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Creating a Formula for Success: Recommendations from an Evaluation of Florida’s Mathematics Professional Development Landscape

In 2021, a team from the Lastinger Center surveyed and interviewed secondary math educators from across Florida to better understand the state of available professional learning opportunities. Several themes emerged: educators experience varying levels of access to ongoing, frequent professional development opportunities that are considered high quality and desire more collaborative opportunities to engage with peers and coaches.

Increased Passing Rates for Re-Takers with Frequent Use over Multiple Years

A study was conducted to determine the impact of Algebra Nation on students who had previously failed the Florida Algebra 1 End-of-Course Exam in Spring 2015. Using a sample of 8,746 students who re-took the Algebra 1 exam in the 2015-2016, path analyses and logistic regressions were used to evaluate relationships between Algebra Nation usage indicators and Algebra scores. Results indicate that higher levels of logins, video views, and practice questions answered relate to higher scores when the students re-took the exam. Students who utilized Algebra Nation at least 30 times over the school year demonstrated an improvement in scores, including students who are typically most at risk for failure. There was some indication that higher use of the Test Yourself module in which students practiced solving problems similar to those they would encounter on the exam had more impact than viewing instructional videos alone

A Comparison Between Low-Usage and High-Usage Schools in Florida

An analysis of school-level Algebra Nation usage and student achievement in Algebra data was conducted to determine what differences exist in student performance in Florida during the 2014-2015 school year. Usage data from the Algebra Nation platform compared with Florida Algebra 1 End-of-Course Exam passing rates from Spring 2015 test administration showed that high-using schools had an average Algebra 1 End of Course exam pass rate of 83%, a 20-point higher average than low-using schools’ rate of 63%.

An Evaluation of Algebra Nation in South Carolina

A yearlong evaluation of Study Edge’s Algebra Nation use and its impact in South Carolina was conducted by an independent team of educators under contract with the South Carolina Education Oversight Committee. Data gathered from a survey of teachers using Algebra Nation as well as classroom observations of teachers indicated that the materials positively impacted the rigor and quality of instruction. Teachers also cited how Algebra Nation materials allowed them to provide meaningful instruction when during periods when regular classroom learning was interrupted. Additionally, 80% of the surveyed teacher respondents felt that using Algebra Nation materials had a positive impact on their students’ learning of algebra, and 90% of teachers surveyed felt that providing South Carolina teachers with access to Algebra Nation should be a high or moderate priority.

Overall Effect of Algebra Nation as an Online Resource

The objective of this quasi-experimental analysis was to evaluate the effects Algebra Nation on the performance of schools with respect to the mean student scores and percentage of students passing the Algebra I End-of-Course Assessment. Results indicate that the effects of Algebra Nation are both statistically significant and substantively important according to the criteria of the What Works Clearinghouse.

Analysis of Algebra Nation Usage and Student Achievement

Mississippi schools with high usage of Algebra Nation had an 8.6% higher pass rate on the State Algebra 1 Mississippi Academic Assessment Program (MAAP) test, according to an analysis of 82 schools in the state.Schools with higher usage exceeded the State performance levels of “proficient” through “advanced”. Although schools with low usage exceeded the State passing rate, they performed below the State average in all other categories.

Instructor Presence Positively Impacts Learning

This study explored the impact of instructor presence on learning, visual attention and perceived learning in mathematics instructional videos of varying content difficulty. Findings suggest that instructor presence attracted considerable visual attention. Additionally, instructor presence positively influenced participants’ perceived learning and satisfaction of topics and led to a lower level of self-reported mental effort for difficult topics.