Cover Copy Compare

Study: Cieslar, McLaughlin, & Derby (2008)

Cieslar, W., McLaughlin, T. F., & Derby, K. M. (2008). Effects of the copy, cover, and compare procedure on the math and spelling performance of a high school student with behavioral disorder: A case report. Preventing School Failure: Alternative Education for Children and Youth, 52, 45-52. doi:10.3200/PSFL.52.4.45-52
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: Convincing Evidence

Risk Status: The participant (n=1) received special education services in reading, written language, and mathematics. He also had a behavior disorder. WIAT-II test results indicated that the student performed at a third grade level in mathematics.



Age / Grade



Socioeconomic Status

Disability Status

ELL Status

Other Relevant Descriptive Characteristics

Case 1: 

 16 years old, 9th grade


 Not reported

 Not reported

Received special education services in reading, written language, and mathematics. Diagnosed with behavior disorder.

 Not reported


Training of Instructors: Classroom teacher; student teacher (first author).

Design: Partially Convincing Evidence

Does the study include three data points or sufficient number to document a stable performance within that phase? Yes

Is there opportunity for at least three demonstrations of experimental control? Yes

If the study is an alternating treatment design, are there five repetitions of the alternating sequence? Not applicable

If the study is a multiple baseline, is it concurrent? Yes

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 reported.

Measures Targeted: Unconvincing Evidence

Measures Broader: Data Unavailable

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

Researcher-created math probe

Not reported

Matched program exactly



Broader Measure Reliability Statistics Relevance to Program Instructional Content Exposure to Related Content Among Control Group






Number of Outcome Measures: 1 Math

Mean ES - Targeted: N/A

Mean ES - Broader: N/A

Effect Size:

Visual Analysis (Single Subject Design): Partially Convincing Evidence

Description of the method of analyses used to determine whether the intervention condition improved relative to baseline phase (e.g. visual analysis, computation of change score, mean difference): Visual analysis

Results in terms of within and between phase patterns: Mean number correct in baseline was 1; during Copy Cover Compare it was 6.

Disaggregated Data for Demographic Subgroups: No

Disaggregated Data for <20th Percentile: No

Administration Group Size: Individual, Small Group

Duration of Intervention: 10 minutes, 3-7 sessions

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.

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. Hw., & 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