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Digital Learning Platforms to Enable Efficient Education Research Network


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FY Awards


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MATHia: A Digital Learning Platform Supporting Core and Supplemental Instruction in Middle and High School Mathematics

Year: 2021
Name of Institution:
Carnegie Learning, Inc.
Goal: Methodological Innovation
Principal Investigator:
Ritter, Steven
Award Amount: $1,999,459.70
Award Period: 5 Years (09/01/2021 – 08/31/2026)
Award Number: R305N210045


Related Network Teams: This project is part of the Digital Learning Platforms to Enable Efficient Education Research Network (Digital Learning Platforms Network), which aims to leverage existing, widely used digital learning platforms for rigorous education research, and includes the following other projects — The SEER Research Network for Digital Learning Platforms (R305N210034), The Canvas+Terracotta LMS-Based Experimental Education Research Platform (R305N210035), The ASU Learning at Scale (L@S) Digital Learning Network (R305N210041), Revisions to the ASSISTments Digital Learning Platform to Expand Its Support for Rigorous Education Research (R305N210049), Efficient Education Research via the OpenStax Learning Platform (R305N210064)

Purpose: There is an urgent need to improve mathematics outcomes in the United States. Mathematics often acts as a gateway to overall academic success. The failure of students to succeed in mathematics at the middle and high school level has a strong economic impact on the country, by one estimate reducing US GDP by as much as 3.5 percent annually. One barrier to improving outcomes in mathematics is that the diversity of students, teachers, and school settings makes it difficult to clearly understand what works and for whom. This project will add features to MATHia, an intelligent tutoring software used by over 500,000 middle and high school students each year as part of their core mathematics classes, to allow collaboration with researchers to field test innovative ideas for improving mathematics outcomes in a rigorous way that provides such clarity.

Project Activities: The major aim of this project is to integrate MATHia with UpGrade, an open-source platform that supports fair and rigorous randomized field trials that compare innovative practices with current approaches. The team is particularly interested in supporting field trials that promote equity, provide students with the feedback and motivation they need to succeed, and provide insights to teachers to better guide students in their learning process. In the later years of this project, the team will collaborate with education researchers, public school districts, and the Network Lead to conduct a series of field studies that will help to revise and test approaches to mathematics instruction that work with real students in real classes.

Products: This work will result in improved instructional, motivational, and teacher supports in the MATHia software as well as generalizable principles for improving mathematics outcomes that apply to instructional materials and approaches, regardless of whether they are implemented through software. Results will include improvements to UpGrade, thereby enabling educational software developers and researchers to more easily determine the impact of their design choices on student outcomes.