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Teaching Fractions Toolkit

Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Midwest is partnering with the Illinois State Board of Education and Illinois school districts to strengthen grade 6 students’ conceptual understanding of fractions and how to solve fraction computation, ratio, and rate problems. The partnership aims to narrow gaps in math achievement among Illinois student groups farthest from opportunity. To achieve this goal, the partnership will develop, evaluate, and refine a Teaching Fractions Toolkit. The toolkit will include professional development and supports for grade 6 math teachers on evidence-based practices for teaching fractions, rational number computation, and related concepts. It will also include supports for math leaders and school/district administrators to reinforce the broader trajectory of fraction understanding across grades PK-8.

Current Projects

REL Midwest will develop the Teaching Fractions Toolkit to support teachers to enact evidence-based practices summarized in the What Works Clearinghouse practice guide, Developing Effective Fractions Instruction for Kindergarten Through 8th Grade. Drawing on the recommendations and implementation steps outlined in the practice guide, the toolkit will address both teacher understanding of fraction computation, rates, and ratios as well as implications for classroom practice related to fractions content for grade 6 teachers. The Teaching Fractions Toolkit will include teacher supports for grade 6 teachers—six professional development modules as well as tools to monitor instruction—and supports to develop the knowledge of leaders who support these teachers, including informational videos, infographics, and checklists for monitoring conditions for successful use of the toolkit.

REL Midwest will conduct an efficacy evaluation to rigorously test the efficacy of the Teaching Fractions Toolkit in improving teacher self-efficacy and practices for fraction computation and rate and ratio instruction as well as student learning outcomes in grade 6 mathematics. The evaluation will use a blocked randomized controlled trial (RCT) design in which schools within each district or within each block of similar schools will be randomly assigned to receive the toolkit. The evaluation will be conducted in 40 Illinois schools during the 2024/25 school year.

No completed projects at this time.

Event Type: Webinar | Event Date: March 21, 2024
Time: 1:00 p.m.–1:50 p.m. CT Location: Virtual Description: This webinar highlighted strategies for teaching fractions and the research-based professional development and resources offered through a study with the Teaching Fractions Toolkit (TFT) partnership...
Event Type: In-person Event | Event Date: December 07, 2023
Time: 1:00 p.m. ET Location: National Academy of Sciences, PreK-12 STEM Education Innovations, Committee Meeting 2, Washington, DC Description: REL Midwest will present on its STEM-focused partnerships in Illinois and Wisconsin to the National Academies...
Product Type: Blog | Publication Date: September 22, 2023
Research indicates that virtual versions of physical manipulatives offer several advantages that make them a powerful tool to help students visualize and make sense of fractions. In this blog post, a member of the team developing REL Midwest’s Teaching...
Product Type: Blog | Publication Date: March 28, 2023
Learn about five evidence-based themes for improving middle school students’ math engagement and learning, as featured in a REL Midwest documentary produced in collaboration with WTTW Chicago Public Broadcasting Station and featuring educators at Jonathan...
Product Type: Video | Publication Date: March 2023
Math engagement is a crucial building block for middle school learners to understand key concepts, which can help to prepare students for success in advanced math. Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Midwest created this 30-minute documentary in collaboration...
Product Type: Blog | Publication Date: February 08, 2023
With the start of 2023, we begin the second year of REL Midwest’s current five-year cycle of work.
Product Type: Resource | Publication Date: January 2023
The Teaching Fractions Toolkit (TFT) partnership is working with the Illinois State Board of Education and school districts in Illinois to strengthen grade 6 students’ conceptual understanding of fractions and how to solve fraction computation, ratio...
Product Type: Blog | Publication Date: October 03, 2022
The math skills students develop in middle school are critical for success in the higher level math courses they will encounter in high school and beyond...
Product Type: Blog | Publication Date: July 12, 2022
A strong understanding of fractions lays the groundwork for later success in mathematics...
Product Type: Resource | Publication Date: June 2022
REL Midwest works with educators in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin to support the use of evidence and data to improve student outcomes. In particular, REL Midwest seeks to address priorities related to the needs and...
Partnership | Approved Date: N/A
Supporting Illinois teachers in addressing gaps in students’ mathematics achievement with a focus on fractions. The partnership will draw on a What Works Clearinghouse practice guide to develop an educator toolkit.
Partnership | Approved Date: N/A
Supporting Ohio high schools in identifying policies and practices misaligned with the needs of students of color and students receiving special education services as a way to improve school climates and reduce disparities in discipline referrals.
Partnership | Approved Date: N/A
Partnering with school districts in Indiana to strengthen high-quality career pathways and programs of study at the secondary level, with a focus on increasing student participation in immersive work-based learning (WBL).
Partnership | Approved Date: N/A
Supporting Michigan educators and school leaders in integrating evidence-based strategies and culturally responsive practices into K–1 literacy instruction, with a focus on phonological awareness and phonics.
Partnership | Approved Date: N/A
Supporting Iowa middle school leaders in using data and culturally responsive practices with the goal of reducing racial/ethnic disparities in students’ sense of belonging, discipline referrals, and absenteeism.
Partnership | Approved Date: N/A
Supporting Wisconsin grade 6 teachers in integrating computational thinking and student-focused practices into mathematics instruction, with the aim of improving students’ mathematics engagement and achievement.
Partnership | Approved Date: N/A
Supporting Minnesota school leaders in promoting favorable working conditions and in retaining teachers of color and Indigenous teachers.

REL Midwest Logic Model (302 KB)

REL Midwest Logic Model