Research on UTeach and STEM Education

Presentations and Peer-Reviewed Articles by UTeach Faculty About UTeach and STEM Education Topics


Cade, W., Liu, F., Vaden-Kiernan, M., & Dodson, M. (2019) An Examination of Recruitment and Retention of UTeach Program CandidatesAmerican Institutes for Research. 

Evans, P., Dillard, K., Rodriguez-Wilhelm, D., & McAlister-Shields, L. (2019). Like-Minded People: University-Based Interdisciplinary Collaborations in STEM Teacher Preparation ProgramsJournal for STEM Education Research.


Backes, B., Goldhaber, D, Cade, W., Sullivan, K, & Dodson, M. (2018). Can UTeach? Assessing the relative effectiveness of STEM teachers. Economics of Education Review, 64, 184–198.

Craig, C. et al. (2018, March). The influence of parents on undergraduate and graduate students' entering the STEM disciplines and STEM careers

While policy briefs provide sweeping statements about parents’ positive effects on their children, narrative inquiries such as this one illuminate parents’ inquiry moves within home environments. These actions became retrospectively revealed in their adult children’s lived narratives. Nurtured by their mothers and/or fathers, students enter STEM disciplines and STEM-related careers through multiple pathways in addition to the anticipated pipeline.

Fletcher, C. L., Warner, J. R., Garbrecht, L., & Ramsey, C. (2018, April). Lessons learned from developing a framework for evaluating the impact of CS teacher professional development on CS for All outcomes. Paper presented at AERA Annual Meeting, New York, NY.

Harron, J. (2018, April). Introducing preservice STEM teachers to computer science: A narrative of theoretically oriented design. Texas Education Review, 6(1), 1733. doi:10.15781/T20R9MM9X

This paper narrates the process of designing a curricular unit that serves to introduce preservice science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) teachers to computer science (CS) education.

Fletcher, C. L., Warner, J. R., Garbrecht, L., & Ramsey, C. (2018, April). Lessons learned from developing a framework for evaluating the impact of CS teacher professional development on CS for All outcomes. Paper presented at AERA Annual Meeting, New York, NY.

This paper discusses efforts to consistently define and measure longitudinal objectives in relation to The University of Texas at Austin’s WeTeach_CS project, which focuses on CS teacher training, certification, and capacity building.

Lowery, K., Rodriguez, S., & Benfield, P. (Accepted). Making as a Performance Task. Science Scope.

Marder, M. (2018, March). Rise and fall of Texas STEM education: College readiness and course-taking since House Bill 5 of 2013 [White paper].

Texas House Bill 5 of 2013, which gave students more freedom to pursue their interests, is almost exclusively benefiting students in low-poverty schools. Students face decreased post-secondary opportunities overall, and the decrease is most severe for Black, Hispanic, and low-income students.

Marshall, J. & Harron, J. R. (2018). Making learners: A framework for evaluating making in STEM education. Interdisciplinary Journal of Problem-based Learning 12,(2). doi:10.7771/1541-5015.1749

Ramsey, C., Cannady, J., & DeGraff, M. (2018, February). Closing the gender and underrepresented minority gap in CS: UTeach Computer Science Principles AP assessment results. Poster presented at SIGCSE, Baltimore, MD.

The College Board designed the Advanced Placement (AP) Computer Science Principles(CSP) course to increase participation of girls and underrepresented minorities (Black,Hispanic, Native American students) in K-12 CS. UTeach designed a Project Based Learning (PBL) AP CSP course, teacher professional development and support. This poster discusses the success of this approach during the inaugural administration of the CSP exam.

Ramsey, C. (2018). How to Bring CS to your School, Even if You Don’t Know CS. Session presented at the UTeach STEM Educator’s Conference, Austin, Texas. 

Ramsey, C. (2018). Project Based Learning (PBL) for Equity in CS Classes. Session presented at the WeTeach_CS Summit, Austin, Texas. 

Rodriguez, S., Allen, K, Harron, J., & Qadri, A. (Accepted) Making and The 5E Learning Cycle. The Science Teacher.

Rodriguez, S. R., Fletcher, S., & Harron, J. R. (Accepted). Introducing ‘making’ to elementary and secondary preservice science teachers across two university settings. Innovations in Science Teacher Education.

Rodriguez, S., Morrison, A.W., & Benfield P., (Accepted). Pulley Islands: A tinkering challenge. Science and Children.

Rodriguez, S., Harron, J., Benfield, P., & Reyes, M. (2018). Illuminating Food Webs: A maker jigsawScience Scope, 42(1), 54-64.

Rodriguez, S. R., Harron, J. R., & DeGraff, M. W. (2018). UTeach Maker: A micro-credentialing program for preservice teachers. Journal of Digital Learning in Teacher Education, 34(1), 6-17. 

Rodriguez, S., Harron, J., Fletcher, S., & Spock, H. (2018). Elements of making: A framework to support making in the science classroom. The Science Teacher, 85(2), 24-30.

Sparks, D. (2018). The Process of Becoming: Identity Development of African American Female Science and Mathematics Preservice Teachers. Journal of Science Teacher Education, 29(3), 243-61.

Walkington, C., & Marder, M. (2018). Using the UTeach Observation Protocol (UTOP) to understand the quality of mathematics instruction. ZDM Mathematics Education.

The UTeach Observation Protocol (UTOP) was designed to inform STEM teacher education. We show how the UTOP reveals important aspects of teachers’ instruction, and discuss key strengths and weaknesses of the instrument. We find that the UTOP provides a broad view of instructional practice useful for informing systemic professional development, while also addressing content-specific teaching behaviors critical to STEM teaching. This article provides a novel theoretical, empirical, and practical base of knowledge for using or making decisions about whether to use the UTOP for math classroom observations.


Distin, K., & Fraser, B. Evaluation of Learning Environments of the UTeach Teacher Development Program for Secondary STEM Teachers. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, San Antonio, TX, April 2017. 

This paper describes how learning environment research was used to guide the design, implementation, and evaluation of the learning settings of the UTeach program utilizing a modified version of the Constructivist Learning Environment Survey (CLES) (Taylor, Dawson & Fraser, 1995; Taylor & Fraser, 1991).

Farrell, I., & Hamed, K. Examining the Relationship Between Technological Pedagogic Content Knowledge (TPACK) and Student Achievement Utilizing the Florida Value-Added Model. Journal of Research on Technology in Education

Utilizing a correlational research design, the authors sought to examine the relationship between the technological pedagogical content knowledge (TPACK) of in-service teachers and student achievement measured with each individual teacher's Value-Added Model (VAM) score.

Harron, J., Langdon, J., Gonzalez, J., & Cater, S. Digital ForensicsThe Science Teacher, Vol. 84. Issue 8 (November 2017). 

Harron et al cite that the term forensic science may evoke thoughts of bloodspatter analysis, DNA testing, and identifying molds, spores, and larvae. A growing part of this field, however, is that of digital forensics, involving techniques with clear connections to math and physics. Here, they describe a five-part project involving smartphones and the investigation of a hypothetical crime and subsequent mock trial.

Horvath, M., Goodell, J., & Kosteas, V. Decisions to enter and continue in the teaching profession: Evidence from a sample of U.S. secondary STEM teacher candidates. Teaching and Teacher Education, 71, 57–65.

Given its prevalence and cost it is imperative to identify predictors of early career teacher turnover intentions and behavior. During their final year as education majors, 311 US, STEM Secondary Education students rated their student teaching experience, the strength of their teacher identity, and their intent to enter the teaching profession. Within 1–3 years after graduating 191 of them reported whether they remained in the teaching profession. One's identity as a teacher, as well as the perceived quality of student teaching experiences, predicted both intent and actual entry into the teaching profession. Furthermore, teacher identity mediated the relationship between student teaching satisfaction and outcomes.

Marder, M., Brown, C. R., & Plisch, M. (2017). Recruiting Teachers in High-Needs STEM Fields: A Survey of Current Majors and Recent STEM Graduates. American Physical Society.


Craig, C., Evans, P., Stokes, D., Bott, S. (in press). Attracting, preparing and retaining teachers in areas of high need: A teaching science as inquiry model. In M. Peters, B. Cowie & I. Menters (Eds.) A companion to research in teacher education. New York, NY: Springer Publishing.

Farrell, I. & Hamed, K. Teaching with soap: Examples of project-based units for students and future educators. Science activities: Classroom projects and curriculum ideas, 53(2)(pp. 74–86). New York: Routledge. 

This article describes the use of project-based instruction in activities and labs intended to develop higher-order thinking skills with high school students and pre-service teachers through the use of soap making.

Kirshner, D. (2016). Configuring learning theory to support teaching. In L. English & D. Kirshner (Eds.), Handbook of international research in mathematics education (3rd Ed)(pp. 98-149). New York: Taylor & Francis.

This chapter addresses the conundrum posed for education by the multiple theorizations of learning offered by psychology. From a Sociology of Scientific Knowledge perspective, the author argues that choosing any single theory serves psychology’s interest in eventual unification, but obscures our coming to terms with the fact that psychology is multi-paradigmatic, and has produced independently coherent theorizations that motivate educational practice. As a new strategy, the author formulates independent genres of teaching (toward skills, concepts, and cultural practices), each informed by a separate theorization of learning.

Marder, M., & Hamrock, C. (2017, working paper). Math and science outcomes for students of teachers from standard and alternative pathways in Texas.

The authors assess the impact of teachers from different preparation pathways on Algebra I and Biology learning outcomes in Texas. They find that teachers prepared by standard programs stay in teaching longer than those from alternative certification and their students learn more.

Marder, M., Patzek, T, &  Tinker, S. (2016). Physics, fracking, fuel, and the future. In Physics Today 69 (7), 46-52.

To contend with the challenges of fueling modern society, the community must collaborate with other disciplines and remain broadly engaged in research and education on energy.

Smith, J., & Nadelson, L. (2016, January). Learning for you and learning for me: Mentoring as professional development for mentor teachers. Mentoring & Tutoring: Partnership in Learning, 24(1), 59-72.

The authors sought to gain a deeper understanding of the influence that placing a teacher in a mentor role can have on their professional development and practice. Thus, we researched the influence of mentor teachers’ work with university-level STEM education majors by engaging in teaching a limited series of STEM inquiry-based lessons in the mentors’ classrooms. Surveys of the mentor teachers indicated that there were many positive benefits for mentors, including gaining new ideas, increased reflection on their practice, increased engagement of students, and in some cases shifts in practice.


Jett, C. C., Stinson, D. W., & Williams, B. A. (2015). Communities for and with Black male students: Four strategies can be effective in creating supportive learning environments. Mathematics Teacher, 109(4), 284–289.


Enderle, P., Dentzau, M., Roseler, K., Southerland, S. A., Granger, E., & Hughes, R. (2014). Examining the influence of RET's on science teachers' beliefs and practice. Science Education, 98, 1077–1108.

Current reform efforts in science place a premium on student sense making and participation in the practices of science. Given the disparity between these activities and current teaching practices, effective means of professional development around such practices must be identified. We use a close examination of 106 science teachers participating in Research Experiences for Teachers (RET) to identify, through structural equation modeling, the essential features in supporting teacher learning from these experiences. Findings suggest that participation in RET shape science teacher practice and beliefs, which in turn influence practice. Essential features of RET include engaging teachers socially in the research context and in research projects that are personally relevant to them. The model suggests ways to maximize the professional development potential of RET intended to support engagement in disciplinary practices.

Hale, G. R., Lopez, R. E., Cavallo, A. M. L., and Gonzalez, E. E. (2014). Increasing physics teacher production by replicating the UTeach preparation model and awarding Noyce scholarships, in ICPE-EPEC 2013 Conference Proceedings, Eds. Leos Dvorak and Vera Koudelkova, Charles University in Prague, MATFYZPRESS publisher, Prague, 2014, pp. 711-718.

Marder, M., &  Walkington, C. (2014). Classroom observation and value-added models give complementary information about quality of mathematics teaching [pdf]. In T. Kane, K. Kerr, & R. Pianta (Eds.), Designing teacher evaluation systems: New guidance from the Measuring Effective Teaching project (pp. 234–277). New York: John Wiley & Sons.

We developed the UTeach Observation Protocol (UTOP), which provides a systematic way to organize observations about teachers and students in a classroom, and provides numerical ratings of classroom quality in multiple dimensions. Through the Measures of Effective Teaching project we obtained UTOP ratings and comments on 982 videos of grades 4-8 mathematics classrooms. We also obtained results for each teacher in the videos from value-added models, which use changes in student test scores to evaluate teachers. We studied the connections between the UTOP ratings and the value-added model ratings. Our main conclusion is that classroom observation and value-added models supply complementary and separately valuable information on what happens in classrooms. Neither one nor the other can be used in isolation, nor does averaging the results together retain enough information. In the best classrooms, both observation results and student test-score gains are favorable.

Pérez, M., & Romero, P. (2014). Secondary STEM teacher preparation as a top priority for the university of the future [pdf]. The Journal of the World Universities Forum, 6(4), 21–36.

Initial results indicate that UTeach implementation is creating institutional change and establishing programs that are making headway in bringing STEM teacher preparation to the forefront of each university’s mission. This article examines this scale-up experience as an example of a successful model for strengthening university-based STEM teacher preparation. Specifically, we review the implications for the university of the future, and address the necessary institutional changes required for successful program implementation. Our experience shows that successful program implementation in a university setting requires a balanced approach. Clear articulation of operational and instructional program components, structured implementation support, explicit program benchmarks and continuous evaluation of progress must be paired with an awareness of the local context and opportunities for adaptations and innovations to the model.

van Es, E. A., Sandholtz, J., & Shea, L. (2014). Examining the impact of a partner-based teacher credential program on candidates’ performance outcomes. Peabody Journal of Education, 89, 482-499.

Wasserman, N., & Walkington, C. (2014). Exploring links between beginning UTeachers' beliefs and observed classroom practices [pdf]. Teacher Education & Practice, 27(2/3), 376-401. 

Facilitating the transition of STEM teachers into the teaching profession represents an important challenge in teacher education. We argue that it is those aspects of excellent teaching that beginning teachers believe to be important that may be central foci for teacher preparation. In the context of the nationally replicated UTeach program, we explore how beginning UTeachers' beliefs about important instructional approaches relate to observed classroom practices.


Ludwig, R., & Chimonidou, A. (2013). Hands-on-science: Hands-on, integrated natural sciences for pre-service elementary teachers [pdf]Paper presented at NARST Annual International Conference, Rio Grande, Puerto Rico. 

Marder, M. (2013). A problem with STEM. CBE Life Sciences Education, 12(2), 148–150.

Striking differences between physics and biology have important implications for interdisciplinary science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education.


Bendinelli, A. J., & Marder, M. (2012). Visualization of longitudinal student data [pdf].  Physical Review Special Topics–Physics Education Research,8(2), 1–15.

We use visualization to find patterns in educational data. We represent student scores from high-stakes exams as flow vectors in fluids, define two types of streamlines and trajectories, and show that differences between streamlines and trajectories are due to regression to the mean. This issue is significant because it determines how quickly changes in long-term educational patterns can be deduced from score changes in consecutive years. To illustrate our methods, we examine a policy change in Texas that put increased pressure on public school students to pass several exams, and gave them resources to accomplish it. The response to this policy is evident from the changes in trajectories, although previous evaluation had concluded the program was ineffective. We pose the question of whether increased expenditure on education should be expected to correspond to improved student scores, or whether it should correspond to an increased rate of improvement in student scores.

Granger, E. M., Bevis, T., Saka, Y., Southerland, S. A., Sampson, V., & Tate, R. (2012). Efficacy of student-centered instruction in supporting student science learning. Science, 338(6103), 105–108.

Transforming science learning through student-centered instruction that engages students in a variety of scientific practices is central to national science-teaching reform efforts. Our study employed a large-scale, randomized-cluster experimental design to compare the effects of student-centered and teacher-centered approaches on elementary school students’ understanding of space-science concepts. Data included measures of student characteristics and learning and teacher characteristics and fidelity to the instructional approach. Results reveal that learning outcomes were higher for students enrolled in classrooms engaging in scientific practices through a student-centered approach; two moderators were identified. A statistical search for potential causal mechanisms for the observed outcomes uncovered two potential mediators: students’ understanding of models and evidence and the self-efficacy of teachers.

Marder, M. (2012). Failure of U.S. public secondary schools in mathematics [pdf]. AASA Journal of Scholarship and Practice, 9(1), 8–24.

Poverty is a more important cause than teacher quality. 

Marder, M. (2012). Measuring teacher quality with value-added modeling [pdf].  Kappa Delta Pi Record, 48, 156–161.

Value-added modeling carries the promise of measuring teacher quality automatically and objectively, and improving school systems at minimal cost. Yet value-added modeling cannot be carried out without value judgments; and if there are technical errors, they will have human cost.

Marder, M. (2012). Visualizations of educational data.  Retrieved from

Newton, X. A., Poon, R.C., Nunes, N.L. and Stone, E. (2012). Research on teacher education programs: Logic Model Approach. Evaluation and Program Planning, 36, 88–96. 

In this paper, we argue that the logic model approach from scholarship on evaluation can enhance research on teacher education by making explicit the logical links between program processes and intended outcomes. We demonstrate the usefulness of the logic model approach through our own work on designing a longitudinal study that focuses on examining the process and impact of an undergraduate mathematics and science teacher education program.

Walkington, C., Sherman, M., & Petrosino, A. (2012). ‘Playing the game' of story problems: coordinating situation-based reasoning with algebraic representation [pdf]. The Journal of Mathematical Behavior, 31, 174–195.

This study critically examines a key justification used by educational stakeholders for placing mathematics in context –the idea that contextualization provides students with access to mathematical ideas. We present interviews of 24 ninth grade students from a low-performing urban school solving algebra story problems, some of which were personalized to their experiences. Using a situated cognition framework, we discuss how students use informal strategies and situational knowledge when solving story problems, as well how they engage in non-coordinative reasoning where situation-based reasoning is disconnected from symbol-based reasoning and other problem-solving actions. Results suggest that if contextualization is going to provide students with access to algebraic ideas, supports need to be put in place for students to make connections between formal algebraic representation, informal arithmetic-based reasoning, and situational knowledge.


Marder, M. (2011).  Research methods for scienceCambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.

A textbook that serves as an introduction to the design, analysis, and presentation of scientific projects. The book discusses experimental design, statistics, mathematical modelling, and preparing scientific papers and presentations.

Stroup, W., Hills, T., & Carmona, G. (2011). Computing the average square: An agent-based introduction to aspects of psychometric practice [pdf]. Technology, Knowledge and Learning, 16(3), 199–220.

This paper summarizes an approach to helping future educators to engage with key issues related to the application of measurement-related statistics to learning and teaching, especially in the contexts of science, mathematics, technology and engineering (STEM) education.


Dickinson, G., Summers, E. J., & Jackson, J. (2010). Developing expertise in project-based science: A longitudinal study of teacher development and student perceptions. In R. E. Yager (Ed.), Exemplary science for resolving societal challenges (pp. 1–18).  Arlington, VA: National Science Teachers Association.

The authors contend that preservice training in Project-Based Science (PBS) facilitates early faithful implementation of PBS, which in turn provides students with the opportunity to engage in the public discourse and debate advocated in Goals 2000 Objective 4.

Dickinson, G., & Summers, E. J. (2010). (Re)Anchored, video-centered engagement: The transferability of preservice training to practice [pdf]. Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 10(1), 106–118.

This longitudinal study tracks primary participants over 3 years from their last year of university preservice teaching training through their second year of in-service teaching via surveys, interviews, and teaching observations. The study employs a descriptive case study design to examine the transfer of preservice content, pedagogy, and video technology learning into teaching practice. The study places the model case studies within the larger context of analyzed observational and artifact data from 7 years of preservice teachers’ learning about (re)anchored, video-centered engagement.

Marshall, J. A., Petrosino, A. J.. & Martin, T.  (2010). Preservice teachers' conceptions and enactments of project-based instruction [pdf]. Journal of Science Education and Technology19(4), 370–386.

We present results of an investigation of preservice secondary mathematics and science teachers’ conceptions of project-based instruction (PBI) and their enactments of PBI in apprentice (student) teaching.

Newton et al.  (2010). Recruiting, preparing, and retaining high quality secondary mathematics and science teachers for urban schools: The cal teach experimental program. Issues in Teacher Education19(1), 21–40.

We present results of an investigation of preservice secondary mathematics and science teachers’ conceptions of project-based instruction (PBI) and their enactments of PBI in apprentice (student) teaching.

Wasserman, N. (2010). Inside the UTeach Program: Implications for Research in Mathematics Teacher EducationJournal of Mathematics Education at Teachers College, Volume 1, 12–16.

A number of recent studies have summarized, synthesized, and developed useful information about what should be viewed as important in mathematics teacher training. This paper looks at some of these claims from current research and uses the UTeach program from the University of Texas at Austin as a means of elaborating on how some theoretical issues might be addressed in practice.


Ares, N., Stroup, W. M., & Schademan, A. R. (2009). The power of mediating artifacts in group-level development of mathematical discourses [pdf]. Cognition and Instruction, 27(1), 1–24.

A new generation of networked classroom technology immerses students and teachers in the group-level construction of powerful mathematical and scientific concepts. We examine these networks from a sociocultural point of view as a new form of mediating artifact. We present a mixed-method, microgenetic analysis to characterize students’ appropriation of mathematical content and practice as mediated by the Participatory Simulations system. Central findings of the study are that networked activities provided the opportunity for students and the teacher to: (a) act on multiple representations, (b) create collectively a linked set of mathematical objects that they could examine and discuss together, and (c) exercise agency in the production of mathematical discourse and practice. These opportunities fostered the development of powerful mathematical discourse.

Marder, M., & Bansal, D. (2009). Flow and diffusion of high-stakes test scores. Proceedings of the National Academies of Science, 106, 17267–17270. 

We apply visualization and modeling methods for convective and diffusive flows to public school mathematics test scores from Texas. We obtain plots that show the most likely future and past scores of students, the effects of random processes such as guessing, and the rate at which students appear in and disappear from schools. We show that student outcomes depend strongly upon economic class, and identify the grade levels where flows of different groups diverge most strongly. Changing the effectiveness of instruction in one grade naturally leads to strongly nonlinear effects on student outcomes in subsequent grades.


Siegel, L. M., Dickinson, G., Hooper, E. J., & Daniels, M. (2008). Teaching algebra and geometry concepts by modeling telescope optics [pdf]. Mathematics Teacher, 490-497.

Preparation and delivery of high school mathematics lessons that integrate mathematics and astronomy through The Geometer's Sketchpad models, traditional proof, and inquiry-based activities. The lessons were created by a University of Texas UTeach preservice teacher as part of a project-based field experience in which high school students construct a working Dobsonian telescope. Eleven investigations with questions and answers are included.


Carrejo, D. J., & Marshall, J. (2007) What is mathematical modelling? Exploring prospective teachers' use of experiments to connect mathematics to the study of motion [pdf]. Mathematics Education Research Journal, 19(1), 45–76.

This paper focuses on the construction, development, and use of mathematical models by prospective science and mathematics teachers enrolled in a university physics course. By studying their involvement in an inquiry-based, experimental approach to learning kinematics, we address a fundamental question about the meaning and role of abstraction in modelling when such approaches involve students encountering and resolving experimental error. We use a "tensions" framework to explore the capability of learners to make necessary connections between abstract mathematical models and physical phenomena.


Canada, D., & Makar, K. (2006). Preservice teachers’ informal descriptions of variation [pdf]. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, San Francisco, CA.

This paper reports on common findings from two recent studies of preservice teachers' conceptions of variation, one involving prospective elementary teachers and the other prospective secondary teachers. The studies found that both groups of preservice teachers offered similar descriptions of the spread of a distribution, using informal terminology in preference to standard descriptions (shape, mean, etc.). Implications for practice are discussed. 

Marshall, J., & Young, E. S. (2006). Preservice teachers' theory development in physical and simulated environments [pdf]. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 43(9), 907–937. 

We report a study of three prospective secondary science teachers' development of theories-in-action as they worked together in a group to explore collisions using both physical manipulatives and a computer simulation (Interactive Physics). Analysis of their investigations using an existing theoretical framework indicates that, as the group moved from physical experiments to the computer simulation, their attention shifted from planning their experiments to processing system feedback, which impeded the iterative refinement of their theories-in-action. The nature of the theories they developed also changed. Learners' attitudes toward science and prior experiences affected the exploration process in both environments. In particular, prior instruction in physics and an authoritarian view of science seemed to impede engagement in the development and testing of theories-in-action. Certain features of the computer system itself also impeded exploration.


Confrey, J., & Makar, K. (2005). Critiquing and improving the use of data from high-stakes tests with the aid of dynamic statistics software [pdf]. In C. Dede, J. Honan, & L. Peters (Eds.), Scaling up for success: Lessons from technology-based educational improvement (pp. 198–226). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Data analysis can lay the groundwork for improved portrayal and interpretation of student performance. 

Fletcher, F., Luft, J., & Fortney, B. (2005). Punctuated equilibrium or gradual growth? Factors that influence preservice secondary science teachers' beliefs. Presentation at the NARST Annual Meeting, Dallas, TX.

Makar, K., & Confrey, J. (2005). “Variation-talk”: Articulating meaning in statistics [pdf]. Statistics Education Research Journal, 4(1), 27–54.

Little is known about the way that teachers articulate notions of variation in their own words. The study reported here was conducted with 17 prospective secondary math and science teachers enrolled in a preservice teacher education course which engaged them in statistical inquiry of testing data. This qualitative study examines how these preservice teachers articulated notions of variation as they compared two distributions. Although the teachers made use of standard statistical language, they also expressed rich views of variation through nonstandard terminology. This paper details the statistical language used by the prospective teachers, categorizing both standard and nonstandard expressions. Their nonstandard language revealed strong relationships between expressions of variation and expressions of distribution. Implications and the benefits of nonstandard language in statistics are outlined.

Stroup, W. M. (2005). Learning the basics with calculus [pdf]. Journal of Computers in Mathematics and Science Teaching, 24(2), 179–196.

This paper summarizes years of work related to the early learning of the mathematics of change. Selected episodes transcribed from work in economically challenged schools in the United States are used to illustrate the practical potential of this reconsideration of the relationships between basic and advanced topics. 

Stroup, W. M., Ares, N. M., & Hurford, A. C. (2005). A dialectic analysis of generativity: Issues of network-supported design in mathematics and science [pdf]. Mathematical Thinking and Learning, 7(3), 181–206.

New theoretical, methodological, and design frameworks for engaging classroom learning are supported by the highly interactive and group-centered capabilities of a new generation of classroom-based networks. In our analyses, networked teaching and learning are organized relative to a dialectic of (a) seeing mathematical and sci-entific structures as fully situated in sociocultural contexts and (b) seeing mathematics as a way of structuring our understanding of and design for group-situated teach-ing and learning. An engagement with this dialectic is intended to open up new possibilities for understanding the relations between content and social activity in classrooms. Features are presented for what we call generative design in terms of the respective "sides" of the dialectic. Our approach to generative design centers on the notion that classrooms have multiple agents, interacting at various levels of participa-tion, and looks to make the best possible use of the plurality of emergent ideas found in classrooms. We close with an examination of how this dialectic framework also can support constructive critique of both sides of the dialectic in terms of content and pedagogy.


Carrejo, D. J. (2004). Mathematical modeling and kinematics: A study of emerging themes and their implications for learning mathematics through an inquiry-based approach. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Texas at Austin.

In recent years, emphasis on student learning of mathematics through "real world" problems has intensified. With both national and state standards calling for more conceptual learning and understanding of mathematics, teachers must be prepared to learn and implement more innovative approaches to teaching mathematical content. Mathematical modeling of physical phenomena is presented as a subject for new and developing research areas in both teacher and student learning. Using a grounded theory approach to qualitative research, this dissertation presents two related studies whose purpose was to examine the process by which in-service teachers and students enrolled in an undergraduate physics course constructed mathematical models to describe and predict the motion of an object in both uniform and non-uniform (constant acceleration) contexts. This process provided the framework for the learners' study of kinematics. The dissertation presents and analyzes tensions between learner experience, learning standard concepts in mathematics and learning standard concepts in physics within a framework that outlines critical aspects of mathematical modeling (Pollak, 2003): (1) understanding a physical situation, (2) deciding what to keep and what not to keep when constructing a model related to the situation, and (3) determining whether or not the model is sufficient for acceptance and use. Emergent themes related to the construction of the learners' models included several robust conceptions of average velocity and considerations of what constitutes a "good enough" model to use when describing and predicting motion. The emergence of these themes has implications for teaching and learning mathematics through an inquiry-based approach to kinematics.

Confrey, J., Makar, K., & Kazak, S. (2004). Undertaking data analysis of student outcomes as professional development for teachers [pdf]. ZDM: International Reviews on Mathematics Education, 36(1), 32–40. 

The study reports on collaborations with practitioners to examine the results of students’ performances on high stakes tests as a means to strengthen practitioners’ knowledge of prob-ability and statistics and to empower their conduct of investiga-tions on student performance.  Four issues are summarized:  the development of their statistical reasoning, their understanding of the meaning of and relationships among the concepts of validity, reliability and fairness as applied to testing, their introduction to the history of testing and its relationship to science, society and cultural inequality, and their reports of independent inquiries. Data on performance on pre- and post-tests demonstrate growth in teacher reasoning and in their professionalism in raising im-portant issues about testing. 

Fortney, B., Luft, J, & Fletcher, S. (2004). Informing expectations for early recruitment programs: Explorations among science students in a science teacher recruitment program. Paper presented at the annual meeting of National Association for Research in Science Teaching, Vancouver, Canada.

Makar, K., & Confrey, J. (2004). Modeling fairness of student achievement in mathematics using statistical software by preservice secondary teachers. Paper presented at the Fourteenth Study of the International Commission on Mathematics Instruction (ICMI-14), Dortmund, Germany. 

Makar, K. (2004). Developing statistical inquiry: Prospective secondary mathematics and science teachers' investigations of equity and fairness through analysis of accountability data. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Texas at Austin. 


Confrey, J., & Makar, K. (2003). Critiquing and improving data use from high stakes tests: Understanding variation and distribution in relation to equity using dynamic statistics software. Paper presented at Scaling Up Success: A Usable Knowledge Conference at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Boston, MA. 

Makar, K., & Confrey, J. (2003). Chunks, clumps, and spread out: Secondary preservice teachers’ informal notions of variation and distribution. In C. Lee (Ed.), Reasoning about variability: A collection of current research studies [On CD]. Dordrecht, the Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publisher. 

Current reforms in mathematics education place increasing emphasis on statistics and data analysis in the school curriculum. The statistics education community has pushed for school instruction in statistics to go beyond measures of center, and to emphasize variation in data. Little is known about the way that teachers "see variation." The study reported here was conducted with 22 prospective secondary math and science teachers enrolled in a preservice teacher education course at a large university in the U.S. which emphasized assessment, equity, inquiry, and analysis of testing data. Interviews conducted at the beginning and end of the course asked the teachers to make comparisons of data distributions in a context that many U.S. teachers are increasingly faced with: results from their students' performance on high-stakes state exams. The results of these interviews revealed that although the prospective teachers in the study did not rely on traditional statistical terminology and measures as much as anticipated, the words they did use illustrate that through more informal descriptions of distributions, they were able to express rich views of variation and distribution. This paper details these descriptions, categorizing them into three major areas: traditional notions, clumps & chunks (distribution subsets), and notions of spread. The benefits of informal language in statistics is outlined.

Petrosino, A., & Dickinson, .G. D. (2003). Integrating technology with meaningful content and faculty research: The UTeach Natural Sciences program. Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 3(1).

This article presents a description of how one research university, The University of Texas at Austin, has approached secondary mathematics and science teacher education. Through a unique and joint effort between the College of Natural Sciences and the College of Education, as well as an integrated plan for the incorporation of content, pedagogy, equity, and technology, The University of Texas at Austin’s UTeach Natural Sciences program is fast becoming a national model of cooperation between colleges at a university, as well as a model for effective technology integration and research in teacher preparation.