• Reciprocal Peer Tutoring to Improve Math Achievement

    Math Computation Intervention

    Instructional Focus

    Grade Level



    Additional Information

    Fidelity Checklist

    Math Calculation

    Math Fluency

    Math Confidence


    1, 2

    30 minutes per session, 3-5 sessions per week

    Project Success

    Reading Rockets

    Description / Directions

    Materials Needed

    · Reinforcement Menus with activity rewards, one per student pair

    · “Team Score Cards,” consisting of 3” by 5” index cards or sheets of paper, one per student pair per week

    · Stickers for team score cards

    · Flashcards with math problems printed on the front and the problem plus computational steps and answers printed on the back, one problem per card, one set of cards per student pair

    · Sheets of paper divided into four sections: “try 1,” “try 2,” “help,” “try 3”

    · Instructional prompt cards or sheets with specific instructions related to common mistakes in solving math problems, one per student pair

    · Problem drill sheets with 10 or more problems, one per student per session

    · Answer sheets for problem drill sheets, one per student per session (optional)


    1.   Assess students’ current level of math performance by calculating percent-correct scores on daily math drill sheets or weekly quizzes, administering Curriculum-Based Math Probes, and/or observing students’ behavior during math work periods.

    2.   Tell the students that they will be learning to work in teams to help each other do well in math.

    3.   Divide the class into pairs.  Provide each pair with a Reinforcement Menu listing activity rewards.  Help each pair select a reward for the day.

    4.   Meet weekly with each team to help the students select their team goal.

    5.   After each pair has chosen a team goal, have the pairs record their expected individual contribution to the team (individual goals), the sum of the individual goals (team goal), and their choice of a reward on the team score card.

    6.   Give a set of flashcards to each pair, and tell the students to choose who will act as “teacher” first.

    7.   Have the “teachers” hold up the flashcards for the students, and tell the students to work the problem on their worksheets in the section marked “try 1” while their teachers observe their work.

    8.   If the problem is solved correctly, the teachers praise the students and present the next problem.  If the solution is incorrect, the teachers give students instructional prompts read from a prompt card and tell them to try again in the worksheet section marked “try 2.”

    9.   If the students do not solve the problem correctly on the second try, teachers help them by computing the problem in the “help” section of the worksheet.  As teachers work the problem, they explain what they are doing at each step and answer students’ questions.  Then the teachers tell the students to work the problem again in the “try 3” section.  If teachers have trouble answering students’ questions, they can ask the classroom teacher for help.

    10.  After 10 minutes, signal the pairs to switch roles for a second 10-minute tutoring session.

    11.  During tutoring sessions, walk around the room supervising and identifying strategies “teachers” can use to help their students.

    12.  After the second tutoring session, give each student a problem drill sheet and have students work on their own for a fixed period of time, such as 7 to 10 minutes.

    13.  Have students switch papers with their team partner.  Have them use an answer sheet to correct their partner’s work or provide the correct answers yourself as students check papers.

    14.  Have the pairs first determine their team’s total score by counting the number correct, and then have them compare their team score with their team goal to see if they have “won” (met their goal).

    15.  If a team wins, give the students a sticker to put on their scorecard for that day.  After five wins, schedule a time when the team can engage in the previously selected reward activity.

    16.  Evaluate the intervention by repeating the first step and comparing results.


    Rewards can also be provided on a weekly classwide basis rather than on a daily team basis when a predetermined percentage of teams meet their goals 4 out of 5 days during the week.  Deliver the rewards to the entire class on Friday.

    RESOURCES: Effective School Interventions by Natalie Rathovan, Effects of reciprocal peer tutoring on mathematics and school adjustment: A component analysis by J.W. Fantuzzo and L.R. Heller