Elementary Mathematics Specialists Research Conference

Nicole Rigelman, Portland State U. & Maggie McGatha, U. of Louisville

AMTE and the Brookhill Institute of Mathematics jointly sponsored a conference for those involved in conducting research relative to mathematics specialists on May 18-19, 2015 at the Brookhill Institute of Mathematics facilities in Waukesha, WI.

We had three plenary speakers: (1) Francis (Skip) Fennell, director of the ems&tl project from McDaniel College, focused on providing the historical perspective on EMS professionals, (2) Margret Hjalmarson, an NSF program director from George Mason University, focused on NSF funding opportunities, and (3) Chandra Lewis from RMC Research Corporation-Portland, focused on a way of developing rigorous research/evaluation for EMS.

Participants (n=34) included individuals engaged in research on math specialists as identified through: (1) a review of the literature on mathematics specialists, (2) a review of AMTE and NCTM conference programs, and (3) recommendations from individuals invited to attend the conference. For the most part, teams of two attended representing various projects/collaborations from 14 states. Participants included mathematics teacher educators, mathematics education researchers, and mathematics specialists. The math teacher educators ranged from seasoned professors to graduate students, from university faculty to EMS professionals working in school districts.

We provided time for researchers to share their research, dialogue about challenges in conducting research, share resources and instruments being used/designed for research, and consider future collaborations in researching the impact of Mathematics Specialists. We developed a Google Site to disseminate these resources and encourage continued connections and collaboration across participants.

Potential next steps include identifying high leverage mathematics specialist/coaching practices. We are interested in linking these practices to AMTE’s EMS Standards. From there we intend to seek external funding to support the development of program evaluation/assessment and EMS professional learning aligned to these standards and practices.