The Impact of Mathematics Education Research and Brain-Learning Research on Student Performance in Algebra I

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D)


Educational Administration

Date of Award

Summer 2015


The first course in high school algebra is called a ??╖gateway course??? because of its importance for success in future mathematics coursework and for college and career opportunities. Unfortunately, student achievement in secondary mathematics in the United States, and in Algebra I in particular, is described as mediocre. However, a large gap exists between mathematics education research and brain-learning research and classroom instructional practice. The researchers conducted an ex post facto study on the implementation of a research-based Algebra I curriculum built around high-cognitive demand tasks and student performance in Algebra I. Two groups of students were selected for the study. One group enrolled in an Algebra I course that followed a typical textbook-driven curriculum and the second group enrolled in a course that followed a research-based curriculum with high-level tasks. The researcher used propensity score matching and multilevel modeling to compare the effects of the two curricula to determine whether student growth occurred. No significant difference existed in student performance between the traditional and research-based curricula. Additionally, African American and Hispanic student performance decreased and White student performance increased Grade 8 to Grade 9. However, differences were not significant for ethnicity between students using a research-based Algebra I curriculum and those using a traditional curriculum.


Charles Holt

Subject Categories

Education | Educational Administration and Supervision | Educational Leadership