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This review includes studies that assess the outcomes of interventions aimed at improving mathematical achievement in primary school-aged children. Forty-five randomised control trials were identified, in these studies children are randomly assigned to either a control or intervention group. This helps to make studies less biased. In addition, thirty-five quasi-experimental studies were also identified. No random allocation to groups occurred in these studies. Thus, the evidence base with these types of studies is weaker and it is suggested that these studies should be replicated using rigorous randomised control trial design.

All studies were published between 2000 and 2017. These studies were mostly conducted in the USA and Europe. All studies displayed methodological weaknesses. Therefore, these findings should be treated with caution.

Overall, the majority of included studies reported a positive impact of the intervention on at least one academic outcome measure. In addition, a small number of studies reported impact on secondary outcomes, such as attitudes or anxiety related to mathematics.

Watch this video to learn more about the main findings of this review:

Dr Victoria Simms summarises the findings of the review