Effects of a summer maths programme on algebra readiness

WestEd has released a study examining the effects of the Elevate Math summer mathematics programme on seventh-grade (Year 8) pupils’ algebra readiness, general maths achievement, and perceptions of maths.

Elevate Math is a four-week programme that pupils attend for 19 days in the summer for four hours a day. It addresses properties and operations, linear equations, ratios and multiple representations, and transformational geometry, with one hour spent on Khan Academy (a free online learning system). Elevate Math also incorporates a college visit to inspire pupils and 40 hours of professional development for teachers.

A total of 477 seventh-grade pupils at eight schools in California’s Silicon Valley who volunteered to take the course were randomly assigned to receive Elevate Math either at the beginning of the summer (treatment group) or the end of the summer (control group). The treatment group scored significantly higher than controls in tests of algebra readiness and general maths, however most pupils’ scores suggested they were still not ready for algebra. Pupil surveys showed that Elevate Math did not change attitudes towards maths or views of their maths competence.

Researchers stated that most pupils would need more support than solely Elevate Math in order to succeed in algebra. They also discuss how results indicated that Elevate Math reduced summer learning loss.

Source: The Effects of the Elevate Math Summer Program on Math Achievement and Algebra Readiness (2015), Institute of Education Sciences/WestEd.

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