Mathematics Education

Hood College is Launching a New M.S. Program in Mathematics Education

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Hood College is officially launching its Master of Science in Mathematics Instructional Leadership on November 17th at 6 pm in the Whitaker Campus Center Commons, during the 8th Annual Mathematics Education Lecture.  The lecture, “Lesson Study and Beyond: Collaborative Reflection Cycles for Improving Mathematics Teaching” will be presented by Drs. Jennifer Bergner and Randall Groth from Salisbury University. The event, sponsored by Hood College’s Graduate School and the Maryland Council of Teachers of Mathematics, is free and open to the public. A light dinner will be served. RSVP to Christy Graybeal at graybeal@hood.edu by Nov.10.

Maryland’s adoption of the Mathematics Instructional Leadership (M.I.L.) endorsement is aligned with many professional organizations’ recommendations and a nationwide movement to advocate that every elementary school has access to a mathematics leader. Thus, it is likely that the need for Mathematics Instructional Leaders will grow in the coming years.

The Math Instructional Leadership program offers a pathway for currently certified teachers to meet the requirements of the Maryland State Department of Education Mathematics Instructional Leadership endorsement in either grades Pre-K-6 or grades 4-9 while also earning a master’s degree. Evening and summer courses accommodate working teachers. Many program courses are offered partially online, and courses may be taken in a variety of sequences.

Hood Hosts High School Girls for Day of Math Exploration

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SK Day FinalHood’s Department of Mathematics recently hosted its 10th annual Sonia Kovalevsky Mathematics Day (SK Day) for high school girls. Students and teachers from Frederick County public high schools and St John’s Catholic Prep came for a day of mathematical exploration.

Hood mathematics education alumnae attending included Brittany Beresford M.S.’15, of Brunswick High School; Darrin Drum M.S.’13, of Walkersville High School; and Casey Rogers ‘97, mathematics teacher at Middletown High School.

After a welcome from Olivia White, vice president of student life and dean of students, SK Day participants engaged in workshops led by Hood faculty members Jill Tysse, assistant professor of mathematics; Martha Meadows, senior lecturer of mathematics; Georgette Jones, assistant professor of biology; and Erin George, assistant professor of economics.

Hood mathematics students Sienna Bronson ’16 and Lew Dean ’16 spoke about the life of Sonia Kovalevsky, the first woman to earn a doctorate in mathematics. Hood alumnae composed a mathematics career panel: Robin Winkler-Pickett ’84, M.S.’07, scientific operations manager of the Cancer and Inflammation Program at the National Cancer Institute; Abisola Abolude ’09, research analyst at IMPAQ International; and Alison Schuetz ’15, business analyst at Thermo Fisher Scientific. Amanda Forster, materials research engineer at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, rounded out the panel.

SK Day was supported by PNC Bank through the Community Foundation of Frederick and by Frederick County Public Schools.

Beresford is 2015 Outstanding Student in Math Education

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Brittany Beresford, center, with then-President Ron Volpe and Betty Mayfield, Director of the Secondary Mathematics MS Program

Brittany Beresford, center, with then-President Ron Volpe and Betty Mayfield, Director of the Secondary Mathematics MS Program

The 2015 recipient of the Antoinette Border Award for outstanding student performance in mathematics education is Brittany Beresford. Her instructors describe Brittany as bright, dependable, hard-working, and dedicated. They also mention her unbridled energy and enthusiasm. In fact, the May 2015 graduate earned a perfect 4.0 GPA as she powered her way through the master’s program, often taking two graduate classes at a time while teaching full-time at Brunswick High School in Maryland.

For her capstone project, entitled Success for Students with Learning Disabilities in the Algebra Classroom, Brittany conducted a thorough review of the literature in both mathematics education and special education and merged her findings into practical implications for the classroom. The project was summarized in an article published in the Fall 2014 edition of the Maryland Council for Teachers of Mathematics Journal, the Banneker Banner.

Brittany has learned to read and appreciate articles in professional journals and wrote a useful and insightful paper on the importance of peer review. In March 2015,  she brought a group of her own students to Hood’s Math Day for High School Girls, introducing them to the beauty and power of mathematics.

Reception for All New Students: August 20

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All students who are new to the Hood Graduate School for the Fall 2014 semester are invited to an orientation on Wednesday, August 20, 5:30-7:30 p.m. The informal welcome reception, to be held at Whitaker Campus Center, will provide an opportunity to meet faculty, staff and fellow students.

The agenda includes a campus tour, introduction to the bookstore and Apple computer lab, a welcome from Graduate School Dean Dr. Maria Green Cowles, and dinner with the program directors. Get the complete agenda and then RSVP here 

Math Education Alum New Department Chair

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Darren Smith (Mathematics M.S. ’10) has been named the chair of the mathematics department at Montgomery College-Germantown, MD. When Darren started out in Hood’s darrensmith smallprogram, he was the supervisor of the MC’s Mathematics & Accounting Learning Center. He wrote his capstone paper about an innovative way to teach developmental mathematics. After he earned his master’s degree, he was named a full-time faculty member.

Darren says his Hood experience gave him a broad overview of math education, including best practices,  innovative trends and current pedagogy. He believes the program’s “global perspective on the challenges to K-16 mathematics education in this country” played a large role in preparing him for his new leadership role.

What’s the Best Way to Teach Trinomial Factoring?

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That’s the question Liz Burris sought to answer in her Mathematics Education capstone project. However, after researching different factoring methods, analyzing student data and surveying Frederick County Public School educators, she concluded math educators have quite varied beliefs about the matter. In the end, Liz arrived at her own opinion: a combination of sum-product, guess and check, grouping, use of manipulatives and scaling methods.  Her paper was published in The Banneker Banner, Vol. 28, no. 1. Liz BurrisLiz is currently a substitute math teacher for the Boyertown Area School District in Pennsylvania. She and her husband recently welcomed their first child.  

What’s the Best Way to Teach High School Mathematics?

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dockeryThat’s the question that inspired A.Blaine Dockery’s capstone project. Actually, says Blaine, that “was one of the first decisions that States adopting the Common Core for mathematics had to make back in 2010. States moving to the Common Core had to choose between…the traditional path (algebra 1, geometry, algebra II and a fourth high school math credit) or the integrated approach.”

The mathematics teacher found that integrated mathematics has had mixed reviews since it was introduced in the 1970s. In his paper, Blaine pointed out that one state – Georgia – adopted the approach, only to “reverse its decision some years later because of a consistently high failure rates, primarily among students with weaker math backgrounds.”

Blaine, who teaches at Barbara Ingram School for the Arts in Washington County, Maryland, has his own opinions. He favors an approach that presents students with real-world problems for them to collaborate on, which he describes as “more of an investigative learning situation, similar to what an experimental scientist would do.” Ultimately, however, the best way to teach the subject may depend “on the student’s math background and how they best learn.”

Common Core vs SOL

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Katie Victor

Katie Victor

Jen Long

Jen Long

Mathematics Education graduate students Katie Victor and Jen Long’s collaborative capstone project compared Maryland’s Common Core Standards with Virginia’s Standards of Learning. Their goal: to determine if an algebra student from one state could transfer relatively seamlessly between the state’s public school systems. The two found that, with small exceptions, the states had very comparable curricula. In analyzing videos of themselves teaching the same lesson — one in Maryland and the other in Virginia — they even found that their instructional styles and deliveries were similar!

Both alums currently teach Algebra — Katie at Blue Ridge Middle School in Loudoun County, Virginia, and Jen at Smithsburg Middle School in Washington County, Maryland.