Fighting for Equal Education

Students' success in math determines their future success in school and in life.

It's no secret that students in the United States lag behind their global peers in math. On the most recently published Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) exam, the United States ranked behind 30 other countries in this subject. A recent report estimates that our students' poor achievement in math could cost the country 75 trillion dollars over the next 80 years. Notre Dame psychology professor Nicole McNeil believes the problem starts with basic arithmetic, where students develop a misunderstanding of the equal sign.

In working with Notre Dame's Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE), Professor McNeil's innovative research, which involves a series of educational lessons and activities, changes the way children learn about the equal sign and the concept of mathematical equivalence. With support from the Institute of Educational Sciences, the National Science Foundation, and in partnership with ACE and its unique university-school partnership program, the Notre Dame ACE Academies, McNeil's techniques have been implemented in schools across the country, positively influencing hundreds of students.