UC Riverside, in partnership with the Jurupa Unified School District, will receive a $4.9 million grant from the National Science Foundation. The funds will be used in a multi-disciplinary approach, including mathematics, science and education, to develop a program focused on improving teacher subject knowledge and student achievement in mathematics.
"At UC Riverside our depth of expertise and our experience in multi-disciplinary collaboration uniquely qualify us for this very important national project," said France A. Córdova, chancellor of UC Riverside. "We are very pleased to be working on a local level with the Jurupa Unified School District."
The joint program called Mathematical ACTS: Achievement and Collaboration for Teachers and Students, sees the solutions to low mathematics achievement by California's school children as essentially rooted in better in-service teacher education and support, and comprehensive help for students. It will also help to enhance the quality, quantity and diversity of the mathematics-teaching workforce, which has been shrinking because of retirements and career changes.
The project is under the direction of Richard Cardullo, a professor of biology at UC Riverside. It is co-directed by Kathleen Bocian and Pamela Clute of the ALPHA Center at UC Riverside; Michael Rettig, a professor of Chemistry at UC Riverside; and DeWayne Mason, assistant superintendent of educational services at the Jurupa Unified School District.
The UC Riverside grant will apply research derived from public-school classrooms to the development of targeted instructional strategies for teachers, and for college students seeking their teaching credentials in mathematics and science. The strategies are designed to improve achievement in mathematics for about 10,000 students in grades 4 through 8. The program will first identify state and national mathematics education standards that are the most difficult for students to master and will provide help for them and coaching for teachers. The faculties of UC Riverside, the Jurupa Unified School District and the parents of participating students will review the progress of the program on a regular basis.
Mathematical ACTS will be conducted over five years with goals to:
- See a 25 percent increase in achievement measured through test scores in algebra.
- Develop a consensus between the district and UC Riverside on which skills are essential to know and teach in mathematics.
- Create professional development programs that can be replicated at other school districts and university schools of education.
- Develop approaches to mathematics teaching that are science based, with applications of the approaches to real-life scientific research.
- Develop research on the impact of Mathematical ACTS on teacher recruitment, retention and professional growth.
- Develop research on the impact of Mathematical ACTS on student achievement.
Much of the teacher professional development will be conducted by the UC Riverside science faculty and the ALPHA Center, UC Riverside's primary outreach vehicle to K-12 teachers. Existing ALPHA Center programs, coordinated with the UC Riverside Graduate School of Education credential programs and UC Riverside Extension certificate programs, are positioned to offer intensive coaching for teachers and student teachers. Other ALPHA Center and Jurupa Unified School District programs will address help for students at all skill levels.
"We have many excellent outreach programs underway at UC Riverside, but Mathematical ACTS creates new opportunities for us to build on existing educational partnerships with the Jurupa Unified School District," said Pamela Clute, director of the ALPHA Center.
"Our Faculty want to help K-12 students excel in mathematics and science so that their future educational and career opportunities are determined only by their interests," said Steven R. Angle, dean of the College of Natural & Agricultural Sciences at UC Riverside.
The University of California, Riverside offers undergraduate and graduate education to nearly 15,000 students and has a projected enrollment of 21,000 students by 2010. It is the fastest growing and most ethnically diverse campus of the preeminent ten-campus University of California system, the largest public research university system in the world. The picturesque 1,200-acre campus is located at the foot of the Box Springs Mountains near downtown Riverside in Southern California. More information about UC Riverside is available at www.ucr.edu or by calling 909-787-5185. For a listing of faculty experts on a variety of topics, please visit http://mmr.