NSF Awards $2 Million to Education Professor

Suzanne Chapin will design undergraduate math curricula that prepare future elementary school teachers

Suzanne Chapin, professor of mathematics education. Photo courtesy of the BU School of Education

Suzanne Chapin, a Boston University School of Education (SED) professor of mathematics education, was recently awarded a $2,000,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for her project titled The Elementary Pre-service Teachers Mathematics Project (EMP).

The EMP, a continuation of two other grants that Chapin has led, aims to create and test curricula for undergraduate college mathematics classes that prepare future elementary teachers.

Ziv Feldman, an SED clinical assistant professor and Lynsey Gibbons, an SED assistant professor, are co-principal investigators of the project.

“This phase of EMP builds on the very positive outcomes of earlier work,” Chapin says. “Three EMP units—fractions, geometric measurement, and number theory—were written and field-tested at 33 institutions with 1,500 undergraduates and 45 faculty members.”

Following the use of each unit, Chapin says, “statistically significant pre- to post-test increases occurred in preservice teachers’ mathematics achievement, with large effect sizes.”

Over the course of this phase of the EMP and with the new, five-year grant, a 30-lesson curriculum will be written, piloted, and revised before it will be nationally field-tested with 3,000–4,000 undergraduates and over 80 instructors.

According to Chapin’s abstract, “The project will help transform the field by providing mathematicians and teacher educators responsible for preparing elementary teachers with web access to a wide array of lessons, instructional tools, and strategies.”

“We can’t wait to continue with this work in creating and testing materials for future elementary teachers and faculty members,” Chapin says.

For more information about The Elementary Pre-service Teachers Mathematics Project, visit www.elementarymathproject.com

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