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Funding Source: UW System 2009-10 Growth Agenda Grant Program: Supporting the Growth Agenda Action Steps

Title: MathCAST: Collaboration and Alignment to Advance Student Learning in Mathematics

Principal Investigators: Jennifer Kosiak, University of Wisconsin – La Crosse, Robert Hoar, University of Wisconsin – La Crosse, Maggie Lee McHugh, University of Wisconsin – La Crosse.

Submitted: Spring 2009

Status: Funded for 2009-2010

Project Overview:

In Wisconsin one out of every four high school graduates does not possess the necessary prerequisite skills for success in college-level math courses. The project, MathCAST: Collaboration and Alignment to Advance Student Learning in Mathematics will address this concern as it supports the Wisconsin Growth Agenda by strengthening existing partnerships among the UW-L math faculty, the Institute for Innovation in Undergraduate Research and Learning (IIURL), and Student Support Services with teachers and from area high schools including Holmen, Onalaska, and La Crosse. This partnership will ensure the preparation and retention of all students in rigorous mathematics courses through vertical alignment and the use of innovative technologies.

MathCAST seeks to extend the prior work of the IIURL which utilized faculty-student team to develop a collection of math learning objects (LOs) designed to help elementary and middle level pre-service teachers understand and recall key content for the math component of the state’s licensure examination. It will expand upon these initiatives by focusing on content at or above Algebra I, a course viewed as a “gateway to later achievement” (National Mathematics Advisory Panel, 2008, p. 3). A key outcome of the project is the creation and piloting of technology-enhanced materials that will serve as a vehicle for improving the mathematics preparedness of students in grades 9-14. MathCAST will achieve these outcomes through a series of three interconnected phases – alignment, development, and implementation. Each partner brings the capacity and expertise to understanding the extent and causes of poor academic achievement in math at all levels in order to develop technology enhanced materials to close the mathematics achievement gap.

During the Alignment Phase, four working groups (high school math teachers, math faculty and pre-service teachers) will be convened to align the 9-14 math curriculum and assessment practices. To address mathematical gaps, the Development Phase will utilize these working group teams to create over 200 mathcasts which will be sequenced into four Technology-Enhanced Algebraic Modules (TEAMs). Students will take the UWS Early Mathematics Placement Tool during the Implementation Phase to identify deficiencies. They can then be guided to the appropriate TEAMs as part of a Mathematics Enhancement Program in order to improve their mathematical competencies.

Project results will be disseminated at the state and national level and access to the TEAMs will be made available on the IIURL website. Through continued support from the partners, activities will be sustained by embedding key access and equity features into the TEAM design in order to further extend the impact of the project.