Science, Technology Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM)
The Massachusetts Intel Mathematics Initiative (MIMI)
The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE) has Launched a Statewide Partnership to Enhance Student Performance in Mathematics
Mathematics Education in Massachusetts is at a Critical Juncture
While the performance of Massachusetts students in mathematics and science is comparatively strong relative to the nation, the overall level of student achievement, relative to our state's performance standards, remains low. Moreover, there is convincing evidence that we must accelerate our efforts in order to compete in today's global economy:
- Internationally, U.S. students' on average perform significantly below that of students in many other industrialized nations
- Student performance on MCAS math and science tests has not improved at the rates needed to meet the goals of state and national education reform.
- Low math performance in grades 3-8 is a problem that affects districts across the state, and is particularly severe in the urban districts where approximately 95% of middle schools are now identified for improvement, corrective action or restructuring under the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB).
- "Additionally, disturbing achievement gaps highlight issues of performance inequity in math and science, and the fact that a large number of students entering college need remedial coursework indicates they are not prepared for college-level courses.
The critical need is also evidenced by the difficulties in filling math and science teaching positions with well-qualified staff. Successfully teaching all students to reach our state's high standards of math and science learning requires a depth of content knowledge, conceptual understanding, and facility with core skills that exceeds the level of subject-matter mastery of many current elementary and middle school teachers. Many teachers report that their own K-12 and college study of math and science was limited and lacked rigor. District math and science coordinators, particularly those in high-need districts, report difficulties in filling math and science positions, low teacher quality of applicants, and high percentages of teacher turnover every year.
Efforts have been underway in recent years to encourage teachers to strengthen their math and science content knowledge through participation in professional development offerings. Pre- and post-test data of content institute participants reveal that teachers significantly increase their content knowledge as a result of taking these courses. However, the scope of such offerings has been limited, their rigor variable, and their reach limited. We urgently need systemic initiatives to improve the preparation and ongoing professional development of math and science teachers.
MIMI is a Scalable, Sustainable, and Systemic Professional Development Initiative
We have adopted an effective model to scale-up across the State
The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education/Intel Mathematics Initiative (MIMI) is centered on an intensive 80-hour mathematics course developed for Intel by University of Vermont mathematician, Dr. Kenneth Gross. This course is derived from an existing professional development program that has successfully linked course completion with improved student math achievement scores.
The newly developed 80-hour (10-12 day) concentrated course is co-facilitated by a mathematics Content Master Facilitator and an Instructional Master Facilitator. The course consists of approximately 85% mathematics content and 15% pedagogical content and requires participants to actively participate in all the sessions, complete all assignments and homework, and compile a reflective portfolio.
MIMI Course Content and Creating Math Learning Communities in the Districts
The course focuses on a conceptual understanding of arithmetical operations (and fractions) for the first half of the course and foundational algebra (linear functions) for the second half, with the relationship of arithmetic, geometry, and algebra highlighted throughout the course. All topics are taught using a variety of problem solving strategies that relate directly to the K-8 mathematics classroom. Teachers participating in the course also participate in a math learning community (MLC) group during the school year to leverage their math content learning to analyze student thinking and improve instructional practice. A team from the UMass Regional Science Resource Center, led by Sandra Maynard, has developed an MLC Guide linked to the content of the 80-hour course, and trains a group of facilitators to support the MLC sessions that are facilitated in each of the pilot districts.
Launching the MIMI Pilot
In collaboration with the Intel Corporation, ESE launched the pilot in June 2007 when fourteen master teachers (seven pairs of math professors and exemplary K-12 educators) attended a full week of training to support the delivery of the ESE/Intel-sponsored course. 150 teachers from three high-need districts (Springfield, New Bedford, and Boston) took the first half of the 80-hour course in August and participated in the second half of the course and the math learning community during the 2007-2008 school year.
In its second year, the initiative will scale-up slightly to involve 16 master teachers working with 200 participant teachers from four high-need districts (Worcester will join the original three districts). The coursework will be based on a revised and improved version of the curriculum. The initiative will continue to expand over the next two years to strengthen the teaching capacity of over 1000 elementary and middle school math teachers across the state.
MIMI Partners: A Collaborative Commitment for Systemic Change
MIMI is a collaborative effort involving Intel, the MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, and Massachusetts districts, schools, and teachers of mathematics. WestEd has been contracted as the external evaluator of the program and the UMass Medical School Regional Science Resource Center will lead the Mathematics Learning Community throughout the school year. Wheelock College hosts the master teacher trainings and Framingham State College offers graduate credits for the course. In the future several other higher education institutions will join this initiative as well. The 80-hour course is also being piloted in Vermont and California.
For more information about MIMI
Please contact Life LeGeros at 781-338-3537 or firstname.lastname@example.org for additional information or to let us know that you are interested in becoming involved in the program as an instructor.