UF launches free Algebra Nation prep tool at 2nd Florida high school

GAINESVILLE, FL—Andrew Jackson High School in Jacksonville on March 4 became Florida’s second high school to adopt a novel program called Algebra Nation, a free online preparation tool created through the University of Florida to help students prepare for a required algebra end-of-course exam.

More than 40 percent of Florida middle and high school students failed the spring 2012 Algebra 1 end-of-course exam. In many high-need schools, the failure rate topped 80 percent. Florida students must pass the test to earn a high school diploma.

To help students succeed on the exam, the UF Lastinger Center for Learning, part of the College of Education, has joined forces with Study Edge, a Gainesville education technology firm, to create Algebra Nation, a research-proven, online end-of-course exam preparation resource. The program gives students 24/7 access to help through a collection of free tools from video tutorials and live teacher support to an interactive “wall” like on Facebook, all geared toward helping students boost their algebra skills.

Gov. Rick Scott had participated Jan. 25 in UF’s first Florida launch of Algebra Nation at St. Petersburg’s Dixie Hollins High School.

On Monday, Florida Education Commissioner Tony Bennett and Florida State Board of Education Chairman Gary Chartrand participated in a morning ceremony marking the Duval County launch of Algebra Nation at Jackson High, the state’s lowest ranked high school in the midst of a multi-organization, multi-year effort to turn the school around.

“Algebra is a key STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) subject,” Lastinger Center director Don Pemberton said. “It serves as a gatekeeper to success in high school and beyond.”

To help students succeed on the 2013 end-of-course exam, UF education professors have dissected the material tested on the exam and aligned Algebra Nation with the latest state standards.

“Algebra Nation is based on the latest research and best practices,” Study Edge director Ethan Fieldman said.

Algebra Nation is the first phase of a planned campaign to accelerate learning throughout Florida. UF and Study Edge officials say they plan to develop and roll out Geometry Nation, Biology Nation and other end-of-course exam resources next year.

Read more about Algebra Nation here. You also can view the News4Jax television news report on the Jacksonville launch.

Contact: Boaz Dvir, UF Lastinger Center for Learning,; 352-273-0289