Providing Professional Development and Leadership in Mathematics Education at WSU
The Department of Mathematics at WSU has an extensive commitment to mathematics education at all levels, from the preparation of future elementary teachers to that of post-secondary teachers in community colleges, four-year colleges, and research universities. For example, the department teaches over 1200 semester credit hours per year to elementary education majors, and nearly half of the department's mathematics majors choose the secondary teaching option. The department has also recently introduced a master's degree program in mathematics education, principally aimed to prepare students to teach at the community college level. The department faculty members involved in meeting this commitment to mathematics education are nationally recognized, serving as invited speakers at regional and national conferences, publishing scholarly work in professional journals, and attracting funding from state and national agencies. Several faculty members have been active in the Washington Teachers of Teachers of Mathematics, whose position papers are helping guide the Professional Educator Standards Board and the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction
The Mathematical Preparation of Prospective Elementary Teachers at WSU
The Department of Mathematics offers one of the strongest programs anywhere in the state-or indeed nationally-in the mathematics preparation of elementary teachers. All elementary education majors take a full academic year of coursework, with the first semester organized around problem solving, number systems, and algebraic reasoning, and the second semester covering probability, descriptive statistics, and geometry. Both courses are conducted in an activity-based mode of instruction in a well-equipped laboratory setting, thereby modeling how future teachers will teach elementary school children. In particular, the WSU courses support the national standards established by the National Council of Teachers of the Essential Academic Learning Requirements (EALRs) and create classrooms that will prepare students for success on the Washington State Assessment of Student Learning (WASL). The department also offers an optional third semester of mathematics expressly directed to the needs of the middle and upper elementary teacher.
Secondary Mathematics Program at WSU
Historically, half of the mathematics majors at WSU are in the secondary teaching option. Several innovations have been implemented in the past four years for this program. Three new courses have been designed: Mathematics for Elementary Teachers III (designed for middle school teachers); Intersections of Culture and Mathematics; and Mathematics for College and Secondary Teachers (a capstone course to tie college level mathematics to high school curriculum as well as to study the connects between content areas within mathematics). The department takes a large portion of preservice secondary mathematic teachers to the Northwest Mathematics Conference each fall to learn about current trends in mathematics education. Preservice Teachers of Mathematics (PreToM) host the annual Inland Northwest Mathematics Experience (IN ME) in which 200 middle and high school students come to WSU for a day of mathematics activities using technology. The activities are written and facilitated by PreToM members. http://www.math.wsu.edu/faculty/vincent/welcome.php
NEW - Middle Level Math Endorsement Program
Washington State University's Middle Level Math Endorsement Program is designed for new (including teacher candidates) and experienced teachers who wish to add an additional endorsement or expertise in middle level mathematics to their secondary or elementary certification. All courses will be available in Pullman and also through AMS (a state-wide videoconferencing system with locations at the campuses in Pullman, Vancouver, Spokane, and Tri-Cities, as well as other sites). In addition, several endorsement courses will be offered in person at the various campus sites. To learn more about this exciting opportunity, please visit the College of Education's Middle Level Math website.
Mathematics Case Study Project - A partnership of mathematics educators working to improve mathematics teaching
This three year project (June 2005-Dec 2008) funded by "No Child Left Behind" ($750,000) was a collaborative project with Mathematics faculty from WSU, EWU, and UW, teaching coaches from Seattle and school districts: Cheney, Inchelium, Pullman, Seattle, Spokane, Tonasket, and Wellpinit. The goal was to develop curriculum aligned with national and state standards to be used for professional development for middle school math teachers to gain knowledge of content and pedagogy in the area of proportional reasoning, for the purpose of improving student understanding. The teachers studied cases from their own classroom and student work that was generated by using the materials developed. Workshops for middle school mathematics teachers were held on both the east and west side of the state each summer along with 40 hours of follow-up meetings during the school year. http://mcsp.ewu.edu/index.html.
Project PRISM (Promising Reform in Science and Math) was funded for $886,505 by the National Science Foundation (HRD 01-20884) and was a collaborative effort between the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, Washington State University, and seven public school districts: Grand Coulee Dam, Inchelium, Okanogan, Omak, Pullman, Spokane, and Wilbur. The project goal was to increase success for all students, and particularly Native American students, in secondary education through faculty development focused on the roles of gender and culture in teaching and learning, career awareness, and cultural awareness. Project PRISM also conducted a student survey in several districts that yielded information about what motivates students in school; what are students' educational goals; what teaching strategies work well for students; and what impedes student learning. Specifically, the survey results uncovered factors that promote or inhibit student success.