Evaluation of Mathematics Programmes (JUMP and IMPACT)

The Centre recently evaluated the implementation (in the 2013/14 school year) of two ‎programmes ‎designed to improve mathematics achievement in primary schools.  The project was ‎co-funded ‎by the Department of Education and Skills, Accenture, and Science Foundation ‎Ireland.  The ‎programmes were JUMP Math (Junior Undiscovered Math Prodigies) and ‎IMPACT Maths ‎‎(Interactive Methods and Practical Approaches to Communication and ‎Thinking).  JUMP is a ‎Canadian-designed programme intended to help children succeed at, and ‎enjoy, learning ‎mathematics.  Information about its underlying philosophy is available ‎at ‎http://www.jumpmath.org/cms/.  IMPACT is a new programme developed by the ‎Primary ‎Development Service for Teachers, based on the Irish primary school ‎mathematics ‎curriculum.‎

The intervention was run under the auspices of a steering committee composed of ‎representatives ‎from the funding bodies, Galway and Athlone Education Centres, the ‎National Council for ‎Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA), Change Nation, and an expert in ‎mathematics education, ‎Dr Seán Delaney from Marino Institute of Education.  For practical ‎reasons, the evaluation was ‎limited to schools within the catchment area of two Education ‎Centres – Galway and Athlone, ‎and to Third-class pupils within the participating schools.  The ‎Centre’s evaluation: ‎
‎•    Reviewed the key characteristics of the programmes and related materials
‎•    Evaluated the fidelity with which participating schools implement the programme
‎•    Established the effects of each programme on the mathematical achievement ‎and attitudes of ‎pupils in participating schools
‎•    Established the effects of each programme on teachers’ mathematical ‎knowledge, teaching ‎practices, and attitudes in participating schools.‎
Participants (22 schools, 27 classes and almost 600 pupils) were assigned to one or ‎other ‎programme in a manner that maximised comparability on key features such as ‎school ‎location and pupils’ previous mathematics achievement.  All pupils were administered ‎the ‎DPMT Level 2 at the start of the 2013/14 academic year and the DPMT ‎Level 3 at the end ‎of the year.  ‎
Programme materials were reviewed, using a framework that compared content ‎covered and ‎cognitive demands placed on pupils.  Observation of mathematics lessons ‎taught by teachers in ‎each programme were used to establish the fidelity with which ‎participating teachers ‎implemented the programmes, and to identify differences in ‎practice that emerged between the ‎two groups of teachers.  Interviews with teachers and with ‎pupils, accompanied by start- and ‎end-of-year questionnaires (including a mathematical ‎knowledge questionnaire for teachers), ‎examined changes in attitudes, behaviour ‎and  knowledge related to mathematics.  ‎
The final report on the evaluation has been released and can be accessed here.‎