1. Wendy Smith
  2. Assistant Director, Center for Science, Mathematics & Computer Education
  4. University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  1. Ruth Heaton
  4. University of Nebraska-Lincoln


NSF Awards: 0831835

2015 (see original presentation & discussion)

Grades K-6, Graduate, Adult learners

We share highlights of the impact of our K-3 Mathematics Specialist Program, Primarily Math, on teachers, students and districts across the state.

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Discussion from the 2015 Teaching & Learning Video Showcase (7 posts)
  • Icon for: Elizabeth Hassrick

    Elizabeth Hassrick

    Research Scientist
    May 11, 2015 | 11:59 a.m.

    The video provided me with great action videos (students doing math, teachers teaching math) and good contextual images (location images of collaborative partners implementing the work) that helped me to envision how the intervention sought to change how teachers taught math. The teachers were really front and center in the video, in ways that respected their role in the project and their own learning. I appreciated that. I am curious to see more discussion about how the intervention was evaluated and a more formal presentation of findings about how the interventions shaped student learning.

  • Icon for: Wendy Smith

    Wendy Smith

    Lead Presenter
    Assistant Director, Center for Science, Mathematics & Computer Education
    May 11, 2015 | 12:34 p.m.

    We had very extensive research and evaluation components of NebraskaMATH, some of which are described in our public final report here: http://scimath.unl.edu/nebraskamath/ (scroll down a little to find the pdf). We collected survey, interview, observation and math achievement/knowledge for teaching mathematics from hundreds of teachers and thousands of students 2009-2013; groups included both participant and comparison teachers and students. Our research findings are currently under review for publication (one article focused on teacher change, and one on the impact on student outcomes). Within the MSPnet projects/library, other publications to NebraskaMATH are listed.

  • Icon for: James Madden

    James Madden

    Professor of Mathematics
    May 12, 2015 | 09:07 a.m.

    This video tells a story with many layers of personal involvement (students/teachers/coaches/faculty) and many conncetions (research, practice, partnership). It is structured efficiently, showing how all the parts fit together in a really impressive way. Thumbs up!

  • Icon for: Avron Barr

    Avron Barr

    May 13, 2015 | 01:25 a.m.

    Nicely done video about an ambitious and important program. Assuming some of the 278 teachers have been more successful in their transition than others, what have you learned and how have you improved the program over time?

  • Icon for: Wendy Smith

    Wendy Smith

    Lead Presenter
    Assistant Director, Center for Science, Mathematics & Computer Education
    May 13, 2015 | 09:26 a.m.

    We’ve learned we can change teachers’ attitudes toward math through the avenue of “competence breeds confidence”. We challenge them mathematically and provide support, and their resulting gains in mathematical knowledge for teaching lead to willingness to change their teaching practices. We have refined our pedagogy courses over time, based on our data collected on changes to teaching practices. The pedagogy courses now emphasize math talk and equity, as well as family projects, child studies, unit plans, and leadership activities.
    For the changes in student outcomes, we started being able to detect those in year 3 (and 4), so there was definitely a delayed effect of teacher gains on student outcomes.

  • Icon for: Lisa Hogan

    Lisa Hogan

    Technology Integrator
    May 13, 2015 | 07:22 p.m.

    The engagement among students as they worked with mathematical concepts and ideas in this video was fun to watch. Teachers seemed empowered with new skills, strategies, and pedagogy for mathematics instruction. You mention 278 teachers had completed the program that includes classes in pedagogy: instructional theory and methods, and math courses for teachers. Were these online classes? Face to face classes? A combination of both? Did these classes happen throughout the school year or during the summer? I’d love to hear more about how you were able to get so many teachers involved in the program.

  • Icon for: Wendy Smith

    Wendy Smith

    Lead Presenter
    Assistant Director, Center for Science, Mathematics & Computer Education
    May 13, 2015 | 09:42 p.m.

    12 of the 18 graduate credit hours are completed in person in the summer, in “boot camp” courses that meet in pairs, so you take 2 classes in 2 weeks, 8am-5pm with 3-4 hours of homework nightly, plus a substantial take home final (end-of-course assignment) due a few weeks after the classes end. The program begins and ends across two summers. During the intervening academic year, we meet on 2-3 Saturdays each semester (spread out), with online interactions in between the Saturday meetings. Following the 18 credit hours, there is an optional 3 credit hour leadership class that we spread across an entire school year. We’ve offered this in versions ranging from fully in person to fully online, as well as blended with some in-person and some online.
    Our partnerships with districts across the state is a key reason to why we were able to recruit so many teachers. Our core partner districts were allocated certain numbers of “slots” for teachers. The success of the program and huge impact on teachers in the early years led to word of mouth that increased the popularity of the program across the state. You can check out our final report on our website (and let me know if you want us to mail you a hard copy): http://scimath.unl.edu/nebraskamath

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