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Fraction Face-Off!

Blueprints Program Rating: Promising

A 12-week math tutoring program to improve the understanding of fractions for at-risk 4th graders through increased instruction on measurement interpretation of fractions.

Program Outcomes

  • Academic Performance

Program Type

  • Academic Services
  • Mentoring - Tutoring

Program Setting

  • School

Continuum of Intervention

  • Selective Prevention (Elevated Risk)


  • Late Childhood (5-11) - K/Elementary


  • Male and Female


  • All Race/Ethnicity


  • Blueprints: Promising

Program Information Contact

Lynn Davies
Vanderbilt University
PMB #228
110 Magnolia Circle, Suite MRL 418
Nashville, TN 37203-5721
Phone: (615) 343-4782

Program Developer/Owner

  • Lynn S. Fuchs
  • Vanderbilt University

Brief Description of the Program

This program seeks to improve the understanding of fractions for at-risk 4th graders through increased instruction on measurement interpretation of fractions. The 12-week program consists of 36 30-minute lessons that take place during the math block, math center, or intervention time. Tutors instruct three students on a sequence of content that focuses primarily on representing, comparing, ordering, and placing fractions on a 0 to 1 number line, but also includes attention to part-whole interpretation and fair shares representation. Four activities comprise each lesson: introduction of concepts and skills, group work, a speed game to build fluency, and individual work. Tutors also work with students to improve task-oriented behavior, teaching students what on-task behavior means, monitoring behavior, and providing students with prizes for on-task behavior. Full-time or part-time graduate-student employees serve as tutors and are trained to implement the manualized program in a 2-day workshop. Biweekly 1-hr meetings update tutors on upcoming topics and provide time to discuss problems.

Variations on the basic program involve special attention to 1) fluency practice using speed tests for flashcards, or 2) conceptual practice requiring students to explain their reasoning about fractions to the group.

See: Full Description


Compared to the control group, the intervention group improved on the following posttest outcomes:

  • compare fractions
  • fraction number line
  • fraction items
  • part-whole interpretation
  • measurement interpretation
  • fraction calculations

Risk and Protective Factors

Risk Factors
  • School: Poor academic performance
Protective Factors
  • School: Instructional Practice

See also: Fraction Face-Off! Logic Model (PDF)

Training and Technical Assistance

Tutor training takes place in a 1-day workshop (typically 7 hours) at the district or school site. The cost for the one-day workshop is $1,500 plus travel. For smaller sites, a half-day workshop is available at a cost of $1,000 plus travel. Appropriate workshop length may be discussed with the trainer at the time of scheduling. In the one-day training workshop for tutors, (a) an overview of the tutoring program, goals, and topics is presented, and (b) tutoring procedures are modeled and practiced for each activity in the first set of tutoring topics. Following demonstration by the trainer, tutors practice techniques and activities in pairs and receive feedback. Additional consultation with the trainer is available by email or phone following training. Instructors may be certified teachers or paraprofessionals.

The training agenda includes the following topics and activities:

  • Fraction Face-Off! Program and RTI Overview
  • Walk-Through of Manuals, Materials, Program Sequence
  • Use of Behavior Management and Point System
  • Implementation Fidelity
  • Trainer Modeling of Lesson Content and Activities
  • Tutor Practice of Lesson Content and Activities, with Feedback Provided by Trainer
  • Availability of Technical Support

Brief Evaluation Methodology

The randomized controlled trials determined the effects of a tutoring program for 4th grade children at risk of having problems learning fractions. Sampling 2-8 students per classroom, one study obtained 290 students from 53 4th grade classrooms in 13 schools, and another study obtained 277 students from 49 4th grade classrooms in 14 schools. Control group students received the usual classroom instruction and remediation classes.

Of the original 290 students in the first study, 31 (10.7%) either moved before the end of the study or had missing data. Of the 277 students in the second study, 34 (12.2%) moved before the end of the study. Screening was conducted in August and September and pretests were given in September and October. The interventions took place from late October to late March, and posttests were administered in early April (within 2 weeks of intervention ending). Key outcome measures included scores on fraction tests.

Peer Implementation Sites

Jenna Noonan Davis
4th-Grade Teacher
Glenview Elementary
1020 Patricia Dr.
Nashville, TN 37217



Fuchs, L. S., Schumacher, R. F., Long, J., Namkung, J., Hamlett, C. L., Cirino, P. T., ... Changas, P. (2013). Improving at-risk learners’ understanding of fractions. Journal of Educational Psychology, 105(3), 683-700.

Fuchs, L. S., Schumacher, R. F., Sterba, S. K., Long, J., Namkung, J., Malone, A., ... Changas, P. (2013). Does working memory moderate the effects of fraction intervention? An aptitude-treatment interaction. Journal of Educational Psychology, forthcoming. doi: 10.1037/a0034341