Research 2003: Spirit of Inquiry
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Investigators Reach New High in Research Expenditures

Cancer Imaging With Radiopharmaceuticals

Arthritis Rehabilitation Research and Training

A Home for Swine Studies

Rethinking Mathematics Instruction

Seeking Answers to Coronary Artery Disease

Director Named for LSC

Maize Genome Mapping Project Nears Completion

Rethinking Mathematics Instruction

For years educators across the country have labored to boost the performance of the millions of American students who struggle in mathematics. Studies indicate problems typically begin in the middle school years and grow worse as students advance. By graduation, problem-solving skills of U.S. math students rank close to last among secondary students tested in 41 nations.

Scholars from MU, led by the husband-and-wife team of MU College of Education professors Bob and Barbara Reys have long urged educators and policy makers to rethink the way our nation's school teach mathematics. Their efforts gained a significant boost in October, with the announcement that the National Science Foundation had awarded the Reys a $10 million grant to establish a Center for the Study of Mathematics Curriculum.

"This is the most prestigious award in the National Science Foundation's Directorate of Education and Human Resources," says Jim Coleman, vice provost for research. "This award will recognize MU and its partners as the national leaders in the study of K-12 mathematics curriculum. It will also continue the recognition of MU as a national leader in the area of mathematics education."

Over a five-year period, beginning in January 2004, the center will support doctoral students; curriculum interns; school, district and/or state curriculum leaders; and K-12 teachers in four partner school districts. The new center aims to increase the production of doctoral students in mathematics education, conduct research focused on mathematics curriculum and increase teacher knowledge so that more students learn more mathematics.

Four school districts will serve as sites for the research, providing hands-on training of graduate students. Researchers will study, among other issues, the evolution and use of mathematics textbooks, how these texts have influenced student learning, and the effectiveness of state curriculum guidelines adopted following the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

The center staff, which will include mathematics and education faculty as well as doctoral students, will engage in scholarly discussions with teachers, school administrators and other interested parties regarding mathematics curriculum issues. They will publicize their research findings through a comprehensive website, national and international curriculum conferences, and publication in curriculum monographs and academic journals.

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