First Funding Phase


Peer-based prevention measures to promote basic mathematical skills

The project evaluates the prevention of difficulties in mathematic competencies through measures of a training program of early quantity-number competencies in kindergarten and schools. It is based on recent findings regarding effectiveness of (early) mathematical education as well as the peer-assisted learning method. It uses the multiply field-tested, developmental psychology-based training “Mengen, Zählen, Zahlen” (MZZ; Krajewski, Nieding, & Schneider, 2007).


Aim of the study was to examine whether prevention of mathematical difficulties through trainings of quantity-number competencies in kindergarten in comparison to trainings in Grade 1 show different effectiveness. Furthermore the study aimed to analyse whether the potential of the training could be optimized through a combination with peer-assisted methods. In addition, the mode of action and potentially relevant moderator variables were investigated.


The project implemented as a longitudinal design with a sample of 700 children.. Between 2010/12 and 2011/02 the first testings took place in kindergartens. In a subsequent first training phase early quantity-number competencies were trained as standard or peer-assisted method. Immediate trainings effects were monitored in a direct testing in kindergartens after the training phase. Shortly after entering Grade 1 a follow-up testing was conducted to evaluated long-term effects in the trained competencies. During Grade 1 there was a second training phase in which according to the objective of the project standard- vs. peer-assisted training was undertaken. Again, an immediate testing of the effects took place as well as follow-up testings in Grade 1 and 2.


The training provided prevented mathematical difficulties effectively. The effects were bigger in the beggining of the first school year than in kindergarten. This is remarkable, because only the beginning of teaching in mathematics was replaced with the development-oriented basical competency promotion training. Moreover the standard teacher-driven training through direct instruction - achieved better results than the peer-based training. The advantages compared to the control groups were evident for both children at risk as well as unobtrusive children.


  • Prof. Dr. Marco Ennemoser (Project management, Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen)
  • Prof. Dr. Kristin Krajewski (Project management, Justus Liebig-Universität Gießen)