A hands-on summer workshop held at the University of Missouri-Rolla to help Missouri mathematics teachers learn better ways to teach statistics has been awarded a grant from the Missouri Department of Higher Education (DHE).
Nearly $1.9 million was awarded to nine projects dedicated to improving teacher quality in Missouri, the DHE announced Jan. 31.
"Making Sense of Data: Data-Driven, Quantitative Literacy Workshops for Active Learning" will receive $133,666 from the DHE Improving Teacher Quality Grant, which is funded by the Teacher and Principal Quality Training and Recruiting Fund, a part of the federal No Child Left Behind Act.
Three courses (one each for elementary, middle and high school teachers), held during the summer on the UMR campus, are taught by a team of instructors, including Dr. Eva Lee Lasater, adjunct assistant professor and teacher education coordinator at UMR; Dr. V.A. Samaranayake, associate professor of mathematics and statistics at UMR; Dr. Allan Pringle, professor of physics at UMR; and Dr. Gary Gadbury, assistant professor of mathematics and statistics at UMR; as well as four master teachers trained by the American Statistical Association. It is designed to provide elementary, middle and secondary school mathematics teachers in Missouri schools with hands-on techniques to teach their students probability and statistics to meet the standard set forth by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. The course has been held at UMR for six years.
"The response to these workshops has been extremely positive," says Samaranayake. "We are quite proud of this and hope to build on our success next summer."
In past years, the week-long workshop was funded through a grant from the Eisenhower Foundation, which has since been discontinued, says Lasater.
"With the additional funding this year we will be able to host a two-week workshop, so we will be able to expand the information the teachers will acquire from the secondary, middle and elementary school instructors," she says.
The purpose of the funding from the DHE is to provide grants to states to help increase student academic achievement through such strategies as improving teacher and principal quality.
"It is an absolute necessity that every Missouri K-12 student be taught by a quality teacher," says Quentin Wilson, commissioner of the Department of Higher Education. "Our state must continue to ensure that Missouri youth are receiving the foundation of knowledge necessary to move on to postsecondary education."