TIME Clinic Develops Iceberg Models for Mathematics Intervention

an iceberg, visible above water, and underwater

Researchers at the Tutoring Intervention & Mathematics Enrichment – or TIME Clinic are developing and piloting diagnostic iceberg models to be used as intervention tools for instruction of students who struggle with mathematics. Iceberg models are organizers of students’ knowledge designed to identify areas of students’ mathematical understanding which require remediation. The iceberg model uses a metaphor image in which the tip of the iceberg above the water level represents the mastery of a skill or concept and the body of the iceberg below the water level represents the knowledge, understandings, and skills a student needs for mastery of the concept or skill. The more basic the skill, the lower it is placed on the iceberg. Children often struggle with mathematics because they have not mastered skills and sub-concepts beneath the tip of the iceberg. Iceberg models, developed through a review of the literature by the clinic director make it possible to identifying students’ underlying mathematical difficulties. For each component of the models, assessments have been developed. Student responses to the assessments are scored and results are entered into the model, providing a visual picture of students’ mathematical understanding.

The models developed can be used at an individual, class or district level. At the individual level, an iceberg model is used to identify learning needs of one student, making it possible for instructors to identify and remediate a child’s learning gaps. At a class level, student scores for the entire class can be summarized on one iceberg making it possible for teachers to identify concepts which need further development and to identify students who need intervention instruction. Assessments can also be administered at the end of a mathematics instructional unit to determine the effectiveness of the instructional sequence. Similarly, data can be collected from multiple classrooms to evaluate the effectiveness of a mathematics program implementation at the district level. As an intervention tool, the iceberg model has great potential to be used by teachers and tutors to impact learning for all children in mathematics. Through research collected in the Early Childhood Education Research Center TIME Clinic sessions, the models and assessments are being refined, remediation activities are being developed, and additional models are being designed. Models, assessments and activities will be made available to teachers.

Iceberg concept diagram

Support the TIME Clinic

For more information about how you can support the TIME Clinic so that an elementary child can receive mathematics tutoring services and reach their full potential in mathematics, please contact Frank Stewart, Director of Development, Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services.

Contact the Director

For more information about the TIME Clinic, contact the TIME Clinic Director, Dr. Arla Westenskow via email or at 801-540-7063 or Dr. Patricia Moyer-Packenham, Director, Mathematics Education and Leadership Programs.