# Projects

**Improving Formative Assessment Practices in Middle School Mathematics**funded by the National Science Foundation, is 4-year research and development project. The overarching goal of this project is to develop innovative instructional resources and professional development to support middle grades teachers in meeting the challenges set by the Common Core Standards for School Mathematics (CCSSM) for students’ learning of algebra. This project includes three major components: (1) development and empirical testing of learning trajectories for linear functions and linear equations, (2) collaborations with teachers of CMP2 to create and test a set of instructional resources focused on formative assessment processes, and (3) iterative refinement of a professional development model for engaging teachers with the instructional resources in ways that optimize students’ learning of algebra. The professional development activities will provide opportunities for teachers to develop specialized content knowledge of learning trajectories for linear functions and equations in algebra, processes for interpreting students’ performances with respect to those trajectories and providing feedback and additional instructional activities based on “where” the student is with respect to the overall learning trajectory. The expectation is that such changes in teacher knowledge and practice will in turn produce improved student learning outcomes for key concepts and procedures in algebra. One of the major stumbling blocks to teachers’ implementation of effective formative assessment practice is the sheer volume and management of the information needed to monitor and interpret student performance. The proposed project tackles this impediment by employing the ASSISTments platform, a web-based online system for delivering mathematics problem sets and capable of adapting problem presentation to student performance in real time (Singh, et al., 2011). Research on learning trajectories in mathematics has mostly centered on concepts at the primary school level [e.g., rational number (Confrey et al., 2010) and the composition of geometric figures (Clements et al., 2004)]. While research at this level has been prolific and informative in multiple aspects such as its use in formulating the CCSSM, there are major knowledge gaps in our understanding of learning trajectories in several domains of mathematics, specifically in algebra. Indeed, there is a growing need for new research and development projects to fill these critical knowledge gaps.

**Math Trailblazers Research and Revision Study (MTBRR)**, funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF-0242704), is an examination of the Math Trailblazers curriculum and its impact on teaching and learning. Its purpose is to inform revision of the curriculum, as well as contribute to the general knowledge of the impact of comprehensive, Standards-based mathematics curricula in elementary schools. It is comprised of four (both past and present) research projects. This site describes the current status of each of the studies, outlines their implications for revision to the curriculum, and provides information on the status of the revision process.

**Videocases for Preservice Elementary Mathematics Project (VPEM)**, Project (NSF-0837031), was designed to develop a collection of videocases to be used in elementary mathematics preservice courses and to conduct an exploratory study of the extent to which these cases enhance preservice teachers' learning of the mathematical knowledge needed for teaching. The videocases were developed using video and interview data of K-5 classrooms from a prior National Science Foundation (NSF) project (NSF-0242704).

**Mathematical Knowledge Needed for Teaching Teachers (MKTT)**'s purpose is to develop a collection of videocases, and accompanying facilitator guides, as well as other teaching and learning materials to be used in professional development workshops for mathematics faculty who are responsible for teaching preservice elementary teachers. In addition, the project will evaluate the impact of the teaching cases and professional development materials on both faculty participants and their students (i.e., preservice teachers). The purpose of this Type 1 project is to develop teaching and learning materials to be used in professional development workshops for and to develop faculty expertise in supporting PSTs' development of mathematical knowledge for teaching. The videocases and other materials will be developed from a multimedia database of teaching and learning artifacts from five iterations of a mathematics content course for preservice teachers at UIC. The database includes detailed lesson plans, over 200 hours of videotaped class sessions, over 100 hours of audiotaped small group discussions, photographs of preservice teachers' board work, and digitized copies of preservice teachers' classwork, exams, and course notebooks.

**Algebra 2X Project**, a joint effort between The University of Illinois at Chicago’s Learning Sciences Research Institute (LSRI) and the University of Texas Charles A. Dana Center, works toward the development of a comprehensive program to address the needs of 9th grade students who are enrolled in algebra classes but who are significantly under-prepared for high school mathematics.