Welcome to Parsimony’s blog, where we help K-12 educators identify evidence based ways to maximize student outcomes.

This blog post is part of our What Works Clearinghouse review series. The What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) is an initiative by the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) which is the independent statistics, research, and evaluation arm of the United States Department of Education. WWC estimates the effectiveness of programs by evaluating the quality and quantity of evidence for that program.

This week’s blog post is about the evidence behind the University of Chicago School Mathematics Project (UCSMP) Algebra’s impact on students. Here’s the short version:

University of Chicago School Mathematics Project (UCSMP) Algebra is a program designed to increase students’ skills in algebra, and is appropriate for students in grades 7–10, depending on the students’ incoming knowledge. This 1-year course highlights applications, uses statistics and geometry to develop the algebra of linear equations and inequalities, and includes probability concepts in conjunction with algebraic fractions.

The evidence for University of Chicago School Mathematics Project (UCSMP) Algebra covers students in the 8th grade.

The outcomes examined include: algebra and general mathematics achievement. Here’s what the evidence suggests about University of Chicago School Mathematics Project (UCSMP) Algebra’s impact on each outcome:

  • Algebra: Positive impact (an average student would be expected to improve by 9 percentile points)
  • General mathematics achievement: Positive impact (an average student would be expected to improve by 29 percentile points)

The studies looking into University of Chicago School Mathematics Project (UCSMP) Algebra had student samples that were in urban, suburban and rural areas in Nebraska.

You can find the full report from the What Works Clearinghouse here:

https://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/Docs/InterventionReports/wwc_ucsmp_052416.pdf

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