Upward Bound, the federally funded college access program created in 1964 by President Lyndon Johnson, has had significant impact on high school students aspiring to go to college. SMU and Simmons have hosted the program for 50 years, and now 98 percent of its students move on to earn their higher education degrees. See media coverage.
Associate Professor Candace Walkington received a 3-year, $1 million National Science Foundation (NSF) grant in partnership with Assistments and North Central Texas College to research ways to support students in foundational mathematics classes, with the goal to increase and diversify the STEM pipeline.
“Algebra is the relationship between quantities,” says Walkington. “Students use algebra all the time – when they calculate sports statistics, when they compare their social media accounts. They just don’t realize it.”
Walkington will compare approaches to determine which problems help students understand algebra, increase their interest in algebra and deepen their interest in STEM careers. This grant builds on her prior research showing that students learn algebra better when it is connected to their everyday interests.
She is partnering with collaborators Matthew Bernacki at University of North Carolina, Neil Heffernan at Worchester Polytechnic Institute, Harsha Perera at University of Nevada and Elizabeth Howell at North Central Texas College.
To learn about her research, read this Forbes article.