Developing tools for struggling math students

A new Meadows Foundation grant will support research by SMU's Simmons School into improving the way math is taught in K-12.


teachingDALLAS (SMU) – A grant from the Meadows Foundation in Dallas will support researchers in SMU’s Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development in their ongoing work to help Texas educators gain a better understanding of student achievement in mathematics.

The one-year grant for $201,000 will fund Research in Mathematics Education, a research and outreach unit in the Simmons School’s Department of Education Policy and Leadership. The focus of the grant will be to develop instruction and assessment tools that K-12 educators can use in their teaching and to support the needs of struggling students. Researchers also will evaluate classroom practices to ensure that the widest range of learners can improve in math.

Simmons Associate Professor Leanne Ketterlin-Geller, who currently assists the Texas Education Agency with an algebra readiness screening tool for elementary and middle school students, will direct the project. She will work with David Chard, the Leon Simmons Dean of the Simmons School, and other Simmons School faculty members.

The grant from The Meadows Foundation will provide ways to develop training materials, launch professional development programs for teachers and administrators and disseminate Simmons School findings. The objective is to impact directly a minimum of 100 school districts across the state and engage with North Texas communities to increase awareness of math and science education.

“The Meadows Foundation grant is an expression of confidence in our research potential, and we are extremely grateful for the chance to make a difference in how students learn math,” Chard said. Ketterlin-Geller explained that the grant supports SMU collaboration with other academic partners, such as The Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk at the University of Texas in Austin. “We are excited that our partnerships can create deeper impact in the field,” she said.

Sharon Vaughn, executive director of The Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk, agreed: “We have worked closely with Dean Chard on projects over the years and welcome the opportunity to have a formal partnership with him and his faculty. We believe that this partnership can greatly benefit the teachers and children of the State of Texas.”

For more information, visit the Simmon School's Research in Mathematics Education site.


SMU is a nationally ranked private university in Dallas founded 100 years ago. Today, SMU enrolls nearly 11,000 students who benefit from the academic opportunities and international reach of seven degree-granting schools.