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.
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.
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