REU Site: PATHWAYS – Preparing Aspiring Teachers to Hypothesize Ways to Assist Young Students

Principal Investigator: 
Project Overview
Background & Purpose: 

The PATHWAYS REU project has two primary objectives: (1) To develop mathematics teachers who approach classrooms with a researcher’s mindset, making instructional decisions based on empirical data on students’ learning; (2) To engage aspiring mathematics teachers in systematic formal mathematics education research, thereby opening doors to participation in mathematics education graduate programs. The two objectives are complementary, since approaching teaching with a researcher’s mindset entails carefully attending to and analyzing empirical data on students’ learning generated during instruction.


Salisbury University, Salisbury, MD: The mathematical learning of students in the May Literacy Center on-campus is the focus of the study.

Research Design: 

The project uses a longitudinal research design and will generate evidence that is descriptive [case study, design research, observational]. Original data are being collected on 24 undergraduate students who are prospective teachers (8 per summer) & 48 students in grades K-12 (16 per summer) using, assessments of learning, observation [videography], and survey research [self-completion questionnaire, semi-structured or informal interview]. Mathematics instruction is being designed to address the learning needs of children and will be adjusted on a week-by-week basis.

Various qualitative data sources used during this project's duration include transcripts of undergraduates' conversations about assigned readings and their scores on online training modules content assessments, video recordings of diagnostic interviews with K-12 students as well as all teaching sessions, and undergraduates' weekly and final summary reports on the progress of the K-12 students. The Undergraduate Research Student Self-Assessment (URSSA) is used at the end of the intensive summer experience to quantitatively analyze the impact of PATHWAYS on undergraduates' development as researchers. Opinion surveys are administered to PATHWAYS undergraduates, the K-12 students they instruct, and the parents of K-12 students to ascertain perceived strengths and weaknesses of the program. The long-term impact of the project is assessed through follow-up surveys inquiring about the graduation status and career goals of those who have completed the PATHWAYS experience.

During the summer, data from instructional sessions are analyzed on a continuous basis. Each week's analysis of video and student learning artifacts forms the basis for conjectures about how to help students' learning progress. Data collected at the end of each summer via questionnaires of undergraduates, faculty mentors, and parents will be analyzed qualitatively to identify strengths and weaknesses of the project design.


See the project website at  for summaries of findings from each summer of the project.

Publications & Presentations: 

See the project website at

Other Products: 

The project will produce an empirically grounded model for integrating undergraduate research and teacher education.

Research Design: 


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