A Multi-Requisite Mathematics-Intensive Summer Program for Pre-service Elementary Teachers

Debra Ward
Assistant Professor
Utah Valley University

Need: Effective teacher preparation programs must focus on educating teachers who are not only confident in their mathematics content knowledge but also in their pedagogical knowledge. To understand what constitutes an effective teacher preparation program, the barriers that pre-service teachers face must be addressed including low degree persistence and completion rates, low mathematics efficacy, a fixed mindset, and high mathematics anxiety.

The primary goal of this project is to establish a model math-intensive multi-requisite curriculum for developmental-mathematics-level students majoring in Elementary Education that incorporates interventions to effectively improve persistence and completion, develop efficacy for learning and teaching mathematics, improve students’ mindsets toward mathematics, and addresses students’ mathematics anxiety. Additionally, this project will contribute to the existing research by providing data pertaining to mathematics efficacy levels, mathematics anxiety levels, and mindset tendencies for students majoring in Elementary Education at a primarily undergraduate, open-enrollment institution.

Central Research Questions: The purpose of this study will be to investigate the effects of a mathematics-intensive multi-requisite program on retention and completion rates, mathematics efficacy, mathematics mindset, and mathematics anxiety of students who have a declared major of Elementary Education and a mathematics placement score that falls below the scores required for entry into traditional college-level mathematics courses.

Four research questions will guide this study: How does a mathematics-intensive multi-requisite program that incorporates peer mentoring, affective-domain interventions, alternative assessment, and research-based pedagogical practices impact the following:

1.Student sequence completion and retention rates?

2.Students’ efficacy for learning and teaching mathematics?

3.Students’ mindset toward mathematics?

4.Students’ mathematics anxiety?

Expected Outcomes: The program will provide an inclusive program that addresses four areas of student success simultaneously: retention and completion, mathematics efficacy, mathematics anxiety, and mindset toward mathematics. We expect the program will accomplish the following:1.80% of participants will complete the mathematics sequence required for enrollment into the Elementary Education major program in the School of Education. 2.75% of students will be retained in the Elementary Education major program in the School of Education. 3.75% of participants will report increased levels of mathematics. 4.75% of participants will report more malleable mindsets towards mathematics. 5.75% of participants will report decreased levels of mathematics anxiety.

Broader Impacts: Research indicates that students majoring in Elementary Education have higher-than-average levels of mathematics anxiety. Moreover, in-service teachers’ attitudes, including mathematics anxiety, influence students’ attitudes toward mathematics. This project aims to increase the number of elementary teachers who pass positive mathematics attitudes on to their students by helping pre-service teachers address their mathematics anxiety early on.In addition, the project intends to address the high rate of teacher attrition. While some teachers cite career dissatisfaction as a main reason for leaving the profession, many former teachers feel constrained by their inadequate content knowledge, specifically mathematics content. This project aims to increase career satisfaction and retention by improving participants’ mathematics content knowledge and utilizing research-based best practices to improve attitudes toward mathematics.


Lindsey Gerber, Utah Valley University