). Limitations and implications for future research are discussed.

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