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Math conference helps teachers get to the ‘root of student success’

Michele Carney and teachers in a classroom at the conference
Associate Professor Michele Carney talks with teachers during the “Getting to the Root of Student Success” conference June 10.

Idaho has a goal for over 61% of students to be proficient or advanced in math on the Idaho Standards Achievement Test in 2022,  and the state’s math teachers have a big role in helping students reach the goal. The test scores serve as indicators of math understanding and computational ability – key ingredients for students to become successful in STEM disciplines and land jobs in technology, engineering or science.

To help Idaho’s students achieve in math, Associate Professor Michele Carney, Assistant Professor Michael Jarry-Shore from the College of Education and Associate Professor Joe Champion from the College of Arts and Sciences hosted nearly 175 teachers on campus for a conference on June 10. The conference, “Boise State Math Teaching Conference: Getting to the Root of Student Success,” was planned by a group of Boise State faculty and staff and was led by 60 Idaho middle-school math teachers who participated in Boise State’s Researching Order of Teaching, a project sponsored by a $3 million grant from the National Science Foundation.

Teachers who participated in the project through Boise State have been conducting classroom studies on ways teachers can support student learning in grades 6-8. The conference allowed teachers to present their findings and collaborate with their peers to implement new strategies in classrooms this fall. The grant project and conference are examples of how the College of Education supports educators beyond certification by providing career development opportunities.

“The teachers in our project have worked for three years to implement specific research-based instructional practices in their classrooms,” said Carney. “Because they’re in the field with students, teachers understand how best to explain these ideas to other teachers and the conference provided an opportunity to share that knowledge.”

The project also allows experts in math learning like Carney, Champion and Jarry-Shore to formulate programs that help teachers conduct their own research and establish best practices. As part of the grant, faculty researchers will look at how teaching strategies developed in the project are contributing to test score improvement and learning outcomes that will prepare students for college and beyond.

“The grant project is a great example of how our college, faculty and programs support educators in the field,” said Sherry Dismuke, assistant dean for teacher education. “Facilitating growth and collaboration between teachers by hosting the conference is a positive step toward achieving math success for students in Idaho.”