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Improvement of Elementary Fractions Instruction: Randomized Controlled Trial Using Lesson Study with a Fractions Resource Kit


FCR–STEM faculty are guiding the research methodology for an IES-funded efficacy study testing the impacts of lesson study and a fractions resource kit, separately and in combination, on the mathematics achievement of third and fourth graders.

In lesson study, groups of teachers select a topic of focus, usually a challenging topic to teach. Working collaboratively, the group spends time studying the topic, planning a research lesson, collecting observational data during implementation of a research lesson, and discussing what they learned through the research lesson with a focus on the effect of the instructional approach on students.

Developed and pilot tested by researchers at Mills College, the fractions resource kit provides support for teachers in ways that is similar to those available to Japanese teachers for conceptualizing and teaching fractions, and teachers use the lesson study process to learn about the subject matter and effective instructional practice.

A total of 76 participating schools in the United States will be randomly assigned to one of four conditions: Control; Lesson Study only; Fractions Kit only; and both Lesson Study and Fractions Kit. In school year 2016–2017, student and teacher knowledge of fractions will be measured before and after fractions instruction. Other data includes videos of classroom instruction and teacher meetings as well as teachers’ activity logs. Multilevel modeling will be used to estimate the treatment effect and to test for potential moderators. A multilevel path analysis will explore potential mediators.

Principal Investigator

Catherine Lewis, Mills College

Co-Principal Investigator
Robert C. Schoen, Ph.D., FCR–STEM Associate Director

Key Personnel at Florida State University
Mark LaVenia, FCR–STEM

Claire Riddell, FCR–STEM


Institute of Education Sciences, $3.5 million, 2015­–2019. This project is supported by the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), U.S. Department of Education, through Grant # R305A150043 to Mills College.