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Number Rockets

Essa Rating
No. Studies
No. Students
Average Effect Size

Program Description

Number Rockets is a scripted tutoring approach used in first grades as a Tier 2 intervention with students struggling in math. Tutors are retired teachers and substitute teachers, who work with 2-3 children at a time. The curriculum is intended to build students’ conceptual understanding by starting with concrete tasks and moving toward abstract tasks and procedures, including math facts. Sessions are 40 minutes a day over 17 weeks, for a total of 63 days, and supplement students’ ordinary math instruction. Tutors receive one day of training before beginning, and two two-hour booster sessions afterwards.

Program Outcomes

One qualifying study evaluated Number Rockets with students below the 38th percentile in math. Students in the control group did not receive any tutoring or organized remediation. On TEMA-3 tests, students in Number Rockets scored significantly higher than controls, with an effect size of +0.34. This qualifies the program for the ESSA “Strong” category.

An earlier study of Number Rockets also showed positive effects, but the tutors were the authors’ graduate students, so that study did not meet inclusion standards.

Professional Development/Training

Training:  Sites schedule a 1-day tutor training workshop to be conducted on site by the program trainer. Training materials, including program manuals, are shipped to the training site (typically the school or district). Costs for the workshop are $1500, plus trainer’s travel expenses.

The tutor training workshop provides detailed program information, an overview of background research and theory, trainer modeling, and tutor practice. Trainees also are provided materials highlighting program information and implementation requirements and guidelines. Tutors practice entire lessons using program manuals, scripts, and supporting materials. The trainer provides instruction and feedback to tutors on techniques, procedures, and lesson content coverage.

Technical Support:  Implementers are encouraged to conduct regular meetings to cover upcoming lesson topics and address questions and challenges. The trainer is available by email and phone for technical support following the workshop. Fees are $50 per hour (pro-rated for less than one hour). On-site technical support may be scheduled and is subject to training workshop fees.

Materials:  Scripted manuals are required for program implementation. Number Rockets Manual -Book 1 (237 pages) contains lesson topics and detailed scripts for lesson content, feedback, and prompting.  Book 2 (353 pages) contains worksheets, posters, review sheets, progress and behavior monitoring forms, and other supporting material for each lesson.

Licensing fees, which allow photocopying of manuals for up to one year, may be paid at the time of the manual purchase and must be renewed annually to remain active. The licensing fee for Book 2 is required each year to photocopy supporting materials for students. The licensing fee for Book 1 is required to make any additional copies of scripts for tutors. Supplemental materials needed for program implementation include Base-10 Blocks units/cubes (approximately 20 cubes per student in a group) and rods (9-10 rods per student), available from school supply stores or online. One bag of dry beans per tutor is needed for concrete counting activities.