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Educator Joins National Math Education Partnership

Kidd is Part of an Initiative to Redesign Secondary Mathematics Teacher Preparation

Nov. 15, 2012

Margaret L. Kidd is passionate not only about promoting mathematical excellence for students, but also in preparing future teachers to become leaders and mentors in the field of mathematics education.

For more than three decades, the associate professor of mathematics has been a teacher, instructing preschool children to college students. In addition, for the last 23 years, she has devoted her career to teaching high school and university-level math, and just as important, educating instructors in how to teach math so students are successful.

Because of her commitment to mathematics education, Kidd is part of a nationwide reform to redesign secondary mathematics teacher preparation. She is among educators participating on the Mathematics Teacher Education Partnership, an initiative of the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities' Science and Mathematics Teacher Imperative.

"It's really an exciting time because what we're doing is preparing teachers to teach these new, rigorous standards, who can in turn, engage and inspire students in mathematical learning," said Kidd, who coordinates the single subject mathematics credential program for future high school math teachers.

What is the Math-Teacher Partnership?

This educational partnership — made up of institutions of higher education, K-12 schools, school districts and other organizations — is working to provide a coordinated research and development effort for secondary mathematics teacher preparation programs in order to meet the challenges of the new common core state standards for mathematics and to embody research and best practices in the field.

What is the common core state standards initiative?

It's a states-led effort, launched by state leaders, including governors and state commissioners of education from 48 states, two territories and the District of Columbia, through their membership in the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and Council of Chief State School Officers. The standards were developed in collaboration with teachers, school administrators and experts to provide a clear and consistent framework to prepare our children for college and the workforce.

Why are these new standards important?

The standards are informed by the highest, most effective models from states across the country and countries around the world, and provide teachers and parents with a common understanding of what students are expected to learn. Consistent standards will provide appropriate benchmarks for all students, regardless of where they live. These standards define the knowledge and skills students should have within their K-12 education careers so that they will graduate from high school and be able to succeed in entry-level, credit-bearing academic college courses and in workforce training programs. The state of California adopted the common core state standards in August 2010 and they are now the state standards for all schools. The frameworks are being written at this time. The new across-states assessments will be administered in the 2014-15 school year.

Why are you, and CSUF, involved in this math effort?

Cal State Fullerton is a leader in teacher education in Orange County and California. With California's large population, teacher education affects a great many teachers and students. I feel this large constituency should be represented. This is a national partnership that will have far reaching outcomes and I want to be a voice in this process. It is important that our standards and practices are included. In addition, it's a group of education experts from whom we can learn a great deal, since all of the participants, as well as the principal investigators, are leaders in their states.

What is your role?

I'm the team leader for our partnership and a member of its leadership collaborative. I initiated joining this group because I feel it is important to the future of our country. The partnership was concerned that not only math educators, but also K-12 institutions were involved, as well as university mathematicians. The buy-in from preK-20 will assure that all stakeholders have input and will take ownership of the outcomes, and that it's not a university-led program that will dictate their vision.

Who are our local partners in the collaborative?

Santa Ana College is one of our partners because of our close working relationship with them on many grants, and the fact that they are one of our primary feeder community colleges. Anaheim Union High School District and Fullerton Joint Union High School District also were selected since CSUF places a large number of student teachers in both of these districts and we also have a long history of working with these districts.

What are some of our 'best practices' for teaching secondary math?

Best practices include the gradual induction of math teacher candidates into full-time teaching over two semesters. In addition to the courses required for a major in mathematics, our teacher candidates also are required to have a strong background in pedagogy and take 18 hours of education courses prior to entering the program.

In the single subject credential mathematics program, students are exposed to a wide variety of practices and researchers from throughout the U.S., as well as the history of mathematics education in the country. They are steeped in the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics philosophy of mathematics education. They learn the latest in brain research and that of teaching and learning with an emphasis on special populations.

When they are student teaching, they are required to write detailed lesson plans that will engage students. They also learn methods that are different from the 'stand-and-deliver' method they were exposed to during their K-12 education. Finally, they are required to reflect on their profession each day they teach. After a semester of writing lesson plans and reflections, these practices are ingrained in them and carry forward into their full time teaching.

What are some of our efforts to prepare math teachers for secondary classrooms?

Students who major in a discipline other than mathematics can take two state tests through which they demonstrate subject matter competency and enter the foundation level in the mathematics credential program housed in the College of Education. This credential is meant for candidates who prefer to teach middle school, but allows them to teach through algebra II at the high school level. The single subject math credential program requires students to have a major in mathematics, or a related science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) major and they are eligible to teach any high school course in mathematics, as well as middle school courses.

About Kidd

A member of Cal State Fullerton's faculty since in 2003, Kidd is founder and adviser of Smart Girls, a campus mentoring group for female math majors, serves as president of California Association of Mathematics Teacher Education and provides professional development for elementary teachers through the Orange County Mathematics Project at Fullerton. She also is a co-project director of Improving Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry Teaching (IMPaCT), funded by a $400,000 grant from the National Science Foundation under the Robert Noyce Scholarship Program that supports students pursuing teaching careers. Her research areas are mathematics teacher education and mathematical modeling.

By: Debra Cano Ramos, 657-278-4027

Tags:  Academics & Research