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IES Grant

Title: Algebra Intervention for Measured Achievement—Full Year Curriculum
Center: NCER Year: 2007
Principal Investigator: Schneider, Steve Awardee: WestEd
Program: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education      [Program Details]
Award Period: 4 years Award Amount: $1,999,446
Goal: Development and Innovation Award Number: R305A070105
Description:

Purpose: As the international workplace becomes more technical, it increasingly reflects the problem-solving demands of mathematics, and algebra in particular. In 2005, 36 percent of fourth-graders and 30 percent of eighth-graders scored at or above the Proficient level in mathematics on the National Assessment of Educational Progress. On the 2000 National Assessment of Educational Progress, the most recent assessment of grade 12 students, 17 percent of grade 12 students scored at or above the Proficient level in mathematics. With more states and school districts mandating completion of algebra, teachers face the challenge of teaching a subject that is often misunderstood by even their best-prepared students. Providing effective algebra instruction for under-prepared students is even more difficult. The purpose of this project is to complete development of a full-year algebra curriculum that is specifically designed to target typical trouble spots in algebra, in order to facilitate student mastery of key algebra skills, and to conduct an initial evaluation of the curriculum.

Project Activities: Under a previous IES award, the researchers developed and tested curriculum materials for the first semester of Algebra I. Building on this work, the team is developing curriculum materials for the second semester of their curriculum, Algebraic Interventions for Measured Achievement. When the new modules are developed, the team will first evaluate the effect of the four new curriculum modules on student learning by conducting a randomized control trial in which at least 15 teachers will be randomly assigned to use the new modules in their high school algebra classes, and at least 15 teachers in the same schools will continue to teach their regular Algebra I curriculum covering the same topic as the new module. Next, a quasi-experiment will be conducted to examine the potential efficacy of all 10 (full-year) AIMA modules together in 30 treatment and comparison classrooms. The researchers are examining whether learning of algebra is better among students receiving the intervention compared to the standard curriculum.

Products: Products from this project include a full-year high school algebra curriculum, and published papers of the results of the initial evaluation of Algebraic Interventions for Measured Achievement.

Purpose: The purpose of this project is to complete development of a full-year algebra curriculum designed to target typical trouble spots in school algebra and to conduct an initial evaluation of the curriculum.

Setting: The research takes place in high schools in California.

Population: Students are ninth- and 10th-graders who are low-achieving in mathematics. The targeted schools serve a high percentage of minority students, students in poverty, and English Language Learners.

Intervention: Previously, the researchers developed the first-semester curriculum materials for the Algebraic Interventions for Measured Achievement program. This curriculum targets trouble spots in middle school and high school algebra, and is intended to facilitate mathematics learning of the lowest-achieving students. The Algebraic Interventions for Measured Achievement curriculum is currently comprised of six print-based modules: Signed Number Operations, Variables and Expressions, Proportional Reasoning, Patterns, the Coordinate Plane, and Inequalities. Using knowledge from research on learning mathematics, the researchers constructed this curriculum both to support students who are learning challenging algebra and to model effective instruction and provide support for teachers.

The current project builds on the six existing modules by adding an additional four topic areas: Beginning Number Theory, Rational Numbers, Variables and Equations, and Data and Probability. Together, the 10 topic areas comprise a full-year algebra curriculum.

Research Design and Methods: Upon completing the development of each module the research team is using an experimental research design to examine the effect of each newly developed curriculum module on students' algebra performance in the content area that is the focus of the module. Next, a quasi-experiment will be conducted to examine the potential efficacy of all 10 (full-year) AIMA modules together in 30 treatment and matched comparison classrooms. The researchers are examining whether learning of algebra is better among students receiving the intervention compared to the standard curriculum.

Control Condition: The comparison classrooms are using the existing algebra instruction already in place at their schools.

Key Measures: The primary achievement outcome measure is student performance on the Algebra California Standards Test, a criterion-referenced test that is aligned with state content standards.

Data Analytic Strategy: The primary hypothesis-testing analyses will involve fitting linear mixed effects ANCOVA models, with additional terms to account for the nesting of subjects within units of aggregation. Random effects include teacher and school site to account for within-site clustering. Potential fixed effects include treatment group, baseline achievement, and other observed covariates.

Related IES Projects: Algebraic Interventions for Measured Achievement (R305K040003)

Publications from this project:

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


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