LSU Social Research & Evaluation Center Partners with East Baton Rouge Parish School System and DreamBox Learning on $3.5 million Grant to Address Math Equity
November 04, 2022
Math is critical to developing the skills needed for future classes and careers in science, technology, engineering and data science. Yet, despite the adoption of new math standards, less than half of fourth and eighth grade students scored proficient or higher on the most recent administration of the National Assessment of Educational Progress, according to the Nation’s Report Card. To help address the challenge of math inequity, East Baton Rouge Parish School System, or EBRPSS, has been awarded a $3.5 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to help Black and Latino students and all students experiencing poverty to graduate from high school skilled in the math required to be successful in higher education, the workforce and life. The LSU Social Research & Evaluation Center will serve as the research partner, with a sub-award of $473,000 for three years. DreamBox Learning will serve as the technology solutions partner. Together, the partners will work to co-construct a research plan to focus on students primarily in kindergarten through eighth grade.
“I would like to thank East Baton Rouge Parish School System for entrusting LSU Social Research & Evaluation Center with this important work along with the Gates Foundation for contributing to education equity for children in the Baton Rouge community,” said LSU Social Research & Evaluation Center Director Judith Rhodes. “I look forward to working with EBRPSS and DreamBox Learning to research and implement tools in the students’ lives to help them achieve their full potential.”
The goal of the grant is to help all students living in poverty, particularly Black and Latino students, graduate from high school with a stronger understanding of math to help ensure their success in higher education, the workforce and life.
“On behalf of the LSU College of Human Sciences & Education, I congratulate our colleagues in East Baton Rouge Parish School System, the LSU Social Research & Evaluation Center and DreamBox Learning on this outstanding grant to help students learn and achieve,” said LSU College of Human Sciences & Education Dean Roland Mitchell. “Our college is committed to scholarship that improves quality of life across the lifespan. It’s essential for every student in Louisiana to have a strong foundation in early childhood and to have meaningful instruction, mentorship and development in K-12 so that they may see higher education as a reality for their future. This research will yield new insights so that we may better help and serve Black and Latino students across our whole state, and beyond.”
This initiative aims to support the development of a more efficient, effective and equitable research infrastructure that answers questions on the effectiveness and characteristics of technology solutions and interventions in schools and school districts.
DreamBox K-8 Math is a digital math platform that complements the East Baton Rouge Parish School System’s math curriculum and provides students with lessons and games that foster the development of math skills and understanding. LSU researchers will track the extent to which engagement and success with DreamBox leads to higher levels of affiliation with math among students, which in turn predicts higher levels of learning. They will also examine whether social-emotional and behavioral well-being is, in turn, enhanced by improvements in math learning, confidence and positive self-identity. Through quantitative data analysis and qualitative information gathered through focus groups, the LSU researchers will provide the school district and teachers insight that can help improve outcomes for students in East Baton Rouge Parish.
“Over the past forty years, the aim of my research and teaching commitments involves resolving the significant challenge of scaling opportunity to learn mathematics from the individual to other units including classrooms, schools, and districts. This challenge impacts LSU and the state of Louisiana. Mathematics represents a foundational discipline and knowledge base in LSU’s Scholarship First and A&M Agenda. As such, we welcome this partnership with the East Baton Rouge Parish School System and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to improve how we teach and inspire students throughout their educational journey,” said William F. Tate IV, LSU President.
The SREC Research team includes:
- Judith Rhodes, PhD, Professor of Research, SREC Director;
- Sam Robison, PhD, Associate Professor of Research, SREC;
- H. Colleen Sinclair, PhD, Associate Professor of Research, SREC;
- Youn Kyoung "Lily" Kim, PhD, Associate Professor, School of Social Work and
- Stacey Terrio, MA, Research Associate, SREC.
About LSU SREC
The LSU Social Research & Evaluation Center, or SREC, advances social initiatives to improve the lives of individuals, families, and their communities through our research, evaluation, and partnerships. SREC’s interdisciplinary team of expert faculty and staff work in projects among four areas of impact: strengthening communities, education, public safety, and health and wellbeing. Learn more at lsu.edu/srec. SREC is a research center in the LSU College of Human Sciences & Education.