Ed.D. in Educational Administration 2009; Director of Teacher Educaiton & Student Affairs
School of Education
November 1, 2009
Doctoral Research Examined Pre-service Teachers’ Portfolios for Evidence of Teaching Mathematics for Understanding
Twenty-six years after earning a teaching credential, Judi Conroy successfully defended her dissertation for a doctorate in education (Ed.D.) in Educational Administration. Under the guidance of advisor Assistant Professor Elizabeth van Es, Dr. Conroy studied pre-service candidate portfolios to learn what counts to them as evidence of teaching mathematics for understanding. With mathematics being such an important aspect of K-12 education, and with the United States ranking behind other industrialized nations in mathematics achievement, this study contributes to our understanding of the critical role of student engagement in cognitively rich mathematical tasks as a key component of mathematics success.
While the cases varied in their understanding of cognitively demanding tasks and student discourse in a mathematics lesson, pre-service teachers appear to have developed a similar discourse for talking about mathematics teaching and learning and similar beliefs about connecting mathematics to the real world. Moreover, the more accomplished pre-service teachers appear to plan and reflect at a higher level than they enact instruction. These and other findings from Dr. Conroy’s study have implications for the design of teacher education programs and for fine-grained analysis of teaching for understanding. Dr. Conroy hopes to continue with her research in partnership with Dr. van Es and other faculty in the Department of Education.
UCI has been a constant in Dr. Conroy’s life since 1981, when she transferred as a third year student to major in English Literature. She earned her bachelor’s degree at UC Irvine in 1983 and her credential the following year. She earned her master’s in English in 1995. After fifteen years teaching English and serving in school and district leadership roles at University High School in Irvine, she joined UCI in 1998, part time at first and then full time as the Coordinator of the Single Subject Credential Program.
In 2001, Dr. Conroy became Director of the Single Subject Program; in 2008, Director of Student Affairs; and in 2009, Director of the MAT and Credential Programs and Student Affairs. In all of these roles, she has been committed to learning and applying the most current knowledge about teacher preparation and effective teaching to prepare the teachers of tomorrow.