Erikson’s Early Math Collaborative to develop new research tool

The Institute for Education Sciences (IES) recently awarded Erikson’s Early Math Collaborative a four-year, $1.4 million dollar federal grant to develop and validate a new research tool called Evaluating Quality Interactions in Preschool Math (EQUIP-M). At this time, there is no widely used measure of preschool mathematics instruction. Most math-related observation tools are for use by elementary and high schools, so Erikson is leading the effort to evaluate the quality of math instruction in early childhood settings.

“The most exciting thing about the EQUIP-M tool is the way it describes excellent early math teaching, by focusing on interactions between teachers and students,” explains Jennifer McCray, MS ’99, PhD 08, principal investigator for the grant.  “We hope that EQUIP-M will help to set a standard of excellence in early math teaching that will make a real difference in the math learning of young children.”

The EQUIP-M research tool uses observations of how teachers and children engage with each other and mathematics to assess the quality of the interaction across 8 dimensions.  Some of the activities that the EQUIP-M team will observe are the teachers working with small groups, teachers reading and discussing mathematical books, or teachers leading a daily routine that is infused with math.

“Our goal is to develop a tool that helps many more teachers provide the best math instruction possible for very young children,” McCray says. “We are honored to have been chosen to conduct this research and look forward to how our tool will contribute to this important area of knowledge.”

The Collaborative will start recruiting childcare centers and teachers to collect videos of mathematical interactions to analyze in spring 2019.


The Early Math Collaborative at Erikson Institute expands access to math for young children by reaching childcare providers, early childhood teachers, and teacher educators through professional development, research, publications, conference presentations, and a robust online presence.

Learn more about our Early Math Collaborative here.