Pathways to Preparing Future Mathematics Faculty to Transform Undergraduate Mathematics Teaching and Learning

Project: Research project

Project Details


Project Summary Mathematicians and mathematics education researchers at multiple institutions will collaborate to develop a sequence of experiences and courses that support mathematics PhD students and pre-service secondary mathematics teachers (PSTs) to be more scientific in their teaching approach and in evaluating the effectiveness of curriculum. Using previously developed research-based student and teacher materials that have been documented to transform precalculus teaching and student learning, we will develop a model education certificate program for mathematics PhD students that transforms their instructional practices. During their time in the program, these future mathematicians will teach precalculus and calculus, which are both critical courses for success in STEM fields, using conceptually focused materials. Concurrent with these teaching experiences, they will complete a sequence of courses and seminars in which they read select publications, review materials, and design and conduct small-scale research studies of student learning. These combined program components will produce mathematics PhD students who are prepared to take leadership roles in improving the teaching and learning of undergraduate mathematics. Compatible with our mission to transform undergraduate mathematics education, the project will also produce a sequence of research-based courses for PSTs that focus on the same content of our program to prepare mathematics PhD students to teach. These courses will embody several decades of research about the knowledge that is necessary for teachers to support their students learning and success in STEM fields. In particular, the courses will infuse knowledge produced by the co-PIs recent projects that made significant gains in understanding the improvement of the teaching and learning of precalculus and calculus. The project faculty will design specific courses and experiences in these two programs that have the unifying theme of transforming mathematics PhD students and PSTs mathematical content knowledge for teaching. During each iteration of the program mathematics education faculty will collect and analyze data to document shifts in these future mathematicians and teachers: i) content knowledge for teaching mathematics; ii) student learning; and iii) effectiveness in inquiring about student thinking so that it leads to productive adaptations of their teaching and curriculum. Intellectual Merit: The research products that emerge from the project will produce new knowledge of experiences for PhD students and secondary teachers that are effective in preparing them to improve undergraduate mathematics teaching and learning. The course materials will provide a mechanism for transforming the broad body of research on the teaching and learning of precalculus and beginning calculus in ways that influence undergraduate teaching. The co-PI team includes careful mathematical thinkers and mathematics education researchers who have devoted their careers to studying the learning and teaching of precalculus and calculus. This team brings unique expertise to the development of model programs for preparing future mathematicians and secondary teachers to meet the challenges of transforming mathematics teaching and learning. Broader Impacts: The established programs will produce future mathematicians and secondary teachers who have specialized expertise to lead curriculum and instructional improvements in mathematics courses and programs. These future teachers will provide improved learning experiences in all courses they teach, collectively improving the mathematical learning for hundreds of thousands of students. This work will dramatically increase our nations capacity to solve STEM problems of the future. Data from our past NSF project also provides compelling evidence that our mathematically coherent and inquiry approach to teaching and learning is having a transformative effect on the learning and success of minority students. The development and dissemination of these programs will dramatically improve undergraduate mathematics student learning and success across the nation. The PhD students completing the mathematics education certificate program will be equipped to improve PST courses and lead workshops for local mathematics teachers to support their implementation of the Common Core State Mathematics Standards.
Effective start/end date9/1/132/29/20


  • National Science Foundation (NSF): $2,519,729.00

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