Reading & Math, Inc.

Math Corps

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Grade Levels Group Size Tutor Type Students Per Tutor Per Year* Qualifying Studies Cost Per Student Average Effect Size
4-81-2/1-3AmeriCorps24-26 per tutor2$1200+0.20

*Estimated number of students a tutor can serve in a year.  This is based on an estimate of 9 sessions per day, and one-half year of tutoring for each student.

Contact Info

lindsay.dolce@servetogrow.org

Groups Studied
Black
Hispanic
White
Asian American
English Learners
Free Lunch

Communities Studied
Urban
Suburban
Rural

Program Description

Math Corps is a tutoring model that provides one-on-two—or one-on-three—math interventions for students in grades 4 through 8, using AmeriCorps members who embed into the school.  It was developed by ServeMinnesota and is disseminated by the non-profit, Reading and Math, Inc.

Video

Tutors

Tutors in Math Corps are part- or full-time AmeriCorps members who are comprehensively trained and fully supported by the program.  Schools partner with Reading and Math, Inc. to recruit community members to serve as the tutors. Schools also allocate a small portion of staff time to be trained in—and provide ongoing support for—implementing the program, including coaching tutors.

Full-time 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. Tutors usually tutor in person, but may also work online when in-person tutoring is not possible.

Students

Math Corps was designed for students in grades 4-8 who score below expectations on grade-level math skills, typically identified via state or comprehensive computer-based assessments. A school staff member selects eligible students for the tutor caseload based on assessment data the program helps collect.  Students receive 30 or 45 minutes of tutoring each session, for a total of 90 minutes 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.

Technology

None required. The only commitments required by schools that adopt Math Corps are (a) space for tutoring, (b) staff in-kind time (typically less than one day per month), and (c) agreement to use the program. 

Curriculum

Math Corps focuses on developing grade-level skills in working with whole and rational numbers, with a focus on operations and algebraic reasoning.  It is curriculum neutral but standards-aligned, and it uses evidence-based practice strategies that improve conceptual understanding, procedural proficiency, and word problem solving.

Assessments

Math Corps uses STAR Math assessments as well as within-program formative assessments to inform all decisions. STAR Math assessments have strong technical characteristics for reliability and criterion/predictive validity and are used in the fall for determining eligibility (via cut-scores that predict success on state accountability tests) and in follow-up seasonal benchmark periods. Regular formative assessments within the Math Corps instructional content inform when new skills and material is ready to be learned.  The Math Corps program provides access to a data management system that gives up-to-date reports on student performance as well as important dosage and fidelity information.  School staff and administration can access these data on-demand.

Program Operation

Initial training typically occurs before each school year (though mid-year starts are permitted).  The 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.  Additionally, the program assigns a Coaching Specialist to each school, who 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). 

Professional Development, Progress Monitoring, and Follow-up

Math Corps provides all training and ongoing professional development for tutors and school staff. The included data management system collects and reports on both student progress in math skills as well as tutor and program fidelity.  School and program staff collaborate on interpreting and responding to data on student progress and program fidelity.

Costs

Total Cost per FT Tutor (Approx.)$30,000
Costs per student (25 per tutor)$1,200

Notes: AmeriCorps typically covers approximately 50% of tutor costs.  When included, local, state, and philanthropic funding must cover approximately $15,000 per tutor, reducing per-pupil costs to about $600.

Research on Program Outcomes

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 in Math Corps demonstrated significantly higher scores relative to students assigned to the control group on the STAR Math assessment (effect size = +0.24). Effects were similar in elementary school grades 4-5 (effect size = +0.22) and middle school grades 6-8 (effect size = +0.26). 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 outperformed control students on both Star Math (effect size = +0.23) and on the state assessment (effect size = +0.12). Averaging across the two studies, weighting by sample size, the mean effect size was +0.20.


Key Studies

  • Parker, D. C., Nelson, P. M., Zaslofsky, A. F., Kanive, R., Foegen, A., Kaiser, P., & Heisted, D. (2019). Evaluation of a Math Intervention Program Implemented With Community Support. Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness12(3), 391-412. 
  • Codding, R., Nelson, P. M., Parker, D. C., Edmunds, R., & Klaft, J. (2021). Examining the impact of a tutoring program implemented with community support on math proficiency and growth. Manuscript submitted for publication.
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