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BJ Hemphill

MIAA 340
Article 1 (K-3)

Zhang, D., Xin, Y.P., Harris, K., & Ding, Y. (2014), Improving Multiplication Strategic,
Development in Children With Math Difficulties. Learning Disability Quarterly,
39(1),, 15-30.
I choose this article because it spoke to the issues we at the middle school
level face year after year. With the inclusion of students from our Special Day
Classes (SDC), we face an ever so challenging time because much or our curriculum
is dependent on multiplication fluency. I must add, it is not just SDC students who
reach our classes ill prepared, this also includes general education students. It is
difficult to progress forward to complex problem solving tasks when students are
having a difficult time because they have not mastered nor developed sufficient
multiplication problem solving skills and therefore, do not understanding what is
required of them which results in "failure" in the classroom.
This article not only addressed the issues of students with math difficulties,
but offered up solutions as well. Usually by third grade students are beginning to
develop the concepts of multiplication and division and by fifth grade students are
supposed to have mastered multiplicative reasoning skills. However, there are
clusters of students who fail to reach the mastery level because they have
mathematics difficulties. They have not developed efficient strategies to help them
each those levels. Typically, they will continue relying on low level strategies such
as: unitary counting, skip counting, and/or repeated addition rather than direct
retrieval of math facts.

In the past strategies and interventions to help these students achieve a

higher success rate have included the use of concrete, semi concrete, and abstract
representations to help them understand multiplication and improve their problem
solving skills and in some cases the interventions have worked to a certain degree.
The "Overlapping wave theory, conceived by Siegler (2006), describes how children
evolve from using less advanced strategies to using more advanced and efficient
strategies with age and experience. Higher level strategies usually generate higher
accuracy and faster problem-solving speed." Part of this theory states that
components of students' strategic development should include: ongoing
assessments, progress monitoring, ongoing progress outcomes, encouraging
students to use their own strategies to solve problems, providing feedback to
students and asking for self explanations of the correct answer, and explicit
instruction of advanced target strategies if students cannot explain their outcomes.
I can identify with what Siegler has described in his theory, because students
are not formed in the same manner or develop intellectually at the same rate,
therefore, there must be some other type of assessment other than standardized
test that measure the knowledge of students. I believe performance and formative
tasks can provide an look into what and how a student arrives at their conclusions.
So, students with mathematics difficulty should be given the opportunity to show
their knowledge and be given the chance to explain what was going on cognitively
when they were in the process of developing their answers.

BJ Hemphill
MIAA 340
Article 2 (K-3)

Burns, M.K., Kanive, R., & DeGrande, M. (2010). Effect of a computer-delivered math
fact intervention as a supplemental intervention for math in third and fourth
grades. Remedial and Special Education

This article has address a question that I have been asking myself for the
past couple of years. Can a computer based software program increase students
multiplication problem solving skills and reasoning skills? The reason why I asked
myself this question, is because we have implemented ST Math in Stockton Unified it really is mandatory for all classes and it's basically an intervention program aimed
at helping students master multiplication fluency and processing skills.
According to this article, results indicate that students who participate in a
computer based intervention program had significantly larger gain in their math
scores as opposed to those in the control group, who did not participate in the
study. And fewer of these students remained at risk for future math failure.
As students progress through their grade levels they generally develop a
sense of self assuredness when it comes to mathematics. They have acquired math
proficiency through conceptual understanding, procedural fluency, ability to
formulate and mentally represent problems, have the developed the ability to
reason through math problems, and can successfully apply math to daily activities.
However, there will always be students who continue to struggle with math in some
fashion or another.
These programs required that students take an diagnostic assessment at the
beginning when they first log into the system, students are then "prescribed" a

syllabus to work on which addresses their strengths and weaknesses. As students

work through their individual syllabus, they practice and acquire the necessary skills
to past the current objective and then can advance onto the next objective.
Teachers can then track their progress and keep ongoing records of how well
students are doing and communicate the results to students, parents, and
At risk students realize that they can be successful in obtaining their
objectives, and this in turn, results in higher self esteem and self confidence. Once a
student tastes success, they want more and the thirst for knowledge grows. As the
successes continue to grow the more they are willing to risk raising a hand in class
or help another student with a concept they already have knowledge of. Hopefully,
their success become infectious and other students - whether they are general or
special ed - catch the bug.
So, the answer to my question is: Yes, the computer based programs that are
specifically designed as a supplemental intervention can help my students achieve
higher levels of success if they are given adequate time to participate in the
intervention. I just have to integrate the intervention program into our weekly plans
and be consistent about it.