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Ed Talk with Sarah Powell – Early Math Predicts Later Math: Implications for Intervention

Across grade levels, early math performance predicts later math performance. For example, math performance in kindergarten predicts end-of-year math performance in grades 1, 3, 5, and 8. What does this mean for educators? Educators need to assess students early and regularly to identify students that may need additional math support. Educators also need to provide intervention support early and regularly. With early assessment and intervention, it is possible to change the math pathways for students.

Successful performance in mathematics (i.e., math) requires an understanding of numbers, the quantities represented by numbers, counting, and comparison of amounts. Math also requires an understanding of the concepts of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division and algorithms for quickly solving such problems. Students must be able to apply their calculation and computation skills to math problems featuring fractions, decimals, percentages, measurement, and algebra. Additionally, students must be familiar with geometric shapes and concepts, as well as positive and negative numbers. Students begin learning math informally as babies and toddlers, and as students learn more about math as they age, these math skills set the stage for later success with math.

Math performance is directly related to employment opportunities in adulthood (Murnane, Willett, Braatz, & Duhaldeborde, 2001), and math outcomes are as important as reading outcomes for success in school. For these reasons, it is necessary to understand how early in a student’s school career educators can identify students who struggle with math in order to provide proper instruction and support. Without identification and support, students may continue to struggle with math throughout middle school and high school. Additionally, difficulty with math may influence college decisions and workforce placement.

Read Powell’s full summary of Trajectories of Mathematics Performance: From Preschool to Postsecondary

 

Join Special Education Clinical Assistant Professor Katie Tackett for this Discovery Minute as she describes how applying universal design principles to her classroom benefits all her students, whether or not they have an identified disability.

Tackett is the 2016-17 recipient of the Elizabeth Shatto Massey Award for Excellence in Teacher Education. The Massey Award recognizes a “teacher of teachers,” who inspires and prepares future elementary and secondary teachers.

Discovery Minute is a video series that highlights and introduces various topics that are researched by faculty at the College of Education at The University of Texas at Austin. Our faculty explore topics that have a direct impact on education, policy, health, and our community.

Janelle Scott is an associate professor at UC-Berkeley in the Graduate School of Education and the Department of African American Studies. Her research explores the relationship between education, policy, and equality of opportunity. It centers on three related policy strands: the racial politics of public education, the politics of school choice, marketization and privatization, and the role of elite and community-based advocacy in shaping public education.

 

Carol Fletcher Changemaker Portrait

Carol Fletcher

Deputy Director of the Center for STEM Education

Carol Fletcher leads WeTeach_CS, a program that has prepared nearly 400 educators across Texas to become certified to teach computer science in K-12 classrooms. Fletcher’s advocacy for STEM education across the state and nation has furthered collaboration among educators, government leaders, and the high-tech industry. A former middle science teacher, Fletcher is deputy director of the Center for STEM Education. She earned her Ph.D. in science education from Texas and has served on the board of trustees for Pflugerville ISD since 2001.

 

UT College of Education interviewed a few of teachers’ most important stakeholders to see what they have to say about their teachers’ performance. K-12 students chime in with some advice for new teachers to help them connect with their students.

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Jennifer Keys Adair, Ph,D., is an Associate Professor of Early Childhood Education at The University of Texas at Austin. Adair works with parents, teachers, administrators and young children to offer more dynamic and sophisticated learning experiences to children from resilient, marginalized communities in the US and globally. Her areas of expertise include early childhood education for children of immigrants, project-based learning, and the importance of young children recognizing racial discrimination and valuing cultural differences. Dr. Adair is a former Young Scholars Fellow with the Foundation for Child Development and a current Spencer Foundation major grant recipient.

Dr. Adair has published in numerous journals including Harvard Educational Review, Race, Ethnicity and Education and Teachers College Record. She conducts research and lectures in multiple countries, most recently in Austin as part of Blackademics and SXSWedu. Jennifer’s work and expertise can also be found in a variety of news outlets including The Conversation, Washington Post, CNN, and National Public Radio.

This talk considers learning as “opportunities” that are constructed in and translated through white supremacy. Using an historical interrogation provided by the work of Charles Mills, Adair argues that although learning and development are presented as an amoral, biological or even constructivist set of events, their application to children’s lives is one of constructing and reifying personhood and subpersonhood along racial lines.

Using interview data with young children, teachers, and directors in Texas and the particular case of the “word gap” argument, Adair shows how denying children of color certain learning experiences is often justified by a perceived “lack of development.” This denial then prevents children from demonstrating capabilities and contributes to blaming/changing children and families rather than supporting cultural communities and improving institutions and systems.

There are noticeable differences in academics and the employment gap that statistics can show between deaf learners and the general population. Stephanie Cawthon of the Department of Educational Psychology discusses the obstacles and attitudes towards deaf learners that influence their outcomes, and what can be done to combat these. This Ed Talk examines the tyranny of low expectations and the importance of understanding root causes when working to reduce inequities in education.

Stephanie Cawthon investigates issues of equity and access in education from multiple vantage points. Cawthon is a national expert on issues related to standardized assessment and students who are deaf or hard of hearing, particularly in the context of accountability reforms such as No Child Left Behind. She is the Associate Director for Research and Evidence Synthesis at pepnet2, a Technical Assistance and Dissemination project that serves individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing. Cawthon explores assessment issues such as the effects of accommodations or item modifications on test scores for students with disabilities and English Language Learners.

 

Kevin Cokley Changemaker Portrait

Kevin Cokley

Professor, Educational Psychology and African and African Diaspora Studies

Fellow, The University of Texas System Academy of Distinguished Teachers and the American Psychological Association

Director, Institute for Urban Policy Research and Analysis

Former Editor-in-Chief, International Journal of Black Psychology

Oscar and Anne Mauzy Regents Professorship for Educational Research and Development

Kevin Cokley has been honored for his contributions to counseling psychology as well as ethnic minority psychology. He actively shares his knowledge and insights through public writing of op-eds and research-based commentaries.