Welcome to the MU Math Study page. Researchers at our lab have been conducting research on learning, cognition, and mathematics skills since 1990. We study questions like "What makes learning math harder for some children than others?" and "What are the critical skills that predict success in high school algebra?"

Our goal is to better understand how children learn mathematics and why some students have difficulties with this learning. We have been focusing in particular on how children represent, process, and understand key aspects of mathematics, ranging from Arabic numerals to algebraic equations, and on the underlying cognitive systems (e.g., working memory) that support this learning. We are collaborating with colleagues at Stanford University School of Medicine to better understand the systems of brain regions involved in learning mathematics and colleagues at Vanderbilt University to assess the efficacy of interventions designed to address learning difficulties. Our current project is a longitudinal study of pre-algebra skills from 6th-9th grades. Past MU Math Study projects include a 10-year study following the math skills of participants from Kindergarten through their 9th grade, and our more recent Preschool Math Study following children from age 3 through First Grade. 

Current Project

Our newest large project began in May of 2017 and will examine the critical skills for Algebra readiness and success. In a collaboration with Columbia Public Schools, funded by the National Institutes of Health, we have assessed pre-algebra skills at the end of 6th grade, and will follow these subjects through the end of 9th grade.  We will determine which pre-algebra skills predict success or failure in High School Algebra, and develop a screening measure for use in 6th grade.  This will allow for very fine-tuned individual instruction on the skills that need development, and better algebra readiness.