Major Grant Support McNeil's Research in Math Skills

April 14, 2011Bill Schmitt

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Nicole McNeil, a Notre Dame psychology professor and fellow in the Institute for Educational Initiatives (IEI), has been awarded two federal grants for her research into children’s ability to understand key mathematical concepts.

The first grant, a prestigious National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER Grant, supports McNeil’s cutting-edge work on children’s understanding of mathematical equivalence and the importance of grasping this concept for a child’s later success in algebra. She is inquiring whether and how certain skills in kindergarten affect the development of children’s understanding of mathematical equivalence in elementary school, and how an understanding of mathematical equivalence in elementary school might aid children’s ability to learn algebra later on.

The second grant, which is from the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Science (IES), will support McNeil’s effort to develop an intervention to help children develop a better understanding the equal sign and the concept of mathematical equivalence while strengthening their knowledge of basic arithmetic facts.

See a Notre Dame article about her work and a video.

The new NSF and IES grants will span periods of five and three years, respectively.

As an IEI Fellow, McNeil shares in the Institute’s goal of advancing Notre Dame’s commitment to the future of schools and to educational achievement for all children.