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

bulletThis 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

bulletEfforts 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

bulletThis 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.

bulletProblem 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

bulletThis 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.

Leaving No Child Behind but None too Far Ahead: Ensuring In(Equity) in Mathematics Education through the Science of Measurement and Instruction, Mark Ellis

bulletThis 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.)

bulletThe 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

bulletThere 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

bulletThis 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

bulletAs 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


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

bullet"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."

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