Program

Sep 30, 2009

OVERVIEW

Contingent Math
Tutoring is a tutoring approach that increases the amount of support based upon
the child’s performance on a particular math problem. In this evaluation,
children were randomly assigned to contingent math tutoring or to two other
tutoring strategies. Results show that the students in the contingent math
tutoring group had significantly higher math scores than students in the other
two groups at the one month follow-up.

DESCRIPTION OF PROGRAM

Target population:
Fourth and fifth grade students

Contingent Tutoring
is a tutoring strategy that provides a child with an increasing amount of
support if the child does not follow the instructions correctly and less support
if the child is successful. The strategy involves nine levels including: (0) no
directive, (1) general verbal directive, (2) general verbal hint, (3) labeling
the subcomponent, (4) specifying the step of subcomponent, (5) hinting about the
step, (6) giving the step answer or recording, (7) giving the step answer and
recording, and (8) demonstrating. A tutor can move up the steps depending on
how much assistance a child needs. In this intervention, children are presented
with four difficult long division problems followed by a 20-minute tutoring
session.

EVALUATION(S) OF PROGRAM

Study 1: Pratt,
M. W., & Savoy-Levine, K. M. (1998). Contingent tutoring of long-division skills
in fourth and fifth graders: Experimental tests of some hypotheses about
scaffolding. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 19(2), 287-304.

Evaluated
population:
Thirty children from a moderate-sized urban area in Ontario,
Canada. Children were mostly white, middle-class 9- to 11-year olds.

Approach:
Children were randomly assigned to one of three tutoring groups: contingent
tutoring, moderate support tutoring, or high support tutoring. The contingent
tutoring group received tutoring ranging through all nine levels as described
above. The moderate support tutoring group involved instruction only at levels
three and four, as described above. The high support tutoring group received
instruction only at level seven. Children were assessed at pre-test, post-test,
one-week follow-up, and one-month follow-up on the correct completion of math
problems and positive and negative affect.

Results: At
post-test and at a one-week follow-up, the contingent tutoring and moderate
support tutoring groups had significantly higher math scores than the high
support group. There was no significant difference in math scores when
comparing the contingent and moderate tutoring groups at post-test and one week
follow-up. At one month follow-up, the contingent tutoring group had
significantly higher math scores than the other two groups.

Children in the
high support tutoring group reported significantly more negative affect when
compared with the other two groups. There was no significant difference between
the three groups on positive affect.

Study 2: Pratt,
M. W., & Savoy-Levine, K. M. (1998). Contingent tutoring of long-division skills
in fourth and fifth graders: Experimental tests of some hypotheses about
scaffolding. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 19(2), 287-304.

Evaluated
population:
Forty children from a moderate-sized urban area in Ontario,
Canada. Children’s mean age was 10.6 years and around 75 percent were female (n
= 29)

Approach:
Children were randomly assigned to one of five tutoring groups: contingent
tutoring, moderate support tutoring, high support tutoring, sequential support
tutoring, or a no-treatment control group. The contingent, moderate, and high
support tutoring are described in study 1. Sequential support tutoring is
similar to contingent tutoring; however, the sequential support tutoring only
moves up the steps one-by-one after failure, with no regard for the child’s
previous (successful) performance. Children were assessed on the correct
completion of long division math problems, word problems, and positive and
negative affect.

Results: At
post-test, the contingent support group scored significantly higher than the
other four groups on math scores and word problems. At one week and one month
follow-up, the contingent group scored significantly higher on math scores and
word problems than the other four groups. None of the other four groups were
significantly different than the others.

SOURCES FOR MORE
INFORMATION

References

Pratt, M. W., &
Savoy-Levine, K. M. (1998). Contingent tutoring of long-division skills in
fourth and fifth graders: Experimental tests of some hypotheses about
scaffolding. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 19(2), 287-304.

KEYWORDS: Children, Elementary School, Co-ed, White, Urban, Tutoring, Mathematics, School-based

Program
information last updated on 9/29/09.

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