The overarching purpose of the Algebra Teaching Study (ATS) is to develop a series of tools that will enable teachers and researchers to:
- understand and analyze the dimensions of teaching for robust understanding, in particular in algebra classrooms;
- assess students’ powerful algebraic thinking;
- enrich classroom instruction;
- support professional development aimed at enhancing teaching along the dimensions of powerful teaching revealed in the research; and
- explore the relationships between teaching for robust understanding and student performance; and professional development, supportive instructional materials, and teacher practices.
Our content focus has been on contextual algebraic tasks – on situations, typically described in words, that need to be understood, represented mathematically, and analyzed.
The broad framework for conceptualizing the work of ATS can be understood as follows.
Primary support for the Algebra Teaching Study has come from National Science Foundation grants entitled “Collaborative Research: Classroom Practices that Lead to Student Proficiency with Word Problems in Algebra,” with Principal Investigators Alan Schoenfeld at U.C. Berkeley (NSF grants DRL 0909815) and Robert Floden at Michigan State University (NSF grant DRL 0909851) and The Mathematics Assessment Project (Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Grant OPP53342 to PIs Alan Schoenfeld, U. C Berkeley, and Hugh Burkhardt and Malcolm Swan, The University of Nottingham). Additional support for the project’s work has come from the U.S. Department of Education, the University of California at Berkeley, and Michigan State University.