The University of Florida Lastinger Center for Learning developed Algebra Nation in collaboration with Study Edge, a Gainesville education technology company. They shared a goal of improving student achievement in Algebra 1, a required course that is a key gateway for students to higher-level math courses and STEM careers.
As a free, one-stop hub accessible through a browser or mobile app, Algebra Nation is available anytime, anywhere. Students can:
- take notes in their Algebra Nation workbook while following along with Algebra Nation’s instructional videos;
- receive after-hours homework help on the Algebra Wall where expert teachers and peers provide immediate assistance;
- and, prepare for the Algebra 1 end-of-course exam with Algebra Nation’s “Test Yourself!” Practice Tool that features over 500 practice questions that mimic the computer-based test.
Teachers also have free access to Algebra Nation’s Teacher Area – a platform where they can share lessons and teaching tips with their peers and view reports on student usage and progress.
Today in Florida alone, more than 350,000 students and 8,000 teachers, from 3,000 schools in all 67 school districts, use Algebra Nation each year.
To gauge Algebra Nation’s impact on student achievement, a team of researchers from multiple disciplines at UF’s new Virtual Learning Lab is evaluating the system’s efficacy in improving student understanding of and success in algebra. The effort, part of a federal study supported by nearly $9 million from the Institute of Education Sciences, is headed by Education Technology Professor Carole Beal and co-principal investigator Walter Leite, a professor of Research and Evaluation Methods. Leite’s “big data” analyses are conducted in partnership with the Florida Department of Education.
Preliminary findings in Florida indicate that Algebra Nation is positively impacting student achievement: The average pass rate of students taking the Algebra 1 end-of-course exam increased 6 points from 2016 to 2017; students at schools with a high-usage rate improved their average pass rates by 20 percent; and, students from low-income families or minority students also showed significant improvement .