One topic that proves to be problematic for many students is the conceptual understanding of integers and fractions. Since our Noyce scholars with mathematics degrees will be teaching algebra, it is important that they are fluent in the arithmetic to algebra connection. In addition, it is crucial that these mathematics majors become stakeholders in mathematics education at the elementary school level. At Georgia Southern University, elementary and middle school teachers participate in mathematics performance assessments in Joy Darley’s mathematics content courses. In these performance assessments, the pre-service teachers are required to connect concrete models with standard algorithms, and must explain these connections.
In Fall 2011, three Scholars (mathematics majors) completed a pre-test where they were given eight problems (operations with integers and fractions) with the following instructions: Briefly describe how you would teach each of the following concepts to students learning the concept for the first time. Include all visual representations, along with any methods you would use. After completing the pre‐test, Darley met individually with each of the three Scholars and reviewed learning materials related to the given topics so that the students would be prepared to assist with the performance assessments by helping and evaluating the pre‐service teachers. The next day, each Scholar helped facilitate one forty‐five minute performance assessment, and then completed a post‐test. Preliminary results from the comparison of pre‐ and post‐test answers reveal major shifts in students’ perception of pedagogical methods and future in‐practice applications.
- NOYCE scholars,
- Elementary education,
- Middle school,
- Mathematics education
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/brian_koehler/8/