TxState prof gets to study teaching tools
Kate Melhuish, assistant professor of mathematics at Texas State University, has been awarded a nearly-$2 million National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to refine, expand and validate a formative assessment of teaching tool called Math Habits Tool (MHT) for kindergarten through 8th grade classrooms.
The four-year grant was awarded by the Discovery Research K-12 Program of the Division of Research on Learning and will fund Melhuish’s research project, “Using Technology to Capture Classroom Interactions (UTCCI): The Design, Validation and Dissemination of a Formative Assessment of Instruction Tool for Diverse K-8 Mathematics Classrooms.”
An important aspect of mathematics teaching and learning is the timely and targeted feedback on teaching and learning processes. Many of the tools and resources focused on providing such feedback are aimed at student assessments, but teaching assessments can be equally transformative and can be a key component of improved teacher practice. The MHT was developed as a means for K-8 mathematics teachers and researchers to collect in-the-moment data about what students and teachers are doing in mathematics classrooms. Such information can then support teachers in analyzing their practice, and improving the effectiveness of their teaching.
The research seeks to establish the connection between teaching actions and students’ mathematical activity and learning. Particular attention will be given to increasing accessibility to mathematics learning for students who are traditionally underserved, including emergent bilingual students.
The MHT, operated either via tablet or computer, is intended for use by researchers, teacher leaders, principals, coaches and others interested in assessing teacher practice in a fine-grained or formative way.
The project is a joint effort between Melhuish’s Texas State team, including Alejandra Sorto and Sharon Strickland, Portland State University’s Eva Thanheiser and Amanda Sugimoto, and the Teachers Development Group’s Ruth Heaton.