Dr. Thomas L. Good led the research activities for the Algebra Ready Project.
There is increasing emphasis on the importance of algebra to better prepare students for being successful in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) courses and careers. Although reform efforts have resulted in more students taking algebra and often taking algebra earlier (i.e., in middle school), too few U.S. students reach proficiency in this important subject (National Mathematics Advisory Panel, 2008).
There is both theoretical and empirical support that students who fail to master rational numbers (fractions, decimals, and percents) in elementary and middle school are not prepared for the conceptual and procedural skills needed to be successful in algebra courses. Further, much like algebra, empirical studies have shown that students have difficulty learning rational number content.
Thus this project was undertaken with the goal of improving teachers’ capacity to teach rational numbers for student conceptual understanding and skill proficiency. The goal was to create high-quality teacher professional development that, instead of focusing on a single instructional method, draws upon the ideas of active teaching (Good & Grouws, 1979; Grouws & Ebmeier, 1983) and teaching for understanding and skill proficiency (Hiebert & Grouws, 2007).
In order to ensure that the materials be available to a wide range of teachers in both urban and rural settings and for schools and districts that may not have the funds for quality professional development seminars, we undertook the creation of free, online “learning blocks” that allow teachers the flexibility to access professional materials on their own schedules. These learning blocks were initially based on the success of live workshops created during the Helios-funded Rational Numbers Project
, (For a full report on this project’s success, please refer to Good et al., 2013), but many changes and improvements were made in the process in order to fully capitalize on the online format as well as to incorporate the latest developments in research and theory. To read additional information on the project website and/or access the final versions of the Algebra Ready learning blocks, please visit the Algebra Ready website.
- Good, T. L., Wood, M. B., Sabers, D., Olson, A. M., Lavigne, A. L., Sun, H., & Kalinec-Craig, C. (2013). Strengthening grade 3-5 students’ foundational knowledge of rational numbers. Teachers College Record, 115(7), 1-45.
- Olson, A., Sabers, D., & Callahan, P. (2015). Assessment of tests and exams. In W. G. Scarlett (Ed.), Classroom Management: An A-to-Z Guide.
- Wood, M. B., Olson, A. M., Freiberg, E. J., & Vega, R. I. (2013). Fractions as subtraction: An activity-oriented perspective from elementary children. School Science and Mathematics, 113(8), 390-399.
Drs. Darrel Sabers, Marcy Wood, Courtney Koestler, Wayne Brent, Mary McCaslin, Darrell Sabers, Philip Callahan, Matthew Felton-Koestler, Jennifer Eli, and Crystal Kalinec-Craig contributed to the Algebra Ready Project. Graduate researchers included Amy Olson, Christine Vriesema, Ganna Sobolevs'ka, Zachary Hojnacki, Ruby Vega, Elizabeth Pope, Elizabeth Bukoski, and Jennifer Kinser-Traut. Undergraduate researchers were Lauren Pierce, Jesús Orduño, Jacob Davidson, and Lyndah Anderson.
For additional information about the Algebra Ready Project, please contact Thomas L. Good