Cover Copy Compare

Study: Cressey & Ezbicki (2008)

Cressey, J., & Ezbicki, K. (2008). Improving automaticity with basic addition facts: Do taped problems work faster than cover, copy, compare? NERA Conference Proceedings, Paper 12.
Descriptive Information Usage Acquisition and Cost Program Specifications and Requirements Training

Cover Copy Compare is a general strategy for building fluency with math facts or other math skills (e.g., numeral identification). When applying this strategy to math, a student (a) looks at a correctly-answered problem, (b) covers the problems with a card or bookmark, (c) copies the entire problem, and (d) uncovers the original problem and compares the written work to the original.

A typical Cover Copy Compare worksheet involves 8-10 problems that are related (e.g., all division facts with 7 as the divisor). Students work individually on Cover Copy Compare, so teachers can use the practice in whole-class, small-group, or individual settings. Cover Copy Compare worksheets can be created by any teachers for any math skill that requires building fluency. There is no formal program to purchase. Some versions of the Copy Cover Compare method recommend that the student (a) copy a correctly-answered problem, (b) cover both, (c) write the problem from memory, and (d) compare the version from memory to the other two problems.

Cover Copy Compare is intended for use in grades K-12. It is designed for use with any student at risk of academic failure. The academic area of focus is math, with particular emphasis on computation, whole number arithmetic, fractions, and numbers and decimals (rational number).

Many research and practitioner articles have been published that discuss using Cover Copy Compare (or Copy Cover Compare) to increase math fluency. For early research on Cover Copy Compare, see Skinner, Turco, Beatty, and Rasavage (1989).

Cover Copy Compare is a non-commercial intervention and, therefore, does not have a formal pricing plan.

Copy Cover Compare is designed for students working individually, though instructors may engage small or large groups in the activity.

Copy Cover Compare is administered for 5-10 minutes per session. 5 sessions are recommended per week until fluency is established.

No technology is required.

A school staff person at any level can provide instruction on Cover Copy Compare. For implementation, instructors must be familiar with the Cover Copy Compare procedure and teach the procedure to students. The program does not assume that the instructor has expertise in a given area. 


Participants: Unconvincing Evidence

Sample size: 37 students attending a short-term residential treatment program (18 program, 19 control.)

Risk Status: Students were from a short-term residential treatment program for children with serious emotional and behavioral challenges. Close to 100% of students were eligible for special education services under the category of emotional and behavioral disability.





p of chi square





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ELL status

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Training of Instructors: Classroom teachers had been hired as summer teaching interns for the program. Teacher ages ranged from 19-27 with 0-3 years of experience working with children. 

Design: Unconvincing Evidence

Did the study use random assignment?: Yes

If not, was it a tenable quasi-experiment?: Not applicable

If the study used random assignment, at pretreatment, were the program and control groups not statistically significantly different and had a mean standardized difference that fell within 0.25 SD on measures used as covariates or on pretest measures also used as outcomes?:  Yes

If not, at pretreatment, were the program and control groups not statistically significantly different and had a mean standardized difference that fell within 0.25 SD on measures central to the study (i.e., pretest measures also used as outcomes), and outcomes were analyzed to adjust for pretreatment differences? Not applicable

Were the program and control groups demographically comparable at pretreatment?: No

Was there attrition bias1Yes

Did the unit of analysis match the unit for random assignment (for randomized studies) or the assignment strategy (for quasi-experiments)?: No

1 NCII follows guidance from the What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) in determining attrition bias. The WWC model for determining bias based on a combination of differential and overall attrition rates can be found on pages 13-14 of this document:


Fidelity of Implementation: Unconvincing Evidence

Describe when and how fidelity of treatment information was obtained: Not reported.

Provide documentation (i.e., in terms of numbers) of fidelity of treatment implementation: Not applicable.

Measures Targeted: Partially Convincing Evidence

Measures Broader: Data Unavailable

Targeted  Measure Reliability Statistics Relevance to Program Focus Exposure to Related Content Among Control Group

Mathematics Curriculum-Based Measurement (M-CBM; Shinn, 2005)

Internal consistency, test-retest reliability, and interscorer agreement = 0.93. Alternate-form reliability was 0.91.


In typical instruction


Number of Outcome Measures: 1 Math

Mean ES - Targeted: -0.49u

Mean ES - Broader: Data Unavailable

Effect Size:

Targeted Measures

Construct Measure Effect Size
Math M-CBM -0.49u

Broader Measures

Construct Measure Effect Size
*      p ≤ 0.05
**    p ≤ 0.01
***  p ≤ 0.001
–      Developer was unable to provide necessary data for NCII to calculate effect sizes
u      Effect size is based on unadjusted means
†      Effect size based on unadjusted means not reported due to lack of pretest group equivalency, and effect size based on adjusted means is not available


Visual Analysis (Single Subject Design): N/A

Disaggregated Data for Demographic Subgroups: No

Disaggregated Data for <20th Percentile: No

Administration Group Size: Individual, Small Group

Duration of Intervention: 10 minutes, 5 times a week, 4 weeks

Minimum Interventionist Requirements: School staff, Familiarity with Cover Copy Compare strategy

Reviewed by WWC or E-ESSA: No

What Works Clearinghouse Review

This program was not reviewed by What Works Clearinghouse.


Evidence for ESSA

This program was not reviewed by Evidence for ESSA.

Other Research: Potentially Eligible for NCII Review: 6 studies

Codding, R. S., Chan-lannetta, L., Palmer, M., & Lukito, G. (2009). Examining a Class-Wide Application of Cover-Copy-Compare with and without Goal Setting to Enhance Mathematics Fluency. School Psychology Quarterly, 24, 173-185. doi:10.1037/a0017192

Codding, R. S., Shiyko, M., Russo, M., Birch, S., Fanning, E., & Jaspen, D. (2007). Comparing Mathematics Interventions: Does Initial Level of Fluency Predict Intervention Effectiveness? Journal of School Psychology, 45, 603-617. doi:10.1016.j.jsp.2007.06.005

Mong, M. D., & Mong, K. W. (2010). The Efficacy of Two Mathematics Interventions for Enhancing Fluency with Elementary Students. Journal of Behavioral Education, 19, 273-288. doi:10/1007/s10864-010-9114-5

Parkhurst, J., Skinner, C. H., Yaw, J., Poncy, B., Adcock, W., & Luna, E. (2010). Efficient Class-Wide Remediation: Using Technology to Identify Idiosyncratic Math Facts for Additional Automaticity Drills. International Journal of Behavioral Consultation and Training, 6(2), 111-123.

Poncy, B. C., McCallum, E., & Schmitt, A. J. (2010). A Comparison of Behavioral and Constructivist Interventions for Increasing Math-Fact Fluency in a Second-Grade Classroom. Psychology in the Schools, 47, 917-930. doi:10.1002/pits.20514

Poncy, B. S., Skinner, C. H., & McCallum, E. (2012). A Comparison of Class-Wide Taped Problem and Cover, Copy, and Compare for Enhancing Mathematics Fluency. Psychology in the Schools, 49, 744-755. doi:10/1002/pits.21631