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IES Grant

Title: Algebraic Interventions for Measured Achievement
Center: NCER Year: 2004
Principal Investigator: Schneider, Steve Awardee: WestEd
Program: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education      [Program Details]
Award Period: 3 years Award Amount: $1,483,071
Goal: Development and Innovation Award Number: R305K040003

In the United States, student proficiency in algebra is consistently low. Black and Hispanic students have proficiency levels substantially lower than that of White students. Concurrently, the demands of the workplace require the analytic and problem solving skills learned as part of algebra. In addition, as No Child Left Behind has raised the standards of performance for all students, parents and teachers are looking for additional ways to help students learn.

The purpose of this project is to develop and assess the potential of a curriculum designed to strengthen students' mastery of key algebra skills by addressing those specific, typical barriers to traditional school algebra.

To address the problem of low achievement in algebra, researchers have developed an algebra intervention curriculum grounded in accepted research on how people learn. They have created targeted curriculum providing learning experiences that reinforce, refresh, or re-teach important concepts introduced in the classroom.

The curriculum focuses on key "trouble spots" in algebra that typically cause difficulty either because students lack prerequisites, they have misunderstood the content, or because the material is complex and students need more time and practice with the topic. These topic areas include: Signed Number Operations, Variables and Expressions, Ratio and Proportion, Patterns, Coordinate Plane, and Inequalities. Each module is accompanied by teacher support materials and a profession development component.

The first three modules were field tested in the Fall of 2005. The field testing took place throughout California with over 1000 students participating. In the Spring of 2006, the next three modules were tested in the same classrooms. The results of the field studies provided formative data for the development team to revise the modules to improve them further.

During the 2006-07 school year a controlled, randomized study on two modules, Patterns and The Coordinate Plane, has been underway. The researchers are testing the students to see if the modules are more effective compared to the standard algebra curriculum, and to see if the revised modules lead to better student performance when compared to the achievements gained using the initial versions of the modules.

Development on four new modules will begin in the summer of 2007. The addition of these four modules will result in a full year of intervention curriculum.

Related IES Projects:Algebra Intervention for Measured Achievement—Full Year Curriculum (R305A070105)

Publications from this project:

WestEd (2010). AIM for Algebra. It's about Time: Mount Kisco, NY.