Equity Matters in Mathematics Education. Marilyn E. Strutchens Auburn University May 4, 2007. Equity Matters. Testimonies. Related Research to the Testimonies. English Language Learners in mathematics education (Bay -Williams & Socorro, 2007)
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Equity Matters in Mathematics Education Marilyn E. Strutchens Auburn University May 4, 2007
Equity Matters Testimonies
Related Research to the Testimonies • English Language Learners in mathematics education (Bay -Williams & Socorro, 2007) • Mathematics for all students (Schoenfeld, 2002) • Equity Principle, African American males, and mathematics education (Berry, 2003; 2004; 2005) • Secondary African American students and their success and failure in geometry (Westbrook, 2005) • Opportunity to Learn (Tate, 2005) • Reform mathematics and special needs students (McTier, 2007) • Teachers who help African American students gain conceptual understanding in mathematics (Malloy, 2007) • The effect of part-time work on high school mathematics and science course taking (Singh & Ozturk, 2000) • TEAM-Math Observations (Strutchens, 2002-2007)
Equity as opportunity to learn Equity refers to 'fairness.' We should have the same high expectations/standards for all students (equality of excellence). However, even though they may all have the ability to learn, students do so in different ways; they have their own particular strengths and weaknesses. Thus to be fair (i.e., give all students the opportunity to achieve excellence) we must provide an educational environment that meets their needs. This means that we need to be flexible with our educational programs; the exact same instruction, curriculum, or assessment does not work with all students (Laboratory Network Program, 1993).
Equity as equalizing outcomes A serious commitment to promoting equity in American education goes beyond changing values and attitudes, to changing policies and programs that affect student participation and achievement, ultimately influencing outcomes/results. Generally, equity is a set of actions that produce results that are not determined by differences of race, sex, or economic status. In education, equity requires actions that improve educational experiences and set high expectations of success for all students. (Jones, 1994)
Equity as a vision of a community of learning The Holmes Group (1990) (cited in Century, 1994) described school as a place "where everybody's children participate in making knowledge and meaning - where each child is a valued member of a community of learning.”
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Equity Principle “Excellence in mathematics education requires equity --high expectations and strong support for all students” (NCTM, 2000, p. 12).
Equity requires: • High expectations and worthwhile opportunities for all • Accommodating differences to help everyone learn mathematics • Resources and support for all classrooms and all students (NCTM, 2000).
Major Theories • Critical Education Theory • Critical Race Theory
Critical Education Theory • Argues that society is both exploitative and oppressive, but also is capable of being changed. • Reproduction theory is "concerned with the process through which existing social structures maintain and reproduce themselves" (Weiler, 1988, p, 6). • Production theory is "concerned with the ways in which both individuals and classes assert their on experience and contest or resist the ideological and material forces imposed upon them in a variety of settings" (Weiler, 1988, p. 11). Weiler, K. (1988). Women teaching for change: Gender, class and power. Critical studies in Education. New York: Bergin & Garvey.
Critical Race Theory (CRT) • Unmasking and exposing racism in its various permutations • Voice (Storytelling) • Critique of liberalism • Claims that Whites have been the main beneficiaries of civil rights legislation Ladson-Billings, G. (1999). Just what is critical race theory, and what’s it doing in a nice field like education? In L. Parker, D. Dehyle, and S. Villenas (Eds.), Race is, race isn’t: Critical race theory and qualitative studies in education (pp. 7 – 30). Boulder: Westview Press.
Particular Racial CRTs • American Indian Tribal Critical Race Theory (TribalCrit) • Latino Critical Theory (LatCrit) • Asian Critical Race Theory (AsianCrit) Bartlett, L., & Brayboy, B. M. J. (2005). Race and Schooling: Theories and ethnographies. The Urban Review, 37(5), 361 - 374.
Closing the Achievement Gap: A Position of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Every student should have equitable and optimal opportunities to learn mathematics free from bias—intentional or unintentional—based on race, gender, socioeconomic status, or language. In order to close the achievement gap, all students need the opportunity to learn challenging mathematics from a well-qualified teacher who will make connections to the background, needs, and cultures of all learners.
Quick Survey • What is the highest level of mathematics that you completed in high school? Why? • What impacted you the most in terms of your mathematics learning good or bad?
Other Reasons Why Equity Matters • Adequate Yearly Progress to meet No Child Left Behind Criteria • National Security • National Economy
Students • Teachers • Administrators • Parents • Policy Makers • And other Stakeholders
For more than three decades equity matters have been becoming increasingly more important and have risen from areas of concern for women and scholars of color to capture the interests of larger academic audiences.
NCTM’s Research Committee’s Commitment to Equity • In 2005 the Research committee published an article in JRME to raise awareness about equity and issues surrounding equity from a research perspective as well as to support the NCTM’s commitment to the Equity Principle. • They made the following statement: “Equity issues offer a unique opportunity to unite research and practice within mathematics education and across other disciplines”(p. 92).
As researchers, we are producing just words. And yet, words are more than sounds. People do things with words, and sometimes what is being done is wrong. When the latter happens, it does not help to say that we had little influence on what was done with our words or that we were unaware of these words’ possible misuses. The responsibility for our words and what is done with them, I believe is always ours (Anna Sfard, 2005, p. 411).
Suggested Research Questions from NCTM’s Research Committee: • What impact, if any, do Standards-based curricula have on existing differentials in student achievement (Apple, 1992; Tate, 1995)? Do such curricula reduce differentials? If they exacerbate existing differentials, can this inequity be mitigated, and if so, how? • Does the creation of mathematical discourse communities marginalize students whose first language is not English (Secada, 1996)? • How do different resources allocated to urban, suburban, and rural children differentially affect access, opportunity, and outcome? Gutstein, E., Fey, J.T., Heid, M.K., DeLoach-Johnson, I. Middleton, J.A., Larson, M., Dougherty, B., Tunis, H. (2005). Equity in school mathematics education: How can research contribute? Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 36 (2), 92-100.
Suggested Research Questions from NCTM’s Research Committee: • Are various forms of assessment inappropriate (culturally, physically, or otherwise) in ways that prevent educators from understanding what students actually know, and if so, how might we redesign assessments (e.g., Ladson-Billings, 1998; Lee, 1998)? • Do professional development programs that build on the knowledge that teachers bring (e.g., Franke, Carpenter, Levi, & Fennema, 2001) fully capitalize on, rather than marginalize, as some have documented (Lipman, 1998), the wisdom of teachers of color about their own communities? Gutstein, E., Fey, J.T., Heid, M.K., DeLoach-Johnson, I. Middleton, J.A., Larson, M., Dougherty, B., Tunis, H. (2005). Equity in school mathematics education: How can research contribute? Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 36 (2), 92-100.
Suggested Research Questions from NCTM’s Research Committee: • What happens to students’ mathematics learning when taught in culturally relevant ways (Gutstein, Lipman, Hernandez, & de los Reyes, 1997; Ladson-Billings, 1995, 1997)? • How do individuals learn to teach in ways that are culturally relevant, and how can mathematics teacher education programs prepare individuals to teach in culturally relevant ways – especially when the individuals do not share their students’ cultures? • How do families perceive teachers’ efforts to develop critical approaches to mathematics (Frankenstein, 1987) and approaches to knowledge that are oriented toward social change? Gutstein, E., Fey, J.T., Heid, M.K., DeLoach-Johnson, I. Middleton, J.A., Larson, M., Dougherty, B., Tunis, H. (2005). Equity in school mathematics education: How can research contribute? Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 36 (2), 92-100.
Suggested Research Questions from NCTM’s Research Committee: • Can children with special needs profit from Standards-based (meaningful and inquiry-based) instruction in mainstream classrooms (i.e., construct all aspects of mathematical proficiency as outlined in the National Research Council report Adding It Up, Kilpatrick, Swafford, & Findell, 2001)? • To what extent can Standards-based instruction prevent, or at least minimize, the number of children classified as learning disabled or behaviorally disordered? What special instructional adaptations are helpful or even necessary to ensure that such children prosper in a Standards-based environment and develop mathematical power? Gutstein, E., Fey, J.T., Heid, M.K., DeLoach-Johnson, I. Middleton, J.A., Larson, M., Dougherty, B., Tunis, H. (2005). Equity in school mathematics education: How can research contribute? Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 36 (2), 92-100.
Suggested Research Questions from NCTM’s Research Committee: • “What do equitable mathematics education classroom practices look like in varied contexts and how do these practices align with the Standards? How do you translate and adapt equitable mathematics practices to new settings? Are equitable practices context dependent?” (Tate & Lipman, 2003, p. 129). Gutstein, E., Fey, J.T., Heid, M.K., DeLoach-Johnson, I. Middleton, J.A., Larson, M., Dougherty, B., Tunis, H. (2005). Equity in school mathematics education: How can research contribute? Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 36 (2), 92-100.
Questions Related to Equity from Practitioners • What are research-based strategies for mathematics instruction to students with 1) learning disabilities, and 2) other low-incidence disabilities? • How can I engage my class in higher-level thinking? (effective) • How do we differentiate instruction within the classroom when we have inclusion/SPED/ELL? • How do we “catch up” students who are behind (e.g. in high school) or is it even possible? • What are effective culturally relevant ways of teaching? Strategies for closing the gap? • What are the effects of gender-based mathematics instruction? • What impact do teachers’ expectations have on students’ opportunity to learn?
Questions Related to Equity from Practitioners • How does the education of the parents and the socio-economic level of the family affect students’ motivation to study mathematics? • Is there any research related to students whose parents do not value education and their struggle to find the motivation to study? • I really would like information or suggestions for students in inclusion classes and those students who are not special ed, but are very weak in math. How do we catch them up and teach the new concepts we are responsible for teaching? • How do we let students of poverty know that we have their best interest at heart when we come from different backgrounds than they do?
How do we bring researchers and practitioners together in mutually respectful ways so that each group benefits from the interactions?
Media • Teacher Journals • Administrator Journals and Newsletters • Internet Note: These venues should not replace publishing in premier research journals, but they should be other places where our work can be disseminated.
Professional Development • Inquiry Groups • Book Studies • Co-Teaching with Action Research • Systemic Initiatives • Math Science Partnerships
Partnership of: • Auburn University • Tuskegee University • 15 school districts in East Alabama NSF-funded Math and Science Partnership
TEAM-Math Mission Statement To enable all students to understand, utilize, communicate, and appreciate mathematics as a tool in everyday situations in order to become life-long learners and productive citizens by Transforming East Alabama Mathematics (TEAM-Math).
Project Goals • To improve student achievement in mathematics and close achievement gaps. • Systemic Improvement of Mathematics Education • Alignment of policies and practices across the system • Different audiences: Teachers, administrators, the public
Why TEAM-Math? • Low test scores in Alabama as a whole, and east Alabama in particular • Large achievement gaps between: • Students of different race/ethnicities • Students of different income levels • General education students and special education students
Major Activities • Curriculum alignment • Leadership development • Professional development • Redesign of teacher preparation program
Curriculum Alignment • Curriculum Guide: • Developed objectives for what should be taught at each grade/course to ensure consistency and growth • Now in its third edition! • Common textbook adoption • Quarterly tests
Leadership Development • District- and School-level Teacher Leaders • Responsible for coordinating activities at their level • Serve as a liaison to the project • Quarterly professional development for the Teacher Leaders
Professional Development • Schools participate in cohorts • Cohort I (Summer 2004) -- 25 schools • Cohort II (Summer 2005) -- 22 schools • Cohort III (Summer 2006)– 23 schools • Additional workshops and courses throughout the year.
Teacher Preparation • Improve programs at the Universities • Initial focus on elementary content courses • Beginning to look at the content courses for secondary mathematics teachers
Outreach • Administrators • Guidance counselors • Parents and community
Summary of SAT Progress • During the past two years, Cohort 1 schools gained more than the state average (2.56 NCEs vs 2.17 NCEs) • Cohort 1 schools improved in grades 3 through 6 • The largest gains have occurred in third grade (7.83 NCEs compared to 2.0 for the state) • Generally static at grades 7-8 (less than 2 points) • Six (6) of the 14 schools in grades 3 to 8 experienced two year gains at each of their grade levels * Normal Curve Equivalent scores (NCEs)
Summary of Alabama Reading and Mathematics Test (ARMT) Progress • Overall, ARMT pass rates in Cohort 1 schools are nearly 10% higher after two years with the greatest increase for Grade 6 (14.72%). • In Grade 4, five (5) of the 7 schools experienced increased pass rates (Range = 3.7% to 13.8%) • In Grade 6, all 10 schools have experienced increased pass rates (Range = 1.7% to 26.8%)
Summary of Alabama High School Graduation Exam (AHSGE) Progress • Cohort 1 schools have made progress in both Grades 11 and 12 • The pass rate in grade 11 is 10% higher than two years ago (compared to 5.5% increase statewide) • The pass rate in grade 12 is 3% higher (compared to a stable rate statewide) • Greatest improvements have occurred in Grade 11 • Seven (7) of the 8 Cohort 1 high schools improved Grade 11 pass rates (ranging from 0.63% to 26.7%) over the past two years • In grade 12, five (5) of the 8 Cohort 1 high schools improved their AHSGE passing rate.
Goals of the Professional Development Related to Equity Matters • Raise awareness • Examine barriers to equitable outcomes for all students • Examine the role of culture in the learning and teaching of mathematics • Examine students’ mathematics achievement through equity lenses • Analyze specific methodologies posited to increase equity in the mathematics classroom
Discussion Questions • What are pivotal activities that can be used to help teachers to see the importance of paying attention to equity issues? • What are essential readings for helping teachers to understand equity issues?
Possible Activities • Social Identity Petals • Stereotypes and Beliefs Activity • Awareness Workshop (Weissglass, J. (2002). Inequity in mathematics education. Questions for educators. The Mathematics Educator, 12(2), 34-39.) • Multiple Entry Level Problems • Culturally Responsive Teaching • Differentiation • Autobiography Related to Equity • NAEP Data Workshops • Multicultural Literature as a Context for Mathematical Problem Solving: Children and Parents Learning Together • Encourage teachers to use best practices from the research