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Drake professor receives $125,000 grant for STEM-related project

May 9, 2013

Maryann Huey, assistant professor of mathematics at Drake University, has been awarded a $125,000 grant from the Iowa Department of Education for her project Statistics and Probability for Teaching Secondary Students. This project, which is a collaborative effort with Wendy Weber a mathematics professor at Central College, will provide professional development activities to rural, secondary mathematics teachers from the Great Prairie Area Education Agency.

In a recent report, the American Statistical Association (ASA) and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) called on universities and school administrators across the country to provide high-quality training and professional-development opportunities that will help prepare future and current teachers to lead classes on statistics. Research has found that despite advancing content recommendations, actual changes in classrooms have lagged behind, and that teachers require statistics and probability coursework in alignment with the content to be taught in grades 6-12 across the nation. This project aims to address these issues and implement the Iowa Core Mathematics Standards.

“With the new emphasis placed on statistics and probability in the national and Iowa mathematics standards, teachers are scrambling to modify their instruction,” says Maryann Huey. “The purpose of this grant is to not only to prepare teachers, but to develop engaging activities for Iowa students that involve real-world situations and solve problems that are important to them. The end goal is to spark students' interest in pursuing STEM-related disciplines and develop the needed self-confidence and competence to be successful in future endeavors.”

In the first year of the project, 25 teachers will participate in a summer professional development workshop with ongoing efforts throughout the academic year. Throughout the professional development series, teachers will work collaboratively in professional learning communities to develop statistics and probability lesson plans and assessment items. Evidence will be collected from each teacher's classroom to determine the success of implementation, as well as areas that require revision. Sources of data will include recording of teachers in the classroom and student work, as well as student pre- and post-assessment results, and Iowa Assessment data.

After the first year, the professional development series will be evaluated and modifications to materials and instruments will be made as necessary. Years two and three of the project will work with teachers in other Iowa locations that are historically underserved by institutions of higher education.

For more information on the project, contact Maryann Huey at 515-271-2839 or maryann.huey@drake.edu.