Report Roundup

Math Instruction

"Does Early Algebra Matter?"

Article Tools
  • PrintPrinter-Friendly
  • EmailEmail Article
  • ReprintReprints
  • CommentsComments

Students can understand and benefit from being introduced to algebraic concepts even in elementary school, a forthcoming study finds.

The study is part of a group of studies on Project LEAP, for Learning Early Algebra Progression, a program developed at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, TERC, the University of Texas at Austin, City College of New York, and Merrimack College.

"We're not talking about taking a traditional [algebra] curriculum and pushing it earlier in the sequence," said Rena Stroud, a senior researcher for the project at Merrimack College. "We're talking about what algebraic thinking looks like in early grades."

The three-year curriculum includes 18 weekly hourlong lessons, in each of grades 3-5. In the lessons, teachers introduce students to generalizing, representing, justifying, and reasoning about numbers and correct misconceptions that often trip up older students. Researchers randomly assigned 440 3rd graders in nine high-poverty schools to get either the algebraic lessons or standard grade-level arithmetic. By the end of 5th grade, Project LEAP students performed 13 percentage points higher in math than those in the control group.

Vol. 38, Issue 29, Page 5

Published in Print: April 17, 2019, as Math Instruction
Related Stories
Notice: We recently upgraded our comments. (Learn more here.) If you are logged in as a subscriber or registered user and already have a Display Name on edweek.org, you can post comments. If you do not already have a Display Name, please create one here.
Ground Rules for Posting
We encourage lively debate, but please be respectful of others. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited. By commenting, you are agreeing to abide by our user agreement.
All comments are public.

Back to Top Back to Top

Most Popular Stories

Viewed

Emailed

Recommended

Commented