Publications

Understanding National Board Certification: A Guide for Teachers and Those Who Support Them, Mark Ellis, Tara Barnhart, and Leslee Milch

This valuable
supplement to the National Board standards instructions gives educators
pursuing Board certification and those supporting candidates in their
efforts a thorough, accessible examination of all aspects of certification
for First Time candidates, Take One! Candidates, Retake (or Advanced)
candidates, and National Board Certified Teachers (NBCTs) working on
Renewal. With Understanding Board Certification as their guide, educators
will deepen their understanding of the National Board standards, become
fully prepared to be successful National Board candidates, and enhance their
growth as educational professionals. Included are extensive references to
relevant research and a helpful Appendix, Providing Candidate Support. |

Moving from Deficiencies to Possibilities: Some Thoughts on Labeling Students in the Mathematics Classroom, Mark Ellis

Efforts to reform
our teaching of mathematics such that a broader range of students have
access to high standards and are supported in reaching those standards are
often at odds with this practice or habit of mind. When thinking about the
idea of differentiation in the mathematics classroom, how it is undertaken
must be carefully considered—what are the assumptions and beliefs from which
teachers work to differentiate instruction? This article is intended to
stimulate readers to examine the positions from which their own efforts at
differentiation are enacted. |

Preparing Secondary Teachers of Mathematics with and for Democratic Practice, Mark Ellis

This article will
first delineate the notion of democratic education and how it can be applied
in the mathematics classroom, then offer examples from the author’s
mathematics methods course of strategies intended to prepare Pre-Service
Teachers (PSTs) both with and for democratic practice, and finally share
reactions PSTs have had to this work. It is hoped that these ideas will
serve to stimulate thought about how, in addition to focusing on teaching
skills such as lesson planning and assessment design, the methods course can
stimulate critical reflection about the role and responsibility of
mathematics teachers in preparing students for active participation in
democratic communities. |

The Mathematical Preparation of Prospective Elementary Teachers: Reflections from an Interesting Problem, Mark Ellis, Jose Contreras, and Armando Martinez-Cruz.

Problem solving tasks offer valuable opportunities to strengthen prospective elementary
teachers’ knowledge of and disposition toward mathematics, providing them with new
experiences doing mathematics. Mathematics educators can influence future instruction
by modeling effective pedagogical strategies that engage students in making sense of
processes of mathematical reasoning. What follows is a description of a well-designed
task and the role played by one mathematics educator in engaging prospective teachers
in processes of mathematical reasoning. |

Constructing a Personal Understanding of Mathematics, Mark Ellis

This article is a reflection on my own development as a
teacher of mathematics, focusing particularly on the ways in which "teaching for
understanding" led me to realize both my students' abilities to form insights
about mathematics and my own limited (procedural) knowledge of mathematics. |

This inquiry raises
questions about the manner in which the No Child Left Behind Act aims to
improve mathematics education through continued reliance on standardized
testing and mandated use of scientifically based teaching practices.
Specifically, it is argued that this approach is tied to assumptions about
intellectual ability and achievement that precipitated the dividing practices
used to justify differential access to mathematics learning almost a century
ago. An examination of so-called objective and scientific approaches to school
mathematics suggests the need for more earnest reflection about the particular
path toward educational progress privileged by this legislation. |

Mathematics for Every Student: Responding to Diversity Grades 6-8, Mark Ellis (Ed.)

The instructional
strategies presented in this volume reflect that diversity can come in
various forms and provides articles written by teachers who have
experimented with different teaching techniques in the classroom. The
articles demonstrate how connecting real-life activities with mathematical
concepts, and building on students' knowledge and experiences can help them
excel in the classroom. Recognizing that no one method will work for all
students, this book strives to help teachers determine strategies, both
affective and cognitive, that support all students as they learn
mathematics. |

Reframing Problems in Secondary Education [edited journal issue], Mark Ellis, Maria Grant, and Laura Haniford

There is little
disagreement that secondary education in the United States can and must be
improved, with much attention given to analyses of outcomes ranging from
dropout rates to academic achievement to international measures of literacy.
The perspectives offered by the authors of the manuscripts in this guest
edited issue of The High School Journal call into question the way in which
problems in secondary education are defined or framed. ... Typically in the
field of education, the gaps that are examined arise from fixed vantage
points—in essence, the same perspectives that framed problems in education 30
or more years ago are still used today. ...Often missing from these
perspectives—both teachers’ and administrators’—is a full examination of how
the problems themselves have come to be identified. Exacerbating this concern
is the realization that these historical perspectives tend to frame problems
in ways that blame student characteristics and backgrounds for poor
performance while ignoring factors such as opportunities to learn and access
to information. |

The Paradigm Shift in Mathematics Education, Mark Ellis and Robert Berry, III

This article represents a historical-theoretical
examination of school mathematics practices in the United States. We argue
that is has been only recently (since the 1990s) that serious efforts to reform
teaching practices have emerged. Specifically, we point to the ways in
which recent reforms have put concerns about equity and students' sense-making
in mathematics in the forefront and the implications this has for how we prepare
teachers of mathematics. |

Convergence of Observer Ratings and Student Perceptions of Reform Practices in Sixth-grade Mathematics Classrooms (draft version here), Mark Ellis, Carol Malloy, Judith Meece, and Patricia Sylvester

As part of a research
project examining relationships between instructional practices and student
cognitive and social outcomes in middle-school mathematics classes, external
observers and students reported perceptions of teachers’ instructional
practices. The extent to which students in classrooms identified by external
raters as reform-oriented actually perceive instruction in ways aligned with
reform principles has not been established. A 25-item observation protocol
aligned with the reform practices called for in the Standards of the National
Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) was used to develop a quantitative
profile of instructional practices across two lessons in each of 28 classes of
15 participating teachers. Students in each of the observed classes completed a
49-item survey of their perceptions of instructional practices. As items for
both the observation protocol and Student Survey were designed to measure
alignment with the same dimensions of reform practice, the convergence of these
two data sets was examined as a means to confirm the observation ratings. The
findings show moderately strong correlations between ratings of external
observers and perceptions of sixth-grade students across three dimensions
(pedagogy, tasks and mathematical interactions) of reform-oriented teacher
practice in mathematics classrooms. Implications of these findings for future
research are discussed. |

Mathematics Placement and the Transition to Middle School, Patrick Akos, Marie Shoffner, and Mark Ellis

The transition to middle
school has been a frequent research topic in recent years. The findings have
highlighted both the significant risk and opportunity for school counselor
intervention in the transition. One particularly important component of the
multifaceted transition is course placement. The importance and influence of
mathematics and mathematics placement and the role of the school counselor
in this process are outlined. Specifically, pilot data that underscore the
importance of school counselor collaboration with parents and mathematics
faculty are presented. |

How and Why Do Teacher Credentials Matter for Student Achievement? Charles Clotfelter, Helen Ladd, and Jacob Vigdor

"This paper explores
the relationship between teacher characteristics and credentials, and
student achievement. The authors
conclude that, taken together, the various teacher credentials exhibit quite
large effects on math achievement, whether compared to the effects of
changes in class size or to the effects of socio-economic characteristics of
students." |