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Research Opportunities

Research Group Name

PI/Co-PI(s)

Description

Position type


Eligible students

Required skills

Notes

  Parents, Teachers, and Multilingual Children Collaborating on Mathematics Together (NSF 2010417)

Advisory Board Member: M. Alejandra Sorto

PI: Beatriz Quintos (University of Maryland)

PI: Marta Civil (University of Arizona)

PI: Rachel Pinnow (University of Missouri)

The goal of this project is to develop and study a mathematics partnership that engages multilingual children, their teachers, and their parents in mathematical experiences together. These mathematical experiences are designed to advance equity in mathematics education for multilingual students. The project will design professional learning opportunities for parents, teachers, and students, and study the ways in which the professional learning opportunities influence teacher beliefs, quality of instruction, parent beliefs, and teacher and parent understanding of positioning.

This project uses a design-based implementation research (DBIR) approach, along with principles of Social Design Experiments to engage in iterative cycles of inquiry to develop, implement, and refine the model. Parents, teachers, and students in three states (Arizona, Maryland, and Missouri) will be recruited that represent diverse populations both with respect to demographics and with respect to the policy contexts surrounding multilingual learners.

Volunteer

Doctoral

Bilingual (English/Spanish) preferable

Reasoning Language for Teaching Secondary Algebra


Patterson, C.  Bonner, E. Prasad, P.

The Reasoning Language for Teaching Secondary Algebra (ReLaTe-SA) project proposes to study the teaching and learning of algebra in grades 7-9, with a specific focus on the ways in which classroom language explicitly describes properties of and relationships among algebraic objects. The project seeks to investigate the bi-directional relationship between reasoning-rich algebraic discourse and the mathematical meanings students hold for core algebraic concepts such as equations, the equation-solving process, and functions. With a focus on the teacher, ReLaTe-SA will analyze classroom narratives about algebraic concepts and procedures and provide an 80-hour professional development program designed to support teachers in developing stronger explanations of algebraic objects, their properties, and their relationships. GRA

Masters & Doctoral

 

The Math Habits Observation Tool Project


Melhuish, K.
Sorto, M.A.
Strickland, S.

An important aspect of mathematics teaching and learning is the provision of timely and targeted feedback to students and teachers on the teaching and learning processes. However, many of the tools and resources focused on providing such feedback (e.g., formative assessment) are aimed at helping students. Formative assessment of teaching can be equally transformative for teachers and school leaders and is a key component of improved teacher practice. This project will refine, expand and validate a formative assessment tool called Math Habits Tool (MHT) for Kindergarten through 8th grade classrooms. The MHT is intended to capture and understand patterns of in-the-moment teacher-student and student-student classroom interactions in ways that can promote more equitable access to high quality math learning experiences for all students. The tablet or computer-based tool is intended for use with teacher leaders, principals, coaches, and others interested in assessing teacher practice in a formative way.  The tool will be used to code a large database of classroom levels to quantitatively establish productive mathematical interactions amongst teachers and students.

Funded
&
Volunteer


Doctoral

Ability to qualitatively code mathematics classroom interactions

n/a

Mathematical Modeling


Czocher, J.

Maintaining an effective pipeline of students into STEM careers depends upon their ability to learn mathematical modeling. Mathematical modeling involves creating a mathematical representation that can describe a nonmathematical problem. This  funded project has two research goals: 1) to understand how undergraduate STEM students build a mathematical model, including the process by which they define a mathematical strategy to describe a nonmathematical problem; and 2) to identify task features and facilitator scaffolding strategies that best support the growth of students' mathematical modeling abilities. The project will focus on three critical competencies related to mathematical modeling: making assumptions, mathematizing, and validating. Improving student skills in mathematics is important for improving student performance in STEM fields, a national priority. 

The mixed-methods study will enter Phase 2 (design and execution of teaching experiments) in Autumn 2020.

Project participation will provide opportunities for publications.

 

Funded
&
Volunteer


 

Doctoral

Desire to read widely in the literature,

Familiarity with basics of qualitative and quantitative (or mixed-methods) research

Willingness to get creative with task design, interpretive analysis, and quantitative modeling of qualitative data.

 

n/a

Mathematics Discourse


Bishop, J.

In this research group we are trying to answer the question of what productive mathematics classroom discourse looks like in middle grades classes. Much of the time in mathematics classrooms is spent talking, but not all of that talk is mathematically productive. Our goal is to identify features of mathematics discussions that support students to generate, explain, and defend mathematical ideas. Thus far, our research team has identified two discursive features—responsiveness to students’ mathematical ideas and authority relations.

Funded


Doctoral

Curiosity and dedication

n/a

Undergraduate Research


Sorto, M.A.

Texas State University is seeking reaffirmation of accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). This process is already underway and will be finalized in 2020. While part of the process includes a report on how Texas State currently complies with SACSCOC compliance standards, a Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) will propose the enhancement of educational quality at Texas State beyond 2020. This vision plan will focus on supporting student learning and on accomplishing the mission of our university.
Drs. Erina D. Duganne, Wesley G. Jennings, and M. Alejandra Sorto, co-chairs of Texas State's Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP), are charged with creating a strategic plan aimed at enhancing the role of undergraduate research at Texas State University. In 2017-2018, Sorto and Dr. Sean Horan led an examination of undergraduate research initiatives on campus and professional best practices. In 2018-2019, Duganne and Jennings will lead the development of outcomes and strategies to enhance student engagement and learning through research experience.

Volunteer


Undergraduate,
Masters
&
Doctoral

Students will assist with creating a strategic plan aimed at enhancing the role of undergraduate research at Texas State University. Main skills required are the ability to search for resources, synthesize research publications, and communicate. 

Assistant will be needed until Spring 2021.

Undergraduate Modeling Challenge


Czocher, J.

SIMIODE is a non-profit professional development community for learning to teach mathematics from a modeling perspective. SIMIODE hosts an annual modeling challenge, SCUDEM.  Part of the SCUDEM initiative is to get students excited about doing mathematical modeling with complex, authentic problems.

The challenge is for three member teams that work at their home institution for a week developing approaches and solutions to a modeling problem of their choice and preparing an Executive Summary and 10 minute Presentation. The problems are designed so that every team may experience success in modeling, enhance their model building skills, and increase their confidence in modeling with differential equations. Problems are drawn from the physical, social, and life sciences. 

This  research project is designed to assess students' growth of modeling skills and mathematics self-efficacy as a result of participating in the challenge.  

Information about the SCUDEM challenge:
https://simiode.org/scudem/scudem-iii-2018

Volunteer


Masters
&
Doctoral

Spreadsheets
SPSS (or willingness to learn)
Basic knowledge of research design (or willingness to learn)
Basic qualitative analysis skills.

n/a

Orchestrating Discussions Around Proof


Melhuish, K.
Lew, K.
Sigley, R.

Mathematics classes that incorporate student discussion have been shown to engage students in authentic mathematical activity and support students' development of conceptual understanding. Although major organizations (e.g., the Mathematical Association of America) have called for a shift away from pure lecture in all mathematics courses, college mathematics instructors have few supports available to help them include student discussion in their classes. This project aims to address this need helping faculty build discussion into their Abstract Algebra courses, and to study those discussions. Abstract Algebra is a proof-based course taken by many mathematics majors and preservice secondary mathematics teachers in the United States. The project team will design instructor supports (tasks, tools, and protocols) that can be used to promote productive discussion. The goal is to help faculty guide classroom discussion that advances a lesson's mathematical agenda, while genuinely incorporating student ideas and voices. Through the design process, the study will also document student discussion to aid in deeper knowledge of this activity for both instructors and future researchers. The national impact of the project lies in both the development of instructor supports for incorporating discussion and the direct study of undergraduate students engaged in discussions in an advanced mathematics course.

Funded
&
Volunteer


Masters
&
Doctoral

Knowledge of abstract algebra

at least next year - also these positions are already assigned to RAs

Coordinate Systems and Measurements


 Lee, H.

In this research group we investigate how pre-service elementary teachers (PSETs) construct coordinate systems and reason about measurements of geometrical objects within frames of reference. We have collected data through a teaching experiment over the summer of 2018, producing a rich data set of 20, hour-long, video-recorded sessions with four PSETs. We hold weekly research meetings in which we engage in analyzing the data and reading relevant literature. 

Funded
&
Volunteer


Masters
&
Doctoral

Knowledge of the teaching experiment methodology, dedication, and enthusiasm towards understanding students’ mathematical thinking.

n/a