Request for Information on Bright Spots in Middle Years Math:
Learning from the Field

Middle Years Math R&D Program

We are developing a Middle Years Math R&D program in recognition that by ninth grade, it is critical that students have developed the requisite skills to pursue higher-level math courses. Proficiency in math unlocks opportunities for students to pursue a wide range of post-secondary pathways and STEM careers. Our ultimate goal is to dramatically improve middle years math instruction, so that every black, Latino, and low-income student deeply knows, is able to use, and enjoys math by the time they are in high school.

“Bright Spots” Request For Information

In the spring of 2018, the K-12 Education team issued a Request for Information aimed at identifying “Bright Spots” in the field of mathematics for both teaching and learning. The goal was to learn from our colleagues in the field who have already developed highly effective approaches in grades 3-12 to drive math achievement for black, Latino, and low-income students. Information learned from this RFI will directly inform the development of a focused research and development (R&D) program. This program will develop, test, and create mechanisms to support the use of a set of specific teaching and learning approaches that drive faster and deeper math learning in the middle years (approximately grades 3-9), enabling black, Latino, and low-income students to be fully prepared to be successful by 9th grade. As we move forward with the development of this program, we plan to invite a small group of breakthrough approaches identified through this RFI to submit proposals for our initial round of funding. This group appear to have demonstrated significant impact on student learning outcomes with our target population, and we are interested in supporting them as an initial group to further develop and validate their models for the benefit of the field. We are also excited to continue to engage with the wider Middle Years Math community, including by sharing more about who responded to our RFI and what we learned about the work that is happening in the field.

What We Learned

The Bright Spots RFI closed on May 18, 2018. We received 106 responses from 27 states and 4 countries. 24% of the responses came from organizations that are minority-owned or -led, and 53% came from organizations with no prior funding relationship with the foundation’s K-12 program.

Read more about what we learned from our RFI respondents and the incredible work that is being done in the field to dramatically accelerate outcomes for black, Latino, and low-income students.

One of the most crucial takeaways from the RFI process that now guides our team’s work going forward is the importance of promoting deep student engagement and fostering joy for math. Read more about how student voice is guiding our work. 

Where We Are Headed

We are now in the process of making Bright Spots grant determinations and beginning development of a focused R&D program. Read more about where we’re headed next.

Additional Resources

More Info on the RFI

Learn background information on the RFI on Bright Spots in Middle Years Math.

What We Learned 

Download a synthesis of learnings from the Bright Spots RFI.

Student Voice

Read more about how student voice is guiding our work.

RFI Glossary

A glossary to clarify terms.

What’s Next in Middle Years Math

Read more about where we’re headed next.


Questions? Please read the Frequently Asked Questions page.