Research about Math Learning

Overview of page

Our philosophy and programs are based upon findings from educational research. Here is a collection of peer-reviewed studies and other articles that are relevant to improving and expanding educational outcomes for all students.

Articles related to heterogeneous grouping, equity, and detracking

College Bound in Middle School & High School: How Math Course Sequences Matter, by Neal Finkelstein, Anthony Fong, Juliet Tiffany-Morales, Patrick Shields, and Min Huang; The Center for the Future of Teaching & Learning at WestEd

This study digs into the connection between students’ relative success in their middle-school academic experiences and their subsequent performance in high school as it applies to STEM. 
Findings include: 

  • Math performance in grade 7 is predictive of high-school math course-taking.
  • Many students repeat algebra, but few repeaters achieve proficiency on their second attempt. 
  • Districts are aware of poor student performance in mathematics but less aware of course-taking patterns. 

Raising Expectations and Achievement. The Impact of Wide Scale Mathematics Reform Giving All Students Access to High Quality Mathematics

by Jo Boaler, Stanford University, co-founder:, and David Foster, Executive Director, Silicon Valley Mathematics Initiative

This paper reviews the reasons for lower achievement in tracked classes, and the value both of formative assessment and rich mathematics tasks.

Detracking Math & Science: A Look at Groupwork in Action

Maika Watanabe explores groupwork in heterogeneous classrooms.

Changing Students’ Lives Through the De-tracking of Urban Mathematics Classrooms

Jo Boaler writes about how de-tracking Mathematics classrooms changes students' lives.

Dr. Claude Steele’s Presentation at SFUSD’s Vision 2025 Guiding Coalition Meeting on issues of identity, race, gender, and stereotype threat.


Closing the Achievement Gap by Detracking

Carol Burris and Kevin Welner describe how a diverse suburban district in New York narrowed the gap by offering its high-track curriculum to all students.

California study finds harm for some in repeating algebra, questions whether it benefits anyone

Using Rich Problems for Differentiated Instruction

Eric Hsu, Judy Kysh, and Diane Resek discuss  how working in well-facilitated small groups on rich problems that are accessible puts students in the position of differentiating the content, processes, and product of their own work. 


Pushing Algebra Down: Is Sooner Better?

Cathy Seely writes about how to ensure that every student is supported well to succeed in a rich, relevant, rigorous mathematics experience every year they are in elementary and secondary school.

Articles related to effective teaching practices

This page was last updated on February 17, 2023