**Mathematics Instruction for Students with Learning Disabilities or Difficulty Learning Mathematics – A Guide for Teachers [K-12] **

**Madhavi Jayanthi, Russel Gersten, Scott K. Baker**, Center on Instruction

05.2008

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**INTRODUCTION**

Historically, mathematics instruction for students with learning disabilities and at-risk learners has not received the same level of consideration and scrutiny from the research community, policy makers, and school administrators as the field of reading. A recent review of the ERIC literature base (Gersten, Clarke, & Mazzocco, 2007) found that the ratio of studies on reading disabilities to mathematics disabilities and difficulties was 5:1 for the years 1996–2005. This was a dramatic improvement over the ratio of 16:1 in the prior decade. Even though this is far from a large body of research, sufficient studies exist to dictate a course of action.

Recently, the Center on Instruction conducted a meta-analysis on the topic of teaching mathematics to students with learning disabilities (Gersten, Chard, Jayanthi, Baker, Morphy, & Flojo, 2008). A meta-analysis is a statistical method by which research studies on a particular method of instruction are summarized to determine the effectiveness of that instructional method. A meta-analysis helps combine findings from disparate studies to determine the effectiveness of a particular method of instruction.

In the meta-analysis on teaching mathematics to students with learning disabilities (LD), only studies with randomized control trials (RCTs) and high quality quasi-experimental designs (QEDs) were included. In an RCT, the study participants (or other units such as classrooms or schools) are randomly assigned to the experimental and control groups, whereas in a QED, there is no random assignment of participants to the groups.

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