LISER AS A RESEARCH COLLABORATOR IN THE PROJECT
DIGITAL EDUCATION: THE MATHEMATIC PROJECT
On the 10th of May 2016, the Minister of Education, Children and Youth, Claude Meisch, presented the MathemaTIC digital learning environment in a press conference. This innovative online learning environment is being developed to promote an adaptive and differentiated learning approach in mathematics for students in Cycle 4 of primary education. MathemaTIC is been piloted in 2015-2016 in 40 fundamental schools, involving more than 1000 students and 100 teachers who volunteered to participate, will also be generalized on a voluntary basis to all Cycle 4 students from September 2016 and gradually be proposed to teachers and students in the lower secondary schools, followed later on to those in Cycle 3.
LISER contributes since 2015 to the evaluation and research components of MathemaTIC via the participation of Dr. Catalina Lomos in the core evaluation team. The main evaluation question that the project aims to answer is focused on the process of integrating MathemaTIC in the teaching and learning practice and on its impacts on specific outcomes. To address this issue, the MathemaTIC evaluation team closely follows the coordination of the project, the tools developed to help teachers integrate the environment in their classroom practice, the organization and content of the professional development of teachers. This provides rich insight into the impact of MathemaTIC on teaching and learning and helps identify ways to improve implementation in the schools. To answer the stakeholders’ question of the return on investment in this digital learning environment, the team will focus on the short-term and long-term effects on pupils’ achievement scores in mathematics, on student motivation and enjoyment in doing mathematics, but also on equity in terms of access and use of digital tools and support in learning. To report these outcomes of interest in the given timeframe, the MathemaTIC evaluation team has since last year defined an evaluation framework and has identified concrete and measurable objectives for each major goal and expected result, accompanied by concrete indicators and criteria of success. In addition, measurement tools have been developed, some of which have already been put in place during this pilot phase, according to a specific strategy of data collection and data analysis, in line with the national data protection requirements. A short- and long-term planning of deliverables summarizes the timeline of the project evaluation and reports will follow in the next two years containing results on the effects on student mathematics learning and all other outcomes identified of interest.
The MathemaTIC project brings in many value-added elements, especially through its adaptive character in terms of the students’ learning rhythm and progress in mathematics and languages used for learning. More specific, modules and items are developed following closely the national mathematics curriculum and are proposed to the students in an adaptive and progressive way. Moreover, the MathemaTIC learning environment is offered to the students in German, French, Portuguese, and English, giving them the opportunity to choose the language of practice for entire learning sessions, or to change the language only for a sentence or a word, in the written, audio or video material available on the platform. The multilingual influence of MathemaTIC will be explored by investigating the impact of language chosen and the length of use of a specific language in the MathemaTIC environment for student achievement level in mathematics. Considering that teachers will be able to follow the individual progress of each student working through the environment and in a later phase be able to use MathemaTIC to differentiate and support learning, the MathemaTIC evaluation team plans to report also on the contribution of the platform for teachers’ pedagogical and teaching practices. The projects sets a high focus on school support and professional development of teachers through common goals and vision of the project.