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ME.ET Instruments and Protocols

Department interview / Instructor survey / Student assessment /Institutional Review Board Forms

Download the instruments: Department Interview / Instructor survey / ME.ET non-mathematics items (see explanation below)/ IRB Forms (links below)

Mathematics department interview. At selected 4-year institutions in four sites -- Georgia, Michigan, New York City, and South Carolina -- the project surveyed mathematics departments that certify teachers in undergraduate programs. We interviewed the mathematics department chair or someone he or she designated as knowledgeable about the courses offered to prospective teachers. Our interview covered what courses they offer, who teaches them, what kinds of students are enrolled in the courses (e.g., prospective teachers only or general student population) and other data such as class size, textbook(s) used, common syllabi and exams, and topics covered. The department survey identifies all instructors of these courses to construct the sampling frame for the instructor survey, as well as gathering basic demographic information about instructors. We attempted to contact all such institutions in South Carolina and Michigan, and selected institutions in Georgia and South Carolina.

This form is used as an interview protocol with written followup as needed. The purpose of the interview is to learn what courses are offered to elementary teachers, who teaches them, whether and how they are coordinated with education (methods) courses, how they are staffed, and what content is included. We learn whether classes have a common syllabus, common exams, or a course coordinator. This survey identifies instructors establishing the population and contacts for the instructor survey. Download a pdf copy of the interview protocol.

Instructor survey

Instructors were surveyed to learn what and how they teach, including overall content of the course and measures of opportunities to learn in three focal topics -- fractions, multiplication, and reasoning and proof. Instructors were asked to indicate their primary and secondary goals for each of a detailed list of topics in the general categories of number and operations. We gathered additional demographic information from instructors to learn more about who teaches these classes.

This survey was given to all instructors identified by the department as teaching the first mathematics course for prospective elementary teachers. In some cases, this is the first in a sequence of classes designed and required for elementary education majors. In other cases, this is the course they are most likely to take and is part of a general mathematics requirement (e.g., 6 credit hours of mathematics at or above a certain level), but it is not a course designed for future teachers. The survey asks detailed questions about what they teach, how they teach, what they know and understand about certification requirements and state and national standards, and what their experience is with teacher education. We focus here, as in the textbook analyses, on three topics: Fractions, multiplication, and reasoning & proof, asking instructors detailed questions about opportunities to learn within these topics.

This survey was administered for the first time in November 2006, with final data collection in December 2008. We sent the survey to 147 instructors and got a response from 78, a response rate of 53%. Although the response rate is lower than we wanted, we are finding that the data are yielding interesting results that do not suggest any particular selection bias (eg., those who are more interested in education, or, alternatively,those who have a gripe with education).

Download a pdf copy of the current version of the instructor survey.

Student (prospective elementary teacher) assessment

A sample of students (prospective elementary teachers) enrolled in classes at certifying institutions were surveyed to assess their mathematical knowledge before and after completing the mathematics course with a primary focus on number and operations. The assessment consists of two different forms in four versions to give a pre- and post- test for each participating section. The pre-tests consist of 18 mathematics items on two forms with 6 that are common to both forms; a set of questions about attitudes and beliefs; and a set of demographic questions. The post-tests are in two forms with 12 mathematics items identical to the pre-test items without the set of common items. The post-test does not include attitudes and beliefs questions, but we do include the demographic section in case there are students taking the post-test who did not complete the pre-test. Students take two different forms with not items repeated for the pre- and post- tests.

The mathematics items in the assessments are from the Learning Mathematics for Teaching (LMT) project and are not available for public release. We include here a link to the public release items from the LMT project. The other sections of ME.ET forms -- attitudes and beliefs, and demographics -- are available for download.

Administration of these assessments started in August 2006 and will continued through Fall 2008. We collected data from over 1700 students, with 1063 matched pre/post tests in the data set from 38 instructors at 18 institutions. Analysis of these data shows that PSTs are learning mathematics in these classes, with a gain equivalent to an effect size of over 0.7. A paper on these results, presented at PMENA 09 in Atlanta, is available here:

McCrory, R., Zhang, C., Francis, A. P., & Young, S. (2009). Factors in the achievement of preservice elementary teachers in mathematics classes. Paper presented at the Psychology of Mathematics Education North America Conference (PME-NA), Atlanta, GA, September 23-26, 2009.

Download LMT public release items

Download ME.ET non-mathematics items

Consent forms

The project is working in approximately 80 colleges and universities. In some of these, we were required to go through their Institutional Review Board for project approval. In others, the Michigan State University approval was accepted. Below are links to the consent forms approved at Michigan State and a letter of introduction and sample report sent to instructors asking them to participate. These are included on the Web site in hopes that they may be helpful to others who are required to go through these increasingly complex processes to gain approval for research projects.

Pre-test letter and consent form

Post-test letter and consent form

Instructor contact letter and sample report

Instructor consent form


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Updated 09/12/2009

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0447611, with additional support from the College of Education at Michigan State University and the Center for Proficiency in Teaching Mathematics (CPTM) at the University of Michigan

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