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HR-PAL: Hampton Roads Partnership for Algebra

Hampton Roads Partnership for Algebra project is funded by the NSF MSP-Start program for two years, starting in September 2011. Hampton University formed a partnership with Chesapeake, Hampton and Norfolk School Divisions, and Paul D. Camp and Thomas Nelson Community Colleges to create a consensus of understanding among their stakeholders and constituents on how to enhance the mathematical reasoning and algebra skills of the middle and high school students, with the ultimate outcome of increasing the number of calculus-ready students.

A gap exists between typical school mathematics problems involving simplified numbers and straightforward procedures, and the ability to use appropriate mathematical skills in many different contexts. The Partnership is identifying the gaps by tapping into data from the assessment administrators of the partners, and evaluates what is needed to address them to increase student achievement in mathematics, specifically in algebra. The Leadership Team is prioritizing these needs, and initiating activities to strengthen algebra education, to develop problem solving and critical thinking skills, and to motivate students. Teachers’ Circles are being held during the academic year, and a Summer Institute will be held in July 2012 to solve word problems and develop “Algebra-in-Action” projects. The plans for the implementation of these tools in the algebra curriculum will also be discussed in those programs. These activities will lead to students acquiring skills that will enable them to embark on careers in STEM disciplines.