Search form

Early Intervention Could Prevent Persistent Math Difficulties, Study Finds

Early Intervention Could Prevent Persistent Math Difficulties, Study Finds

A recent study published in the Journal of Learning Disabilities suggests that early screening and intervention may prevent persistent math difficulties for at-risk children.

The study "identifies at-risk children as being those as young as 2 years old from low socioeconomic status [SES] households; with cognitive and behavioral issues; and with vocabulary and reading difficulties," according to an article on

Previous studies have found that young children experiencing mathematics difficulties will likely continue to experience these difficulties as they grow older," the article said. "Yet researchers, policymakers and practitioners previously knew very little about which children are likely to experience PMD, according to Paul L. Morgan, associate professor of education in Penn State's College of Education and lead author of the study funded by the U.S. Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences.

Morgan said the "study strongly indicates that the SES status of the family matters quite a lot in terms of increasing children's risk of repeatedly experiencing low mathematics achievement," the article said.

"Schools can't do much to change a family's economic circumstances, but schools can decide how they allocate extra resources and how early they intervene to help children who seem to be struggling academically," Morgan said in the article.

According to the article, Morgan "suggested that early screening and intervention efforts for PMD should be happening systematically at school entry, which he believes often is more beneficial and cost-effective than providing them when children are older. He added that the findings indicate that interventions may need to be multi-faceted, so that they target both early mathematics and reading difficulties, and behavior problems. He added that struggles in mathematics increase children's risk for behavioral problems in school."

"Before entering school, children may not have much informal exposure to mathematics. Conversations and activities that include talking about mathematics may help reduce children's later struggles when they are being taught more formally in the elementary- and middle-school grades," Morgan said."It appears that children who struggle in mathematics often do not 'grow out of it,' and so a 'wait and see' approach might only have 'wait to fail' consequences for many children."

Read the full story and comment below.

Article by Kassondra Granata, Education World Contributor

Latest Education News
What better way to promote summer learning than to engage in STEM activities?
Why Singapore's math curriculum is creating the world's best and brightest in the subject.
Sexual assault cases persist from elementary school up through college, so what's the solution to make schools safer?
Some experts are arguing that more classrooms that utilize blended learning will help decrease the high number of...
Parents in the Hazelwood School District are no different than many parents across the country in that they don't...