THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT EL PASO
COLLEGE OF SCIENCE
DEPARTMENT OF MATHEMATICAL SCIENCES
note: From the top of http://www.math.utep.edu/Faculty/lesser/schedule.html, you can access this syllabus if you misplace yours, want to explore its links, or see any updates to it. Syllabus is subject to modification by instructor to meet course needs, especially if there are disruptions such as an H1N1 epidemic or unexpected changes in class size, resources, student backgrounds, etc.
Course Number: MATH 5360-001 (CRN#26033)
Course Title: Introduction to Research in Mathematics Education
Credit Hours: 3
Term: Spring 2011
Prerequisite: Departmental Approval
Course Fee: none
Course Meetings & Location: Bell 130A MW 5-6:20pm, except March 14 & 16
The instructor will announce which meetings may be held in a lab or library area for hands-on explorations of research tools. In the event of a major disruption (e.g., H1N1 epidemic), be prepared to maintain course progress via alternative means (e.g., phone, Elluminate, Internet, a Blackboard course shell, etc.). Also, check your email (especially your UTEP address) regularly.
Instructor: Dr. Larry Lesser (rhymes with “professor”, spelled like “<”). I’ve been a UTEP Assoc. Prof. since 2004 and began teaching university classes in 1988. I am Editor of Teaching for Excellence and Equity in Mathematics and I’ve served on other national journal editorial and research advisory boards. I have published in selective research journals such as Statistics Education Research Journal and more background at www.math.utep.edu/Faculty/lesser/.
Office Location: Bell Hall 213
Contact Info: Phone: (915) 747-6845
Email Lesser (at) utep.edu (include “5 pm class” in the subject line)
Fax: (915) 747-6502 (note: this is a math department fax, so be sure to
have my name clearly on it; be aware that staff are not available to relay faxes to me outside the math dept’s hours of M-F 8-12, 1-5
Emergency Contact: (915) 747-5761 (during math dept office hours)
Office hours: initial office hours are MW 12:45-1:20, M 6:30-7, and by appointment;
changes and additions will be announced or posted later; students are also welcome to try stopping by anytime for short questions; for longer questions, students should email me several possible appointment times that would work and I will reply with which option works in my schedule
ú Required textbook: Hendricks, Cher C. (2008). Improving Schools through Action Research: A Comprehensive Guide for Educators (2nd ed.). Allyn & Bacon.
Because no single book completely covers all of the goals of the course, we will supplement this book with handouts, individual articles, online resources and demonstrations, taking into account class backgrounds, interests, and time available. Some materials and announcements may be sent via email or posted on Blackboard. Other resources will be accessible on the Internet (e.g., certain journal articles and websites like http://www.math.utep.edu/Faculty/lesser/ResearchResources.html).
or UTEP library reserve -- either hardcopy reserve at the Circulation Desk or electronic reserve via UTEP library homepage (Services for studentsàcourse reserves).
Read/do each assignment before the class meeting we discuss it.
Course Objectives (Learning Outcomes): Students will….
Course Activities/Assignments: Students will participate in in-class activities, read assigned articles and chapters, facilitate/participate in discussions, take exam/quizzes, write reflections, do homework exercises, and submit a written research paper (and give a short oral presentation of it). The instructor will make clear which assignments or assessments may be done in pairs (or small groups) and which must be done individually.
Assessment of Course Objectives: Assessments include written reflections, exam, quizzes, class discussions, written research paper, oral presentation of research paper.
Course Schedule: Census Day: Feb. 2
Deadline to Drop with a “W”: April 1
Last Regular Class Meeting: May 4 (research paper is due)
Final Exam Week Meeting: as scheduled by UTEP registrar; if you have a
pre-approved reason not to be able to present during this time, you need to arrange with me as soon as possible how to meet your obligations before the exam week meeting date
Grading Policy: after any rescaling needed for all components to be on the 0-100 scale, the grade is determined by the usual cutoffs of 90-80-70-60 based on these parts:
Quizzes, Short Reflection Papers, Homework Assignments, Discussion Facilitation: 30%
Written Research Paper and Proposal: 50% (details are found later in this syllabus)
Oral Presentation of Research Paper: 20% (details are found later in this syllabus)
Attendance: Subject to change if required by UTEP policy, your final course
average will have 2 – 3U – E points added to it, where U = number of unexcused absences and E = number of excused absences. This reflects how crucial participation is for a course with “beyond-the-book” discussion, but without penalizing someone with ≤ 2 (excused) absences.
Makeup Policy: Much of this course involves beyond-the-book group activities, experiences or discussions that are virtually impossible to recreate or “make up”. Successful completion of this course is intended not only to imply you have demonstrated sufficient knowledge acquisition, but also that you have been exposed to key processes, modeling, and experiences. Therefore, if you are now in a situation where you expect to have frequent absences, you might consider taking this class another semester. In general (out of fairness and logistics), late work will not be accepted, and may be subject to a penalty in the rare borderline cases that it is accepted at the instructor’s discretion. A makeup exam is possible if: (1) it is taken at the earliest opportunity, and (2) missing the exam was unavoidable for a serious reason that is relayed to me (preferably by email) within 24 hours (or the earliest possible opportunity), followed up if necessary by documentation like a doctor’s note.
Attendance Policy: Attendance is required. The instructor may count late arrival, early departure, or blatant nonparticipation as a half-absence or even a full absence, depending on what is missed.
It’s your responsibility to….
(1) Sign any attendance sheet each day you attend before I pack up my materials.
(2) Let me know by email (Lesser (at) utep.edu) or voicemail (747-6845) or daytime math dept. fax (747-6502) in advance at the earliest opportunity if you have a situation which may affect a test, major assessment deadline, or multiple regular class meetings.
(3) Give me a written note or email by the 15th day of the semester [Feb. 7]
if you will have absence for religious holy days (which are excused, of course).
(4) Give me an email or written documentation as soon as possible if you anticipate the possibility of missing large parts of class due to exceptional circumstances such as military service/training, childbirth, or competing on official UTEP athletic teams.
(5) Have a classmate give you copies of notes, handouts and announcements if you miss a class; write down right now three classmates’ contact information right here for this purpose:
classmate #1 name_____________________ phone_____________ email____________
classmate #2 name_____________________ phone_____________ email____________
classmate #3 name_____________________ phone_____________ email____________
As the UTEP Catalog says, “When in the judgment of the instructor, a student has been absent to such a degree as to impair his or her status relative to credit for the course, the instructor may drop the student from the class with a grade of “W” before the course drop deadline [April 1] and with a grade of “F” after the course drop deadline.” In practical terms, this means a student could be dropped for more than 4 absences (unless there has been a reason I have approved). If you choose to withdraw, I ask you to submit the formal paperwork and send me an email to let me know rather than just stop attending class and assume you will be withdrawn automatically. On a positive note, a strong record of attendance will be taken into account if your final average is a point below a letter grade cutoff.
Academic Integrity Policy: It’s UTEP’s policy (and mine) for all suspected violations to be referred to the Dean of Students for investigation and disposition (See Section 1.3.1 of the Handbook for Operating Procedures; http://academics.utep.edu/Default.aspx?tabid=23785) Cheating, plagiarism and collusion in dishonest activities are serious acts which erode the university’s purpose and integrity and cheapen the learning experience for us all. Don’t resubmit work completed for other classes without specific acknowledgment and permission from me. It is expected that work you submit represents your own effort (or your own group’s effort, if it is a group project), will not involve copying from or accessing unauthorized resources or people (e.g., from a previous year’s class). Cite references that you do consult, using APA style (an older edition of the guide is on 2-hour reserve in the UTEP Library) with complete citations even for websites and people you consult. For Group Work: Within a group, members are allowed to divide up subsets of the project for which individuals will take the initial responsibility for coordinating efforts, but it is assumed that by the time a group turns in a writeup that all members have read, discussed, contributed to, and understand what is being turned in. Group members may even discuss general ideas and strategies with members of other groups, but NOT share parts of actual written work. At a minimum, to be safe, put away all written notes and writing materials and recording devices before having any intergroup conversations. And if you still see a “gray area,” play it safe and ask the instructor!
Civility Statement: You are expected to follow basic standards of courtesy (e.g., “Student Conduct” and “Disruptive Acts Policy” in the UTEP Catalog) and may be dismissed from class for blatant or sustained disruptive behavior. Your comments during classroom discussions need to focus constructively and respectfully on the intellectual merit of a position, not critiquing the person expressing it. You should avoid side conversations when one person (me, or another student) is talking to the whole class. Also, do not engage in phone, email or text conversations during class. Laptops should not be open unless they are being used to take notes during lectures or work on course projects during group work time. (In other words, off-task activities such as texting, Facebook, YouTube, or emailing are unacceptable because they distract and disrupt class participation.) If you truly are expecting an urgent call on your cell phone or pager, please let me know and sit near the door to minimize disruption (and have your phone on “vibrate” instead of anything loud), and have it handy so you don’t have to dig through a backpack for it). Otherwise, please keep your phone/pager off during class. Feel free to give your family member or child care provider the phone number for an academic office or lab (e.g., Bell Hall ACES Lab Station 747-8814) near our classroom so you can rest assured that staff can quickly let you know if there is a true emergency.
Disability Statement: If you have or believe you have a disability requiring accommodations, you may wish to self-identify by contacting the Disabled Student Services Office (DSSO; 747-5148; East Union Building 106; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.utep.edu/dsso/) to show documentation or register for testing and services. DSSO will ask you to discuss needed accommodations with me within the first 2 weeks of the semester or as soon as disability is known, and at least 5 working days before an exam. You are responsible to make sure I receive any DSSO instructions and accommodation letters. DSSO provides note taking, sign language, interpreter, reader and/or scribe services, priority registration, adaptive technology, diagnostic testing for learning disabilities, assistance with learning strategies/tutoring, alternative testing location and format, and advocacy.
Military Statement: Give me an email or written documentation as soon as possible if you anticipate the possibility of missing large parts of class due to military service.
“Part One/Part Two” Distinction: As we discussed, there is a “Part One” and “Part Two” version of this course, Math 5360a and Math 5360b, respectively. Basically, Math 5360a introduces you to the mathematics education literature and how to navigate it, choose a research topic, and write the introduction and literature review sections of a research paper, with just a general outline of a methodology approach. Math 5360b strengthens these sections, especially methodology, and involves an IRB-approved data collection so that the final paper includes a full methodology chapter and the beginnings of a results section (which may have to be finished and fully discussed as a Math 5396 course). This semester’s course is being delivered (as originally scheduled, and consistent with what most students need) as Math 5360b. If, for example, a student who has not had 5360a chooses to enroll in this class instead of waiting for the fall 2011 Math 5360a course, he/she will need to take most of the responsibility for learning the 5360a material more quickly or independently. Depending on the backgrounds of the final enrollment for this class, the instructor reserves the right to restructure or tailor assignments, expectations and meeting times accordingly to best serve student needs within programmatic and resource constraints.
Professionalism Statement: Beyond the previously mentioned Civility Statement, students in this course are required to exhibit professionalism that goes beyond avoiding negative behaviors. This includes making a good faith effort in preparation for and participation in individual and collaborative class activities. A classroom culture must be actively supported that understands that “wrong answers” are usually correct answers to a different question or valuable learning opportunities to address a common misconception. Finally, be open to local opportunities for professional growth or service, and consider planning to present your work (even if still “in progress”) at conferences. Local options include the UTEP student research expo (April), the SUN conference (March 10-11), and the COE CIRCLE conference (June 10-11). You may even look for ways that the profession can support your classroom research with a grant: http://www.nctm.org/resources/content.aspx?id=198.
Confidentiality: UTEP policy requires that inquiries about confidential information such as grades cannot be done over the phone, but must be from your miners.utep.edu account and accompanied by your 800 number. If you want your course grade during the few days before UTEP puts grades online, you will have a chance in the last week of class to give me a “secret code word” that I will post your course grade by at the bottom of my homepage if time permits.
Details on the Research Paper:
Due date: papers are due by our May 4 class meeting. This deadline gives you several days to focus only on the oral presentation and gives me time to read and assess your paper in a timely manner (and hopefully in time to give you feedback that can inform your oral presentation). Many research conferences work this way -- you submit your paper well before you present it so that a proceedings volume of everyone’s papers can be released in a timely manner.
Teams: in recognition that most 5360b students took a 5360a course in which they were allowed to work in pairs and may wish to continue building on this collaborative work they have invested in, I will give students the choice to do either a “solo” paper or a paper as a team of two (but not more than 2).
Empirical Data: this paper cannot merely be a theoretical or philosophical piece – it must include the collection of data, whether it is from an entire class or perhaps some type of case study involving just a few purposively-selected students. The participants in your study may come from a student population that you teach or that someone else teaches, but IRB approval must be in place BEFORE data collection can begin, and you need to submit IRB forms as soon as possible so that you will get approval in time to have a reasonable data collection window.
(Goal: submit IRB forms as early in February as possible, hopefully get approval by early March, and then you have March and April for data collection). If you have another idea for research (e.g., where participants might be teachers instead of students), feel free to let me know.
Oral presentation: Time constraints will be announced in advance and depend on how many paper presentations there are and how much time is available. The presentation will occur on the final exam week meeting day scheduled by UTEP (if someone has a conflict with attending that date, they will need to do their presentation during one of our last regular class meeting days). The presentation (including visual aids, spoken content, and responses to questions) is assessed on clarity and appropriateness for the audience. See tips for oral presentations. This presentation is an important experience for your career and professional development. On the day of the presentation, you will give me a printout of your PowerPoint slides (it’s okay to save trees by putting 4 or 6 slides per page).
Topic: must be approved in advance by the instructor, and generally should involve empirical research on a topic involving the teaching and/or learning of math or statistics. General education topics such as ‘technology’, ‘group work’ or ‘gender issues’ are acceptable only if explored in the specific context of teaching and learning mathematics/statistics. If you’re unsure, ask me!
Typically, this would involve a plan to analyze data you collect from your (or, perhaps someone else’s) classroom, with all needed IRB materials (e.g., assent/consent forms, research protocols and instruments, etc.) and approvals in place before data collection begins. During this course, you will go through the first few steps of the IRB process but not necessarily get to collecting data (see SECTION THREE of http://www.math.utep.edu/Faculty/lesser/ResearchResources.html).
Formatting: This paper and all other written assignments should be word processed with double-spacing and a standard 12-point font (e.g., Times New Roman), checked for spelling/grammar (you are allowed to get feedback on writing mechanics from the UTEP Writing Center in Library 227, http://academics.utep.edu/Default.aspx?tabid=47508, 747-5112), and have any appropriate output/graphics electronically pasted into the document. Sections should be clearly marked, assembled in order, and stapled (not put into a folder or sleeve) with a meaningfully-titled (i.e., not just “5360 research paper”) identification coversheet on top. Use APA style (http://www.math.utep.edu/Faculty/lesser/APA.html) for references, etc.
Sections: This paper will mirror the first three chapters of a the “five-chapter format” of a thesis in a scaled-down manner that is closer to what a journal article has (and I’m happy to help you later submit your paper to an appropriate journal if you’re interested!). Be sure to check the appropriate parts of Table 8.1 in your book. There is no specific minimum or maximum page limit for this paper, but I expect that to address all the requirements, it will probably end up being around 15-30 pages long, not counting appendices. Math 5360a (“part one”) focused mainly on the introduction and literature review, but this course will expect you not only to strengthen those sections, but also to go much deeper in the methodology section so that your proposal will be fully fleshed out and ready to go. The paper must be broken down by the following section headings that must appear in this order:
The following 2 sections (Results and Discussion) of the paper would come between the “Methodology” and “References” sections, but a thorough detailed job is not necessary to meet the basic expectations of this course, due to the amount of time you may have once data collection is complete. For this course, you can have a very brief version of these two sections, and perhaps do a comprehensive complete job in a later course (e.g., Math 5396).
MANY PAPERS ASSIGNED FOR READING AND DISCUSSION WILL COME FROM THIS LIST
Articles without direct URLs should be accessible via UTEP library, using one of these methods:
1.) Wentzel, K. R. (2005). Developing and nurturing interesting and researchable ideas. In Clifton F. Conrad and Ronald C. Serlin (Eds.), Sage handbook for research in education: Engaging ideas and enriching inquiry (pp. 315-330). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
2.) Garfield, J., & Ahlgren, A. (1988). Difficulties in learning basic concepts in probability and statistics: Implications for research. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 19(1), 44-63.
3.) Wills, D.(2004). Teaching the unteachable: Helping students make sense of the web. College Teaching,52(1), 2-5
4.) National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (2010). How can teachers and schools use data effectively? http://www.nctm.org/news/content.aspx?id=27192
5.) Mettetal, G. (2001). The what, why, and how of classroom action research. Journal of Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 2 (1), 6-13. https://www.iupui.edu/~josotl/archive/vol_2/no_1/v2n1mettetal.pdf
6.) Schoenfeld, A. H. (2000). Purposes and methods of research in mathematics education. Notices of the American Mathematical Society, 47(6), 641-649. http://www.ams.org/notices/200006/fea-schoenfeld.pdf
7.) Tinto, P.P., Shelly, B.A., & Zarach, N. J. (1994). Classroom research and classroom practice: Blurring the boundaries. Mathematics Teacher, 87(8), 644-648.
8.) Nolen, A. L., and Vander Putten, J. (2007). Action research in education: Addressing gaps in ethical principles and practices. Educational Researcher, 36(7), 401-407.
9.) Holcomb, J. (2002). The ethics of comparison: A statistician wrestles with the orthodoxy of a control group, with response by Corrada, R., Garfield, J., and Persell, C., in Pat Hutchings (Ed.), Ethics of Inquiry: Issues in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (pp. 19-26). Menlo Park, CA: Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.
10.) Green, J. L. (2010). Highs and lows: Exploring university teaching assistants’ experiences. Statistics Education Research Journal, 9(2), 108-122.
11.) Shaughnessy, J. M. (2007). Research on statistics learning and reasoning. In Frank K. Lester, Jr. (Ed.), Second handbook of research on mathematics teaching and learning (pp. 957-1009). Reston, VA: National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.
12.) Shaughnessy, J. M. (1977). Misconceptions of probability: An experiment with a small-group, activity-based, model building approach to introductory probability at the college level. Educational Studies in Mathematics, 8(3), 295-316.
13.) delMas, R. C., Garfield, J., & Chance, B. (1999). A model of classroom research in action: Developing simulation activities to improve students’ statistical reasoning. Journal of Statistics Education, 7(3), http://www.amstat.org/publications/jse/secure/v7n3/delmas.cfm
14.) Lesser, L. (1998). Countering indifference using counterintuitive examples. Teaching Statistics, 20(1), 10-12. http://www.rsscse.org.uk/ts/gtb/lesser.pdf
15.) Lesser, L., & Melgoza, L. (2007). Simple numbers: ANOVA example of facilitating student learning in statistics. Teaching Statistics, 29(3), 102-105.
16.) Lesser, L. (1998). Technology-rich standards-based statistics: Improving introductory statistics at the college level. Technological Horizons in Education Journal, 25(7), 54-57. http://thejournal.com/Articles/1998/02/01/TechnologyRich-StandardsBased-Statistics-Improving-Introductory-Statistics-at-the-College-Level.aspx
17.) Garner, R. L. (2006). Humor in pedagogy: How ha-ha can lead to aha!, College Teaching, 54(1), 177-180.
18.) Lesser, L., & Winsor, M. (2009). English language learners in introductory statistics: Lessons learned from an exploratory case study of two pre-service teachers. Statistics Education Research Journal, 8(2), 5-32. http://www.stat.auckland.ac.nz/~iase/serj/SERJ8(2)_Lesser_Winsor.pdf
19.) Brase, G. L. (2008). Pictorial representations in statistical reasoning. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 23(3), 369-381.
20.) Lesser, L. (2001). Representations of Reversal: An exploration of Simpson's paradox. In Albert A. Cuoco and Frances R. Curcio (Eds.), The roles of representation in school mathematics (pp. 129-145). Reston, VA: National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. http://www.statlit.org/pdf/2001LesserNCTM.pdf
21.) Lesser, L., & Tchoshanov, M. (2006). Selecting representations. Texas Mathematics Teacher, 53(2), 20-26. The issue is at http://www.utdanacenter.org/tctm/downloads/TMT_Fall_06.pdf.
22.) Lesser, L., & Tchoshanov, M. (2005). The effect of representation and representational sequence on students’ understanding. In G. M. Lloyd, M.R. Wilson, J.L.M. Wilkins, & S.L. Behm (Eds.), Proceedings of the 27th annual meeting of the North American Chapter of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education. http://www.math.utep.edu/Faculty/lesser/pmena05.pdf
23.) Ozmantar, M. F., Akkoc, H., Bingolbali, E., Demir, S., & Ergene, B. (2010). Pre-service mathematics teachers’ use of multiple representations in technology-rich environments. Eurasia Journal of Mathematics, Science and Technology Education, 6(1), 19-36. http://www.ejmste.com/v6n1/EURASIA_v6n1_Ozmantar.pdf
24.) Tchoshanov, M., Lesser, L., & Salazar, J. (2008). Teacher knowledge and student achievement: Revealing patterns. Journal of Mathematics Education Leadership, 10(2), 38-48. The issue is at http://www.mathedleadership.org/docs/resources/journals/NCSMJournalVol10Num2.pdf
25.) Ryan, G. W. (n.d.) What are standards of rigor for qualitative research? http://www.wjh.harvard.edu/nsfqual/Ryan%20Paper.pdf
26.) Reid, D. K., Robinson, S. J., & Bunsen, T. D. (1995). Empiricism and beyond: Expanding the boundaries of special education. Remedial and Special Education, 16(3), 131-141.
27.) American Statistical Association (2007). Using statistics effectively in mathematics education research. Washington, DC: ASA. http://www.amstat.org/education/pdfs/UsingStatisticsEffectivelyinMathEdResearch.pdf
28.) Sowder, J., and Schappelle, B. (Eds.) (2002). Lessons learned from research. Reston, VA: National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.
29.) Carpenter, T. P., Dossey, J. A., and Koehler, J. L. (2004). Classics in mathematics education research. Reston, VA: National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.
30.) Gutstein, E. (2006). Driving while black or brown: The mathematics of racial profiling. In Joanna O. Masingila (Ed.), Teachers Engaged in Research Inquiry into Mathematics Classrooms, Grades 6-8 (pp. 99-118). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.
31.) Dolan, E. L. (2007). Grappling with the literature of education research and practice. CBE—Life Sciences Education, 6(4), 289-296.
32.) Hoffman, L.R., and Brahier, D. J. (2008). Improving the planning and teaching of mathematics by reflecting on research. Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School, 13(7), 412-417.
33.) Kotsopoulos, D. (2008). Beyond teachers’ sight lines: Using video modeling to examine peer discourse. Mathematics Teacher, 101(6), 468-472.