- Year 2016
- NSF Noyce Award # 1035446
- First Name James
- Last Name Tarr
- Discipline Mathematics
Ian Aberbach, University of Missouri, firstname.lastname@example.org
Barbara Reys, University of Missouri,email@example.com
Marilyn Soucie, University of Missouri
In response to a nationwide critical shortage of mathematics teachers, Tomorrow’s Teachers with Dual Degrees in Mathematics and Mathematics Education is aggressively working to double the number of secondary mathematics teachers graduating from the University of Missouri’s undergraduate mathematics teacher education program through the recruitment of mathematics majors into mathematics teaching careers, preparation of these individuals to teach mathematics aligned with national standards, and support of mathematics teachers in their induction years. In the short term, this project benefits undergraduate STEM Education majors by offsetting the exorbitant costs of an undergraduate education. In the long term, the project benefits students in high-needs school districts by providing well-qualified, well-prepared high school mathematics teachers.
The goals of this project are three-fold: (1) to recruit more highly qualified STEM undergraduates (mathematics, in our case) into mathematics teaching careers, (2) to prepare these individuals to teach mathematics aligned with national standards, and (3) to support mathematics teachers in their induction years.
With regard to Goal 1, the project provides summer mathematics teaching internships, dual degree programs (B.S. in Mathematics (for Math Education Dual Majors) and B.S. Ed. in Mathematics Education), and $18,000 annual scholarships for those committed to teaching mathematics in high-needs school districts. We recruited students to the dual-degree program using an aggressive, targeted marketing campaign aimed at undergraduates in STEM fields, most notably Mathematics but also mathematics-related fields such as engineering, statistics, and the applied sciences. The marketing campaign included mailings to high school department chairs and postcards to current STEM majors, flyers posted in residence and dining halls, and visits to calculus classes to explain the project.
With regard to Goals 1 and 2, the project also funded teaching Internships that afforded opportunities to undergraduate students to explore their interests in teaching. Specifically, the project supported Noyce Interns to provide tutoring in mathematics to high school students enrolled in summer remediation and recovery programs aimed at narrowing the achievement gap. The internships stimulated interest in the teaching profession as well as prepared Noyce Scholars to work with struggling mathematics students in one-on-one or small-group settings. Furthermore, with regard to Goal 2, dual-degree majors took at three-course sequence in teaching secondary mathematics. Each course was designed to prepare teachers to implement new standards (e.g., Common Core State Standards for Mathematics) and to engage high school students in the Standards for Mathematical Practice. Moreover, each methods course had a corresponding field experience in which Noyce Scholars worked with host teachers to plan and implement mathematics lessons.
With regard to Goal 3, to increase teacher retention, the project is developing a cadre of mentor teachers in partner schools and supporting Noyce Scholars’ participation in professional mathematics teacher conferences. Moreover, Noyce Scholars and mentor teachers attended professional conferences such as the Annual Meeting of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics in order to learn “best practices” and research-based strategies for teaching mathematics.
The project has awarded 33 scholarships 21 Noyce Scholars. There are currently 8 Noyce Scholars teaching in high-needs school districts, 3 working on additional degrees or looking for a teaching position, and 10 are active students in pursuit of the dual-degree program. Additionally, the project has supported mentor teachers by offering professional development opportunities. For example, the project certified 39 mathematics teachers in Cognitive Coaching.
The project’s broader impacts include:
1.) Improvement in the quality and quantity of mathematics teachers for Missouri schools;
2.) Building of new sustainable models for the recruitment, preparation, and retention of mathematics teachers to meet the teacher shortage;
3.) Expansion and deepening of relationships between MU mathematicians, mathematics teacher educators, and K-12 teachers and administrators; and
4.) The dissemination of findings from the external evaluation via conference presentations and publications.