Volume 24, Issue 1 (Spring 2022)                   Advances in Cognitive Sciences 2022, 24(1): 12-27 | Back to browse issues page

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Abbaspour A, Faramarzi S. The effect of educational interventions based on Piaget's cognitive approach on the math performance of students with a specific learning disorder. Advances in Cognitive Sciences. 2022; 24 (1) :12-27
URL: http://icssjournal.ir/article-1-1309-en.html
1- MA in Psychology and Education of Children with Special Needs, University of Isfahan, Isfahan, Iran
2- Associate Professor in Department of Psychology and Education of Children with Special Needs, Faculty of Education and Psychology, University of Isfahan, Isfahan, Iran
Abstract:   (428 Views)
Specific Learning Disorders (SLD), as a learning disorder, are neurodevelopmental and neurological disorders that commonly begin at early school age and might not be identified until adolescence or even young adulthood.
Specific Learning Disorders take different forms, and mathematics learning disorder is one of the most important. Students with mathematics disorders experience more problems across the grades because the math content is usually the basis for the next one. Therefore, an early educational intervention that takes into account students’ weaknesses and improves their performance seems necessary.
Also, various studies were conducted to improve children's mathematics performance with learning disorders. Different approaches and methods were used, among which this study might refer to the cognitive approach and Piaget’s teaching method. Piaget’s work on children’s cognitive development, primarily quantitative concepts in education, has attracted much attention and focuses on the developmental stages of children’s cognition.  That study on young children’s quantitative development has provided math educators with essential insights into how children learn math concepts and ideas.
According to the research literature, the question is whether education based on Piaget’s method can improve the mathematical performance of students with SLD. Since the research on this topic is still scanty, the present study can inspire the subsequent ones. Therefore, the most critical issue is whether the educational intervention based on Piaget’s cognitive approach effectively affects elementary-school students with specific learning disorders in mathematics.
The present study is a single-case experimental with an ABA design. A single-case study, sometimes called a single-subject or a time-series study involves intensive research on a limited number of individuals considered individually or as a single group. The statistical population of this study comprised all the fifth-grade elementary-school students with specific learning disorders in mathematics who were studying in the regular schools of the six education districts of Isfahan in the academic year of 2019-2020. The participants were selected by purposive sampling. This sampling aims to select subjects which provide a deep understanding of the subject matter for the researcher. For this purpose, students who were predicted to have a specific learning disorder in mathematics were initially identified by interviewing teachers. Then, the KeyMath Diagnostic Test was administered for a more accurate diagnosis, and finally, three students who met the inclusion criteria were selected. The inclusion criteria were being a fifth-grade elementary school student, average or above-average intelligence confirmed by Raven’s Progressive Matrices (children’s form), no visual or auditory impairment, no emotional-behavioral disturbance confirmed by a clinical psychologist and psychiatrist, poor performance in Iran KeyMath Diagnostic Test, and having no other comorbid disorders.
The exclusion criteria were the absence of more than two sessions, suffering a particular disease during the intervention period, and problems and disorders that affect the intervention process. The data were collected by Raven’s Progressive Matrices (children’s form), Iran KeyMath Diagnostic Test, and informal math tests.
The three students were evaluated four times before the intervention, and the Iran KeyMath Diagnostic Test and informal math tests were administered. During these four evaluation phases, no intervention was conducted to improve students’ math performance. Therefore, the baselines were determined. After the four baseline sessions, Piaget’s cognitive approach training package was taught individually to each participant. The intervention consisted of eight training sessions, one session per week, during which the participants received cognition training individually for 45 minutes, and each of them answered the informal test of mathematical performance. One month after the end of the eight sessions of educational interventions, students were followed up for three sessions, each session two weeks apart. The informal math tests were administered at the follow-up sessions.
The educational package was developed based on the diagnostic and learning activities in mathematics for children book written by Copeland and translated by Karimi and related articles and sources. Experts confirmed the content and face validity of the package. Thirty-two special activities for working with children were included in the educational package. These activities are grouped into four main areas: space, number, logical classification, and measurement. Children’s grouping in different age groups (age levels) varies according to how they function in each activity.
Based on the general diagram of the participants’ performances in the intervention sessions, reviewing the data of the three students showed that the average mathematical performance in the intervention (14.8) increased compared to the baseline (11.6) (in the direction of the intervention goal). In addition, the follow-up mean (16.7) increased compared to the intervention (14.8) (in the direction of the intervention). Also, the PND means between the intervention and baseline was 100%, and 33.33% between follow-up and intervention. Thus, the results indicated the effectiveness of the educational intervention based on Piaget’s cognitive approach to the mathematical performance of elementary-school students with specific learning disabilities. These results revealed the significant effect of the intervention, compared to the baseline and a decrease in the effectiveness of the intervention in the follow-up phase, compared to the intervention phase.
The results of data graph analysis revealed that cognitive education based on Piaget’s approach significantly improved the mathematical performance of students with math learning disorders. Although no study was conducted directly in line with the present study, the findings of this study are consistent with the previous studies. It is worth noting that low generalizability is one of the limitations of this study. Though single-case studies have more generalizability than single-subject ones, there will still be the problem of generalizing the results due to the small sample size. Given that students with specific learning disorders in mathematics need special training, the findings of this study can pave the way for further research and guide educators, teachers, and therapists in the field of specific learning disorders in mathematics.
Ethical Considerations
Compliance with ethical guidelines
In order to comply with the principles of research ethics, the purpose of the study was carefully explained to all participants, and they were assured that their information would be kept confidential and the study would be anonymous. Besides, the participants signed the informed consent form and had the right to leave the study at any time. This research met guidelines for ethical conduct and report of research.
Authors’ contributions
Arash Abbaspour (first author) participated in the study’s design, data collection, data analysis, and manuscript preparation; Salar Faramarzi (second and corresponding author) was involved in the article writing, review, and correction the article. Both authors read and approved the final version of the article.

This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or non-profit sector. This research was extracted from the Master's Thesis of the first author in the Department of Psychology and Education of Children with Special Needs, Faculty of Education and Psychology, University of Isfahan, Isfahan, Iran.
The author is grateful to all participants and those who facilitated the implementation of the research.
Conflict of Interest
The author declared no conflict of interest.
Full-Text [PDF 983 kb]   (217 Downloads)    
Type of Study: Research |
Received: 2021/07/20 | Accepted: 2022/03/10 | Published: 2022/05/10

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