In terms of controlled experiments, then, yes. Note that most are opposite or orthogonal to virtually all pedagogical norms in math education.
Active recall. "Put away all your notes and textbooks and computers. Here is a blank piece of paper. Show me everything you've learned in the past couple of weeks."
Spaced repetition. You can certainly read about this elsewhere. :-)
Elaboration. "Don't just copy written steps. Tell me: How do you know this is true? How do you know it's useful? How can you check your work? What does it really mean?"
Interleaving. "Here are 12 word problems about a bakery. All the word problems involved the numbers 32 and 8, but you'll have to figure out whether it's division, multiplication, addition, subtraction, exponents, brackets, negatives, fractions, whatever. You need to learn to make those distinctions." More resources: SSDD Problems.
Multiple Representations. I assume you're already doing this, but in lower grades, it might be: "How can you represent the number of forks needed using those manipulatives? Can you draw it? Can you write the number in words? Can you write it using math symbols?" In upper grades, it's "What does this relationship look like as a graph? An equation? A story problem? Words? A table? A diagram? Can you tell me how they all represent the same information?"
Concrete examples. This has two implications. First, you should START with the concrete example. NOT "Here's two weeks of studying transformations and propreties of $f(x)=b^x$... and now here's a (magic) formula for compound interest. Now plug in these numbers." But rather, "How do credit cards work? What happens if you don't pay over time? Is it good to just add 2%/month to calculate what our debt will be in 10 years?" See Problem-Free Activity and Intellectual Need for more info. To this I'd add that students must be able to distinguish examples from superficially similar non-examples, plus they should be able to generate examples and non-examples on their own. Note that virtually NO textbooks or math courses emphasize any of this.
Alternating worked examples and exercises. Note that virtually ALL math textbooks have an information & example section first, then exercises after. At most they sprinkle some "Can you regurgitate/mimick?" tasks in
the information sections. Most math lessons follow the same structure. [Edit: I am unaware of scientific evidence on this, but it seems obvious that frequently walking around the class to see if your students are actually following the lesson should be helpful. Frequent alternating is one structure that allows this.]
Ask probing questions. My take on this: Fight confirmation bias. Do NOT ask "What can my students do?" [fertile ground for confirmation bias]. Instead, imagine a brilliant math teacher saying "I can prove right now that the apparent learning you perceive is all an illusion. The students didn't learn anything." How would that teacher prove their case? [And how often can most of us answer that question confidently?]
Read more at
Problems with these recommendations include [edited list]
- They ignore the problem of many students arriving in class with grossly inadequate prior knowledge.
- They surface lots of bad news and discomfort. Students and teachers are often shocked at the low performance. They infer struggles that these teaching methods are ineffective - if not outright harmful - despite overwhelming evidence from controlled experiments. If you implement these things, prepare for tremendous pushback.
- They don't help much with tight deadlines or most standardized tests.
So, I consider it a design problem to best implement those strategies into my pedagogy. And it's one helluva tough problem.
Looking elsewhere, JUMP Math does an extraordinary job of breaking math into small steps. This approach has been tested in an RCT against my country's former mainstream math textbook series and JUMP came out on top, by far.
IMHO, many of the problems generated by: (a) that mainstream math textbook series and (b) progressive approaches towards math education generally - are solved by the work of Peter Liljedahl. I am not personally familiar with the science or controlled experiments on this, but he has pretty vast experience and data.
If I think of anything else, I'll add it. :-)
Edit in response to @NotThatGuy 's comment. Here's more on confirmation bias. (Please read the hypothetical example linked before moving on.) Often, teachers think "Can my students do these calculations correctly? If yes, then they must have mastered the concepts!" That inference is, in a huge share of cases, an example of confirmation bias that pervades math education from kindergarten to middle and high school to community college up to physics at Harvard to Nobel Prize laureate-picked graduate students. Confirmation bias is practically everywhere in math education. Every math educator should be aware of this, they should stop inferring conceptual mastery from calculations, and prepare tasks and assessments that detect such illusions of learning.