The Learning Engineering Virtual Institute seeks to spur deep collaboration across institutes and disciplines to drastically improve math outcomes in middle school grades. Specifically, LEVI will grant significant sums over the next five years to develop, scale and implement interventions that will double the rate of math progress in middle school, especially for low-income students.

Student proficiency in math and literacy has declined in the past decade, with outcomes in middle school math exceptionally low in the United States. Math performance, especially among historically marginalized populations, is particularly poor. Nationally, only 26% of all eighth-grade students were proficient on the NAEP math assessment in 2022. But in Cleveland, only 2% of African American 8th graders scored proficient. Yet, math proficiency is critical to economic mobility and earning a living wage. Indeed, passing 6th grade math is one of the top predictors of high school graduation.

The Covid-19 pandemic has worsened learning outcomes. Between 2019 and 2022, the NAEP math assessment scores declined across all race & ethnic groups and math score percentile levels among 8th graders in 51 states/jurisdictions.

LEVI has selected seven teams to develop interventions to tackle this ambitious goal. The ideas range from an AI-powered chatbot that provides personalized math tutoring to generative video technology that digitally replicates the experience of having a personal tutoring session. The rise of ChatGPT and other large language models underscores the potential of AI to dramatically change teaching and learning. The LEVI teams are at the forefront of this change.

The LEVI teams include approaches as diverse as:

  • Developing a hybrid human-AI app that gives tutors the ‘superhuman’ power to provide students with a precise dosage of tutoring at their specific learning level;
  • Customizing avatars using generative AI to increase student motivation and engagement;
  • Training an award-winning chatbot that delivers math tutoring with personalized feedback and prompting student reflection.

Each team has developed a five-year plan to achieve the goal, which includes deep collaboration across institutions and disciplines, and a strong ethos of actual building and experimentation.