Math Corps - a multi-university partnership to enhance mentorship, enthusiasm and understanding of mathematics - has been awarded a four-year grant by the National Science Foundation
(NSF) to assess the multiple factors that make the program successful with youth in Detroit and to document replication in Utica NY, Philadelphia PA, and Cleveland OH.
Math Corps Cleveland
is now entering its sixth year with the generous support of the David and Inez Myers Foundation. As a branch of Wayne State University (WSU)’s Math Corps
, the core program was developed by Steven Kahn, Principal Investigator of the NSF grant along with colleagues at the Center for Excellence and Equity in Mathematics in Detroit. Since 1995, 95% of WSU's Math Corps participants have graduated from high school compared to less than 50% of students in the Detroit Public Schools. Students who participate in Math Corps for at least 3 summers have an average ACT math score of over 20 - on par with national averages and significantly higher than the urban school districts in the NSF-funded study of replication.
In Cleveland, Math Corps currently serves over 150 students from middle school to college through a four-week summer camp led by Carol Phillips-Bey, Associate Professor in Mathematics at CSU and Saturday programs at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) during the academic year. The program includes project-based learning while introducing participants to 3D printing, game theory, chess, perspective drawing, and robotics among other activities. Dr. Phillips-Bey and her partners at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland and CWRU’s Center for Urban Poverty seek to create a self-perpetuating corps of students who excel academically, hold values that breed success, and pass their knowledge and values on to younger students through strong mentoring relationships.
The NSF Advancing Informal STEM Learning (AISL) Broad Implementation grant will deepen understandings of program replication and the needs of youth in economically-challenged communities to promote mathematics learning. Formative evaluation by WSU will inform national implementation. Discourse analyses, surveys, interviews and pre/post-tests will be used to study formal and informal networks as well as other socio-cultural factors supporting math transmission. In addition, Mathematica Policy Research will conduct a retrospective evaluation for near- and long-term youth outcomes. NSF's AISL program seeks to advance the design and development of STEM learning in informal environments.