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Ho Receives NSF Award to Develop Better Understanding of Math Educators

Anne M. Ho, a senior lecturer in the UT Department of Mathematics, received a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for her proposal, “Transitioning Secondary to Tertiary Educators’ Mathematical Knowledge for Teaching.” She will study math educators in high school and college classrooms with a goal to support teachers who fall between traditional divisions of high school and college teaching.

“Past research has typically assumed that an instructor is either a high school or college instructor, but not both,” Ho said. “However, many educators teach both secondary (high school) and tertiary (college) classes throughout the course of their careers, sometimes simultaneously. This project highlights educators in the secondary to tertiary (S2T) transition with implications for teaching practices in both settings.”

As the grant PI, Ho will conduct a study to compare and contrast the priorities of individuals who have expertise in both high school and college classrooms. Next, she will work with an instructor to embed the expert perspectives from the survey in a capstone course for a master’s degree program targeting these educators. Finally, another round of data collection and analysis will explore the possible impacts on teacher knowledge for the target population.

“Math courses are an integral part of every student’s high school and college experiences so it’s important that teachers for these courses are well-supported,” Ho said. “This project brings these educators into the spotlight so that researchers in math education can better understand their teaching practices, perceptions, and needs. Ultimately, my long-term goal is to find better ways to aid these math teachers in helping their own students.”

Ho is director of the Master of Mathematics distance education program at UT and credits her students as her inspiration for working on this project.

“Many of them are high school math teachers interested in dual enrollment teaching, part-time college teaching, or transitioning from high school to college teaching,” Ho said. “I am excited about bringing new research-based practices into their coursework, and I am also looking forward to how their feedback will further inform the math education community.”

This award is part of the NSF’s Building Capacity in STEM Education Research program, which aims to “facilitate the acquisition of education research expertise that will position the investigator to successfully conceive and execute fundamental STEM education research with the potential to meaningfully advance current knowledge about STEM learning and learning environments, broadening participation in STEM, and STEM workforce development.”