This RAPID project supports a series of three workshops with mathematicians, mathematics educators, and research methodologists to design an analysis, and conduct analysis, of a new national longitudinal study of high school Algebra learning. This project will provide a new plan for analysis of mathematics learning using a new longitudinal data base. The analysis plan is intended to stimulate future research studies in algebra learning. The investigator has invited about 20 mathematics education researchers, mathematicians, research methodologists, and graduate students to meet three times to create a research analysis plan for the new longitudinal survey data on high school Algebra learning and to inform the upcoming rounds of data collection.

The complex longitudinal study is supported by both the National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) and the National Science Foundation (NSF). The NCES has not previously considered the essential elements of mathematics learning in their planned analysis. This project will create a new set of analysis plans as seen from the view of researchers and educators who study mathematics learning. The outcome of this project will enhance the use and policy value of the statistical analysis of this new large survey. The participants will also include state representatives because the study will contribute data about 10 states for the first time.

The new plan for analysis will provide needed frameworks for the understanding of high school algebra learning. Importantly, this project will provide an opportunity for insights about Algebra learning by involving well known mathematics educators as well as aspiring graduate students.

Project Report

project included a series of four working meetings over four years. These meetings were focused on potential studies using data from the High School Longitudinal Study (HSLS:09) administered by the National Center for Education Statistics in the U.S. Department of Education. The HSLS:09 includes surveys of high school students, their parents, teachers, counselors and school administrators, and an assessment of their algebra knowledge. Data collected in 2009 and 2011 has been released (see The longitudinal study follows students from 2009 (typically their first year of high school) and into their post-high school experiences in postsecondary education or the workforce. The HSLS:09 is particularly interesting because it captures the experience of students as they move through important decision-making points through high school and into college and career. It may be possible to link the students’ high school experiences in mathematics and science with their post-secondary decisions in order to learn how to better understand how factors such as socio-economic status, course pathways, extra-curricular programs, and school climate impact recruitment and retention in STEM majors and careers. Topics discussed at the working meetings included pathways through STEM courses and careers, future directions for longitudinal studies, career and workforce considerations for STEM education, and types of questions that could be investigated via longitudinal studies. Meeting participants included researchers and stakeholders in mathematics, science, education, research methodology, and assessment development. The meetings were convened to bring together experts in longitudinal studies with experts in high school, postsecondary education and the STEM workforce in order to understand how the HSLS:09 could inform education decisions (e.g., curriculum planning, influences on students’ decision-making) and help create initiatives to support the development of a highly-qualified STEM workforce. The meetings also focused on the types of questions that the HSLS:09 does and does not allow researchers to answer in its current format in order to make recommendations regarding future longitudinal studies. One strength of the study is the multiple surveys across multiple stakeholders in high school teaching and learning. In addition, the study includes an algebra assessment and high school transcript analysis. The surveys of teachers were only conducted in the first wave of data collection (2009). Future studies could include other mathematics topics or science content as well as more information about the high school and post-secondary educational experience from the perspective of instructors.

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George Mason University
United States
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