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Algebra is a subject with which students continue to struggle. One recommendation to address this challenge that has gained widespread acceptance has been to adopt a longitudinal, K–12 approach to teaching and learning algebra. However, work is needed to synthesize research on children’s algebraic thinking into the design of a sustained, effective instructional approach to teaching and learning algebra in elementary grades.

The purpose of this project is to develop and test the potential of a Grades K–2 Early Algebra Learning Progression (EALP) to foster young children’s algebraic thinking. In particular, project researchers will design, develop, and test a Grades K–2 EALP that will include (1) a curricular framework that specifies learning goals around core algebraic concepts and practices; (2) an instructional sequence designed to achieve these goals; (3) assessments that measure student learning in response to the instructional sequence; and (4) descriptions of the increasingly sophisticated levels of thinking students exhibit around the core algebraic concepts and practices addressed in the instructional sequence.

This project builds off of a fully developed Grades 3–5 EALP evaluated under an IES Goal 3 grant. The current project will extend the EALP into Grades K–2 to align with the existing Grades 3–5 EALP, resulting in an innovative and comprehensive model for algebra education across the elementary grades with classroom-ready resources to support a K–12 algebra education.

Supported by the Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, through Grant R305A170378.