Math Corps was designed for students in grades 4-8. School staff use easily-accessible, instructionally-relevant data to determine students who are eligible for the program and select eligible students for the tutor caseload. Full-time AmeriCorps tutors provide approximately 25 students 90 minutes of intervention support per week, in either 30-minute or 45-minute sessions. Part-time tutors provide the same amount of weekly support for between 12 and 15 students. Students receive 30 or 45 minutes of tutoring each session, two or three times per week, until math assessment data indicate they meet eligibility for exiting the program, after which time they are monitored until the end of the school year. Math Corps focuses on developing foundational skills in working with whole and rational numbers, with a focus on operations and algebraic reasoning. Tutoring is curriculum neutral but aligns to grade-level state and national standards, and uses evidence-based practice strategies that improve conceptual understanding, procedural proficiency, and word problem solving.
Two randomized studies have demonstrated Math Corps’ effectiveness in improving students’ math skills. Both studies were situated in a mix of urban, suburban, and rural schools across Minnesota with students in grades 4-8. The first study involved 489 students, 61% of whom were eligible for free or reduced-price lunch, 35% were White, 28% Black, 20% Asian, and 10% Hispanic. After one semester, students assigned to Math Corps demonstrated significantly higher scores relative to students assigned to the control group on the STAR Math assessment (effect size = +0.17). Among those who received the optimal dosage, results were even more robust (effect size = +0.24). The second study analyzed 675 students from 20 schools, 53% of whom were White, 24% Black, 11% Latinx, and 8% Asian. After one year, Math Corps students significantly outperformed control students on the Star Math assessment (effect size = +0.17) and also scored higher on the state assessment (effect size = +0.13). Averaging across the two studies, weighting by sample size, the mean effect size was +0.16. Both studies qualify Math Corps for the ESSA “Strong” level.
Our organization relies on the school partners to identify an Internal Coach who provides coaching support to tutors (6-9 hours per month per tutor) and all other staffing requirements are internal as we provide staff support for the tutors we hire who are AmeriCorps members. We hire a Program Manager and a Coaching Specialist in addition to the many staff at our headquarters who support the overall implementation of the program in all of our locations.
Initial training typically occurs before each school year (though mid-year starts are permitted). A school-appointed staff member provides on-demand support for tutors when scheduling students and interacting with teachers, as well as monthly coaching and feedback that focuses on ensuring high fidelity to the program. An assigned Coaching Specialist provides additional regular (e.g., monthly) coaching to both the tutor and the school staff member and supports all data-driven decision-making practices (e.g., eligibility; graph interpretation; exit decisions).
Access to an updated computer or similar electronic device.