This document concerns only Distinction in Mathematics/Secondary Education.  Distinction in Mathematics is addressed in a separate document.

A. Eligibility

  1. Students will be invited to undertake a senior project.

  2. Invitations will be extended to exceptionally strong students by the mid-term date of the Spring semester of the junior year. Normally, invited students will already have completed MA 130, 160, 210, 230, 235, 303, and ED 110, 130, 240, 341.

  3. Normally, invited students will be expected to have maintained a grade-point average of 3.5 within the POE, and 3.0 overall.

  4. The invitation to attempt to earn Distinction in the POE is just that. The student is not guaranteed Distinction merely by virtue of receiving such an invitation.

B. Organization

  1. Preliminary Work
    The project will be completed during the spring semester of the student’s senior year – and must be defined and approved prior to that semester.  Since students with POEs in Mathematics/Secondary Education normally student-teach during the fall of their senior year, this means that the student must work to define the project either in the Spring of his/her junior year, over the summer between junior and senior years, or in exceptional cases, in the fall of their senior year while student-teaching.  Although the third option is not advised, it is included in recognition that experience gained through student-teaching may contribute substantially to the project.  If the student is off-campus during this process, much of it can be carried out via e-mail (although occasional meetings are highly recommended).
  2. Research Advisor
    The candidate will select a member of the mathematics faculty as an advisor, and a member of the education faculty as an "assessment consultant".  These faculty members will be responsible for guiding the student through the senior thesis described below.
  3. Mathematics Research (MA 485)
    The student will register for MA 485 Mathematics Research in the Spring of the senior year.  Normally, the senior thesis will consist of a section or chapter of a mathematics “text” in which the student presents some mathematical topic in a new and innovative manner.  This topic will most likely be chosen from the secondary level, but may be from the undergraduate level.  The student must therefore first research the existing approaches to the topic and then develop a substantially new and original approach.  In addition to preparing a written manuscript for this approach, the student will also work with the Education Department to assess the effectiveness of this approach.  This will most likely take the form of in-class presentation, testing, and outcomes assessment.

    The student and advisor will meet weekly during the research semester.  By the end of the twelfth week of the semester, the student will prepare a substantial draft of the final report to be read by the advisor, the consultant, and a second member of the Department of Mathematics.  The final draft is due on the last Friday of classes.

C. Evaluation

  1. Two mathematics faculty members and one education faculty member will review the candidate's work.
  2. The candidate will present the results of the research in a public lecture in the departmental seminar.
  3. The department will meet at the end of the Spring semester to review the candidates' performances and decide upon recommendations for Distinction.  Evaluation will be based on several criteria, including continued good work in mathematics and education courses, professional conduct, and the final project and presentation.  Substantial weight will be placed on the process and results of the final project.