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Building directly on prior NSF-funded projects in which the PIs designed a Grades 3–5 Early Algebra Learning Progression [EALP], the proposed work entails developing a similar prototype for Grades K–2, with a particular focus on designing and testing an EALP that is responsive to culturally and linguistically diverse learners with exceptionalities, including learners with mathematics difficulties. The Grades K–2 EALP will include the following components: (1) a curricular framework specifying learning goals; (2) a Grades K–2 instructional sequence designed to achieve these goals; (3) validated assessments designed to measure student learning as students advance through the sequence; and (4) a specification of the levels of thinking students exhibit within the sequence. Design research will be used to test and refine the curricular framework and instructional sequence, as well as identify progressions in children’s thinking. Grade-level assessments will be developed in interview format, given the age of the learners, and validated through appropriate analyses of psychometric properties.

In addition to its contribution of a curricular roadmap for teaching and learning algebra in Grades K–2, the project will provide greater understanding of how design features of the resulting sequence and assessments can support the unique challenges of diverse learners.

Our use of a learning progressions approach to design the Grades K–2 EALP will contribute to our understanding of how to employ learning progressions in the design of curricular resources rooted in an empirical research base on students’ thinking. This can expand conversations across STEM disciplines regarding the role of learning progressions in educational research.

Supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. DRL-1720129