WWC review of this study

Variables and constants: a2i accessing algebra through inquiry (Final report)

Allen, A., Moylan, A., Rockman, S., & Sloan, K. (2017). San Francisco, CA: Rockman et al. https://rockman.com/docs/downloads/Valid18_a2i_Final-Report-9.22.2017.pdf.

  • Quasi-Experimental Design
    , grades

Reviewed: December 2021

No statistically significant positive
Meets WWC standards with reservations
General Mathematics Achievement outcomes—Indeterminate effect found for the domain
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
Significant? Improvement

New York State Regents Examination in Common Core Algebra

Accessing Algebra Through Inquiry (a2i) vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Full sample (June 2014-15 or 2015-16 cohorts);
2,002 students





New York State Regents Examination in Common Core Geometry

Accessing Algebra Through Inquiry (a2i) vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Full sample (2015-2016 geometry cohort);
1,190 students





Evidence Tier rating based solely on this study. This intervention may achieve a higher tier when combined with the full body of evidence.

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.

  • 8% English language learners

  • Female: 50%
    Male: 50%

  • Urban
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    New York
  • Race
    Other or unknown
  • Ethnicity
    Not Hispanic or Latino    


Both intervention and comparison schools were selected from the 71 high schools that are part of the New Visions for Public Schools network in New York City. Participating students were in Algebra I or Geometry courses that were taught by Accessing Algebra Through Inquiry (a2i) teachers.

Study sample

Most students included in the analytic sample were Black or Hispanic. Fifty-nine percent of students in the analysis sample were Hispanic or Latino, 32% were Black, 5% were Asian, and 2% were White. Twenty percent of students had individualized education programs (IEPs), and 8% were English Learners.

Intervention Group

The Accessing Algebra Through Inquiry (a2i) initiative develops high quality formative assessment processes to help teachers implement high standards in mathematics and create effective learning environments. Teachers receive intensive training and guidance in how to design and implement these formative assessment processes to improve student achievement. The major categories of support for teachers include: (a) inquiry teams focused on data-driven instructional practices in algebra and geometry, (b) adaptable formative assessment lessons and strategies to inform those practices, and (c) instructional specialists or coaches to guide teachers in translating assessment feedback into instructional practices. By changing teachers' and schools' practices, a2i aims to increase students' math learning and achievement, as well as their confidence and interest in math.

Comparison Group

The comparison condition consisted of Algebra I and Geometry courses taught by high school teachers in non-a2i schools. The teachers in comparison schools had some access to resources about inquiry teams and formative assessment, as well as support from instructional specialists; however, the consistency and level of engagement with those resources was expected to be far greater in a2i schools.

Support for implementation

Teachers were provided with professional development, online resources, and school-level inquiry teams to support implementation of the intervention.


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