MCPER receives $3.2 million federal grant to conduct a randomized controlled trials study on algebra readiness


Photo of Diane Pedrotty Bryant
Diane Pedrotty Bryant

The Meadows Center for Prevention of Educational Risk has received a $3.2 million federal grant to conduct a randomized controlled trials study on algebra-readiness instructional content and interventions for middle school students with mathematics difficulties.

The new four-year project—Project AIM (Algebra-readiness Intervention Modules)—will focus on sixth and seventh grade students who receive daily intensive intervention from their mathematics teachers. The modules emphasize instructional content in fractions, decimals, integers, ratios and proportions, and expressions and equations. The overall goal of these modules is to develop students’ ability to access more formal algebraic concepts and skills and to develop conceptual understanding, computational fluency, problem solving, and self-regulation abilities. Each module contains 15 lessons and appendix lessons for extended instruction. Extra practice activities and multiplication and division facts are additional resources for teachers. The lessons are designed to promote the development of conceptual, strategic, and procedural knowledge by including the use of mathematical representations (e.g., number lines, graphs, integer chips) and practices to foster students’ ability to generalize ideas, provide a rationale for those generalizations, and use the generalizations to reason about other topics, which were the basis for algebraic readiness in this project. The lessons also include validated instructional design features and ongoing progress monitoring during each class lesson. Finally, the instruction includes a self-regulation component where students take responsibility and ownership of their learning by graphing their progress. Diane Pedrotty Bryant, MCPER Project Director for the Mathematics Institute, will serve as principal investigator of the project, with Greg Roberts, MCPER Associate Director, and Brian R. Bryant, MCPER Research Fellow in the Mathematics Institute, as the co-principal investigators.

The funding, which started July 1, 2016, is from the National Center for Special Education Research within the Institute of Education Sciences, the research arm of the U.S. Department of Education.