For Teachers | For Administrators | For Families | For Researchers | For Staff
Information for Researchers

The goal of the project, Scaling Up TRIAD: Teaching Mathematics for Understanding with Trajectories and Technologies, is to address the goals of the Interagency Educational Research Initiative (IERI, a combination of the U.S. Dept. of Education's IES, NSF, and NIH) by scaling up the implementation of the TRIAD (Technology-enhanced, Research-based, Instruction, Assessment, and professional Development) intervention, developed in our initial IERI project. This "proof-of-concept" project produced evidence of TRIAD's effectiveness, but only on a limited scale (4 to 35 classrooms in different studies). Effective scale up considers not only an increase in the number of classrooms, but also increased diversity of settings, increased complexity, and challenges of sustainability. It uses strategies to avoid the dilution and pollution that often plagues such efforts and achieve broad success. See the Research link above for the findings from the initial, "proof-of-concept" TRIAD study. Other links and downloads are at the bottom of this page.

Potential Contribution of the Project

As do most successful systemic interventions, this addresses critical educational problems. First, children who live in poverty or are of linguistic and ethnic minorities show low math achievement, because they lack support from homes and schools. Focused PreK interventions can result in dramatic increases in achievement. Unfortunately, scaling up such interventions has not been attempted. Second, we need transferable, sustainable, practical examples of scale up based on empirical evidence of the effectiveness in varied settings over extended time periods-all leading to refined, generalizable theories and models of scale up.

The math intervention: The TRIAD intervention increases math achievement in young children, especially those at risk, by means of a high-quality implementation of the NSF-funded Building Blocks math curriculum (click here or for more information, go to the Building Blocks Web site), with all aspects of the curriculum based on a common core of learning trajectories through which children develop. TRIAD not only provides these curriculum materials, but also professional development, including distance education, an innovative Web application that supports teaching based on learning trajectories, and classroom coaching. This application can be reached from the Building Blocks LT's button above for those involved in the project; others can see example screens.


The Population

Participants are approximately 180 PreK teachers and 2160 children in Boston, MA, Buffalo, NY, and Nashville, TN. From each PreK classroom, 12 kindergarten-intending children will be randomly selected for assessment, and they will be followed through grade 1. The schools serve low-achieving populations, but their settings and racial/ethnic and socioeconomic compositions of students are diverse. Samples are drawn from urban and rural settings and include varying racial mixes.

The Research Methods

We are using a multisite cluster randomized experimental design that enables a formal test of the generalizability of TRIAD's impact over the varied settings in which it may ultimately be implemented. Schools will be randomly assigned to one of three conditions, Experimental, Experimental-Follow Through, and Comparison. We will examine the fidelity of implementation and assess the immediate and long-range effects of the intervention. We will employ hierarchical linear models (HLMs) to measure and examine the effects of the intervention on individual students' mathematics performance trajectories and account for possible variations of the effects among varied school/classroom settings. In addition, we will measure the sustainability of the intervention using fidelity of implementation and classroom observation instruments. Our teacher questionnaire and coach/mentor reports will triangulate these data, indicating whether teachers' commitment to, and classroom performance in teaching, the curriculum was sustained.