NebraskaMATH Surveys: Why do we ask you to take them?

Past and present participants of Math in the Middle and NebraskaMATH programs are very familiar with the practice of completing surveys. We are extremely grateful for the cooperation you have already provided in completing past surveys; your efforts have resulted in knowledge gains about mathematics instruction, about leadership (see the report summary below) and have enabled us to provide educational opportunities to more than 500 K-12 teachers across the state. If we didn’t have information collected from you about our programs, we wouldn’t be able to continue them.

So while some of you may have lost count of the number of surveys already completed, we urge you to take this latest request from RMC seriously.

For an example of what we are learning thanks to the willingness of Nebraska math teachers to complete surveys, see the report below. This report is based on the results of a survey and phone interviews conducted by RMC this spring.


As many of you already know, leadership opportunities in mathematics education have been made available to, and filled by participants from the NSF-funded Math in the Middle and the NebraskaMATH projects. An online survey conducted by RMC Research, the external evaluator for both NSF-funded MSP projects, demonstrates that, based on the more than 400 responses provided, participants have taken on a wide range of leadership positions in state organizations, Educational Service Units (ESUs), districts, and schools in Nebraska. The following information, presented by project, clearly demonstrates that across all cohorts and projects, past participants have taken advantage of their deeper understanding of mathematics content, pedagogy, and confidence to serve and support others in their schools, districts, and the state through leadership. Congratulations to all who responded and helped to demonstrate that leadership in mathematics education is clearly one of many outcomes of participating in the NSF-funded MSP projects at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Virtually all participants in each of the six Math in the Middle cohorts were involved in prominent leadership positions at the school and district levels. A smaller but still significant segment were involved in state, regional, and sometimes national efforts, primarily as presenters at state and national conferences, instructors in NebraskaMATH programs through UNL, as instructors for other postsecondary mathematics classes, and as developers for questions on state mathematics assessments. At the district level, program participants often described their role in staff development; mathematics curriculum writing, selection, and/or pilot testing; instructional coaching; and writing assessment questions, often for C4L. The majority of participants said that they held leadership positions for multiple years. At the school level, the most frequently mentioned leadership positions were membership on School improvement committees; service as department chairs, math liaisons, or mathematics mentors/coaches; professional development presenters; and grade team leaders.

Participants in the seven cohorts of Primarily Math were extensively engaged in leadership roles at the school and district levels, although most teachers had been in those roles for a relatively short period of time, usually less than two years. At the district level, Primarily Math attendees were highly involved in selecting, implementing, and sometimes writing new curricula, conducting staff development, composing assessments, and serving as mathematics coaches and mentors. A small number of teachers in three of the cohorts had been Primarily Math instructors and/or had given presentations at state conferences. At the school level, participants were involved in school improvement committees, as grade team leaders, as professional development facilitators, and as instructional coaches and teacher mentors and leaders.

Nebraska Algebra participants reported serving in leadership roles for a period of 1-3 years, and suggested a variety of roles among participants with the variability dependent on the contexts in which they serve. Some respondents indicated leadership roles outside of the district or school, which included assisting with NeSA-M standard setting, presenting at the NATM and NCTM regional conferences, having an article published in the NCTM journal, serving as a Noyce Maters Teaching Fellow, being a Primarily Math and graduate course instructor, serving as an officer of NATM, hosting “Dinner and a Math Problem” event at their school in conjunction with UNL, and one individual earning the honor of being named Nebraska Teacher of the Year. A small number of Nebraska Algebra participants reported being engaged in district-level activities related to professional development, curriculum review, or math coaching/coordination. More than half of the Nebraska Algebra respondents described school-level roles which included serving on the School improvement or Continuous Improvement team, being a math department chair or teacher leader, or guiding teachers as an instructional coach. Other school-level roles included serving as a member of the staff development committee, a presenter for professional development, an instructor for a dual credit statistics course, and after school program leader, an adolescent literacy program leader, and a quiz bowl sponsor.

Most New Teacher Network (NTN) participants reported serving in leadership roles for 1-2 years. A couple of NTN participants indicated presenting at the NATM conference, serving as a table leader for the Nebraska Mathematics Professional Development Series (NMPDS), being a Noyce Master Teaching Fellow, and a teacher liaison for a Nebraska Mathematics and Science Summer Institute (NMSSI) course. At the district level, NTN participants were part of math curriculum teams; as well as serving in other district roles that included chairmanship of a Response to Intervention (RTI) committee; participant in a superintendent teacher council; membership in a lesson study group for geometry instruction; participation in a pre-calculus committee; and membership in a curriculum alignment team. A large number of NTN respondents were part of school-level leadership, including serving on school improvement teams and as Professional Learning Committee (PLC) leaders. Other school-level roles were mentoring new mathematics teachers, aligning algebra curriculum to Common Core standards, serving as the math department chair, and being part of teams for curriculum and assessment.