Passing Algebra 1 is an important milestone on the path to college and career readiness. Students who succeed in algebra are far more likely to graduate from high school on time and gain access to advanced mathematics courses. Unfortunately, persistent inequities in mathematics education have led to a disproportionate number of Black students, Hispanic students, and students from low-income backgrounds entering high school underprepared for Algebra 1.
Algebra support courses provide additional instructional time for ninth-grade students whose mathematical needs have not been met. EDC led a national study to examine the impact of a coherent algebra support curriculum titled Transition to Algebra and to increase the understanding of how high schools can prepare all students for success in algebra.
EDC worked in partnership with Boston College to carry out the following activities:
- Conduct a quasi-experimental study to examine the impact of Transition to Algebra on students’ algebra achievement and attitudes toward mathematics
- Examine district approaches for identifying and supporting students who could benefit from additional instructional time in mathematics
- Gain insight into teachers’ experiences teaching algebra support courses, their use of instructional materials, and challenges they encountered during implementation
- Provide teacher professional development, teacher resources, and summative performance data to algebra improvement programs in 31 school districts nationwide
Findings from the study provided the following:
- Insight into the effectiveness of EDC’s Transition to Algebra curriculum and factors that contribute to effective implementation of Transition to Algebra (or any Algebra 1 intervention program)
- Knowledge about the population of students who are enrolled in algebra support courses and best practices for using curriculum, instruction, and assessment to effectively meet their needs
- Evidence-based guidance for school districts on the design and implementation of supplemental algebra courses, including professional development for teachers