Friday, April 25, 2008

Concept Based teaching of Algebra

I started doing some research last night about different ways to improve students understanding of Algebra and stumbled across this website "Teaching Math" at It is an excellent resource with lots of narrative & video examples of how some teachers have helped students discover math concepts.

The only disadvantage of the videos is that you don't have any control over them. A pause button would be a great addition to the site.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Is there a math facts connection?

Having taught Algebra 1 for over 8 years I have always felt that there is a connection between how well a student understands arithmetic and how well they do in the my Algebra I class. So I decided to do a little bit of research to determine if this could be supported. Here is a graph of the results. The blue line through the graph is a regression line.Details about the study:
  • 2 classes
    • 11 students: 10 & 11 graders
    • 14 students: 9 graders and one 12 grader
  • Arithmetic test:
    1 minute timed test of multiplying numbers 1 through 10.
    • Accuracy of test student responses was mostly 90-100%
    • 100 multiplication problems were provided
    • Highest number problems completed 57.
    • Highest number of problems completed correctly 56.
  • Grade came from the previous quarter to determine the level of success in Algebra I because it was available for all students.
Trends and Interpretation:
Except for the two outliers indicated as yellow the trend seems to say that the better you are at arithmetic the better your score will be in Algebra I. The outliers can be explained as a student that is unmotivated and the other as a student that is trying but struggling. Though this isn't enough data to make a case it sure does begin to show a pattern that supports my hypothesis. I'm not sure how good of a predictor it is because as you move along any grid line there is quite a spread between the scores. Also there is the variable of different grading style between 2 teachers for the students grades. It would be great if someone would duplicate this study with the same teacher and a larger student populous.
It should be noted that you don't see any grid points in the upper left and the lower right indicating a good arithmetic score and a bad grade or a good grade and a bad arithmetic score.
Thus I feel that the claim can be supported that the better you are at arithmetic the better you will do in Algebra I. Please feel free to add you data in the comments below. You can find the Math Facts test at