Studies have found that students would enjoy math more if they could see a clear connection between their learning and their future. But with crowded classrooms and overworked teachers, delivering personalized instruction based on each student's future plans sounds like a lofty. Candace Walkington, a math education researcher, was recently awarded a three year, $1 million grant from the National Science Foundation to study the impact of interest-focused algebra problems on student success and connectedness with STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) careers, a news release notes. Walkington and her collaborators will use ASSISTments to create and solve algebra problems related to their interests. Walkington and her collaborators including Neil Heffernan will add videos of STEM professionals describing how they use algebra in their jobs, the news release notes.
"The study seeks to confirm ... three features necessary for successful personalized learning: content should be personalized so that it aligns to student interests, problems must be sufficiently granular to more precisely align to student interests, and students must perceive ownership in the process," says Walkington.