Collaborative Research: Investigating Early Field Experiences for Prospective Mathematics Teachers through the University Teaching Experience Model

Project: Research project

Project Details


This IUSE Development and Implementation for Engaged Student Learning project addresses the urgent need to improve the preparation of undergraduate prospective secondary mathematics teachers. The project will test the implementation of a field experience model designed to accelerate prospective teachers? capacity to design and implement equitable learning environments that enhance understanding and achievement in mathematics from the start of their teaching careers. The project will research the implementation of the University Teaching Experience (UTE) model where secondary prospective teachers assume teaching responsibility in an undergraduate mathematics course early in their preparation program with mentoring provided by mathematics teacher educators. Enhancing early field experiences for novice mathematics teachers can better prepare them for their initial years of practice. Since high-needs schools largely employ early career teachers, improving student outcomes in high-need schools depends upon making sure that novices are well-prepared for ambitious teaching as soon as they enter the profession.

This project involves collaborative research across three different teacher preparation programs (Michigan State University, The Pennsylvania State University, and University of Delaware) to achieve two broad aims: (1) assess the portability of the UTE model to a wide range of university-based teacher preparation institutions and (2) gather both quantitative and qualitative data to investigate the development of PSTs' knowledge about teaching and their teaching practice as a result of participating in the UTE. Data collection will include videorecorded observations of PSTs' teaching twice during the UTE with follow-up observations of teaching twice during the PSTs' subsequent student teaching placement to determine the influence of the UTE experience on practice in secondary mathematics classrooms. Additionally, participants will complete pre and post-assessment of their knowledge of algebra teaching and participate in interviews during their UTE experience. Control group data from two of three implementation sites will be compared to UTE participants' data to assess the effectiveness of the UTE. Finally, to determine the scalability of the UTE model, final grade data for students enrolled in the mathematics courses involved in the UTE will be collected and analyzed, along with artifacts of implementation, such as syllabi from each institution. Research findings will inform the field about how the prospective teachers' knowledge and algebra teaching practices are influenced by mentored teaching experiences early in their preparation program. In particular, this study is among the first to examine how prospective teachers' understanding of the professional obligations of mathematics teaching that guide teacher decision making develop as a result of participating in such early field experiences. Finally, the findings will inform teacher preparation in other subject areas, such as science education, by providing a model for teacher preparation courses to partner with other introductory undergraduate courses that also serve as gateways to STEM degrees. The Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship program is providing co-funding for this project in recognition of its alignment with the broader teacher preparation goals of the Noyce effort.

Effective start/end date8/15/176/30/22


  • National Science Foundation: $733,570.00


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