The Effects of an Equine-Based Mathematics Curriculum on Academic Engagement Behavior – 2014



Laura Bassette, Sarah Templin



The purpose of this study was to measure academic engagement behavior in students with disabilities during an equine-based math curriculum compared to the traditional special education math curriculum. A repeated measures within subjects design was used to examine level of academic engagement and off-task behavior in six students with disabilities during an equine based functional math curriculum at an equine assisted activity center (i.e., curriculum that includes live horses and horse materials) compared to traditional mathematics instruction at school (i.e., no live horses or horse materials). Student behavior was recorded using the Behavioral Observation of Students in Schools (BOSS) code (Shapiro, 1996). Results indicate that students displayed a higher frequency of engagement during the equine-based curriculum. Areas for future research including effectively utilizing animals in special education curricula and the role of animal assisted interventions in learning are discussed.