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ERIC Number: ED562693
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Pages: 3
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
Paper 3: Content and Rigor of Algebra Credit Recovery Courses
Walters, Kirk; Stachel, Suzanne
Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness
This paper describes the content, organization and rigor of the f2f and online summer algebra courses that were delivered in summers 2011 and 2012. Examining the content of both types of courses is important because research suggests that algebra courses with certain features may be better than others in promoting success for struggling students. One key finding from the literature is that algebra students should have ongoing opportunities to develop procedural fluency and conceptual understanding and engage in meaningful problem solving opportunities, rather than focusing exclusively on skill development and symbolic manipulation. Another reason it is important to examine the content of summer credit recovery courses, in particular, is due to the perception that these courses may get "watered down," rewarding students who show up for summer school but who may not have mastered the material. More specifically, the paper will address the following research questions: (1) How did the online and f2f Algebra IB courses compare in terms of the difficulty of the content? (e.g. what proportion of time in each type of course was devoted to second semester algebra, first semester algebra and pre-algebra topics?); (2) How did the online and f2f Algebra IB courses compare in terms of the nature of the content? (e.g. developing procedural skills, conceptual understanding and problem solving); (3) How did the online and f2f Algebra IB courses compare in terms of the coherence and sequencing of topics?; and (4) How did the online and f2f Algebra IB courses compare in terms of grading expectations? [What proportion of online and f2f students' grades were based on assessments (quizzes, tests) and other criteria (effort, participation, behavior, etc.)]? The authors will draw from several different sources of data that were collected in both conditions in both summers to answer the paper's research questions. These include archival data generated from the online course, course materials (syllabi, annotated tables of contents), and teacher surveys. The initial results suggest that the online course (in both summers), in comparison to the f2f courses, was more rigorous in terms of the algebra content that students were expected to learn, more coherent in terms of how topics were sequenced, and more demanding in terms of the criteria used to calculate grades. More specifically, the online course content was considered typical of second semester algebra and included a fixed set of topics that were organized sequentially within and across 5 units.
Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness. 2040 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208. Tel: 202-495-0920; Fax: 202-640-4401; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness (SREE)