Michigan legislature and MDE provide support for Algebra Nation

Algebra Nation

ALGEBRA NATION launches free statewide resource to help Michigan boost lagging algebra achievement Unique partnership with MDE provides equitable access to top resource

Algebra Nation, a highly-effective supplemental resource for Algebra 1, has been rebuilt from the ground-up and made available at no cost to Michigan districts, schools, teachers, parents, and students, effective immediately.

Funded by the legislature and supported by the Michigan Department of Education (MDE), Algebra Nation provides online access to dynamic content videos aligned to Michigan’s Mathematics Standards, companion workbooks, virtual tutoring, and an online practice tool that provides instant, individualized feedback and directs students to resources that target gaps in their understanding. Students and educators across the state will have free, 24-hour access to these materials from the web, tablets, and smartphones (including devices going back five years).

Statewide access to Algebra Nation is made possible by funding from the Michigan legislature, which sought a powerful, proven resource to combat the state’s persistently low math achievement. In Spring 2016, for example, 67% of 8th grade students in Michigan failed to earn at least a “Proficient” score on the state’s M-STEP Mathematics exam, while 63% of 11th graders didn’t scored high enough on the state’s MME exam to be considered ready for success in college or a career.

The Florida version of Algebra Nation has already helped to reverse similar trends in Florida, which adopted Algebra Nation statewide in 2013 and quickly saw dramatic improvements. In 2014-2015, high school students who used Algebra Nation had a 10% higher pass rate on the Florida Algebra 1 End of Course exam than students who did not use Algebra Nation. Test scores improved dramatically for all Algebra Nation users, regardless of their economic status, level of English proficiency, race, or previous mathematics performance.

Keith Oswald, the Chief Academic Officer of Palm Beach District in Florida noted, “In [Palm Beach County School District], Algebra Nation has become a classroom-proven resource which increases student confidence, provides reliable, standards-based instructional resources, and positively impacts student performance on the Algebra 1 End-of-Course assessment…Algebra Nation has become the leader in utilizing technology to support mathematics instruction in a manner that is very different from other resource available today.”

By working directly with the Michigan Legislature and State Department of Education, Algebra Nation ensures that it can provide the broadest possible access to its resources, rather than contracting with only those districts than can afford supplementary resources.  Algebra Nation is committed to this state-level approach and, through it, seeks to reduce the extreme resource disparities that exist between low- and high-income school districts. Every district in Michigan can set up free access to Algebra Nation for its students and teachers, and every math teacher in Michigan can order a free Algebra Nation workbook for each of their Algebra 1 students. These workbooks, which accompany and complement the online videos, are made available so students can write in the workbooks and follow along with the work in the videos. This may be especially helpful in those districts that only have a classroom set of textbooks, as students can now have a workbook to take home with them and reference as they complete their homework.

Describing Algebra Nation’s unique approach, Co-Director Melody Pak noted that, “We’re thrilled to be able to make Algebra Nation available to all schools, educators, parents and students across the state of Michigan and are confident, based on our results in Florida, that we’ll be able to make an impact on student learning quickly. Leading up to Algebra Nation’s launch, we’ve had great partners–from the legislature, to the Michigan Department of Education, to the math education professors from Grand Valley State University, Michigan State University, and University of Michigan-Flint who helped us align our content to the state’s standards–and now we’re eager to get into schools to introduce Algebra Nation’s many benefits as a ‘virtual co-teacher’ and tutoring tool. We’re looking forward to meeting with teachers and allowing them to decide how to use these versatile tools to improve algebra instruction in a way that works for them and their students–wherever they live and learn.”

Interested districts, administrators, and districts should contact Megan Mayhut at Megan@AlgebraNation.com to order free Algebra Nation workbooks and to get their district access to Algebra Nation.

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