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Masters Degree in Mathematics Education

The Master of Science in Mathematics Education program at Boise State is for committed educators who love mathematics and are ready to get a deeper understanding of mathematics, teaching practices, and educational research. Courses are offered  throughout the year to accommodate both full-time and part-time completion tracks.

  • Earn a Distinctive & Professionally Valuable Graduate Degree

    The M.S. degree in Mathematics Education from Boise State University can enhance your professional opportunities and help you take the next step in your career.

  • Explore Mathematics from Multiple Perspectives

    Participants in the M.S. in Mathematics Education program build a deep and connected understanding of school mathematics.

  • Design a Path that Fits your Interests and Goals

    Candidates in the M.S. in Mathematics Education program work closely with a faculty advisor to design a program suited to their background, professional context, and career goals.

  • Learn How Rigorous Research Can Inform Mathematics Educators

    The core curriculum in the M.S. in Mathematics Education program introduces candidates to the questions and methods of mathematics education research.

“Every student has the right to be taught mathematics by a highly qualified teacher — a teacher who knows mathematics well and who can guide students’ understanding and learning” National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, 2005

A Community of Teacher-Scholars

The MS in Mathematics Education program supports an inclusive community of mathematics educators. Some of those who may benefit from completing the program include:

  • Grades 6-12 classroom mathematics teachers
  • Prospective college mathematics teachers (e.g., university, community college)
  • Mathematics teacher-leaders, specialists, coaches, and curriculum coordinators
  • Recent college graduates and career-changers with a strong mathematics background (e.g., engineering, computer science)

The program requires 30-33 graduate semester credits, including least 27 course credits and 3-6 credits of thesis or project work. The core curriculum includes courses on research in mathematics education, curriculum, and the teaching and learning of algebra and geometry. Students work with advisors to select 12 elective credits in in mathematics, mathematics education, or a related field.

  • See the graduate catalog for detailed list of requirements and course descriptions.

About the Math Education Faculty

Faculty in the mathematics education group of the Boise State Mathematics Department are experienced educators and researchers with a shared passion for the exploration of mathematical teaching and learning.

Laurie Cavey, Math, studio portrait Joe Champion Margaret Kinzel Sasha Wang
Laurie Cavey, Ph.D.
(208) 426–1829

Joe Champion, Ph.D.
(208) 426-3497
Margaret Kinzel, Ph.D.
(208) 426–3002
Sasha Wang, Ph.D.
(208) 426–3388
Graduate Program Coordinator
Research Interests:
Mathematical thinking, teaching practices, functions and modeling
Research Interests:
Self-efficacy,  statistical modeling, persistence, educational web development
Research Interests:
Interpretation and use of algebraic notation, teaching practices
Research Interests:
Mathematical discourse, teaching and learning in the classrooms, geometry

How To Apply

Applications are accepted year-round. See the graduate catalog for admission requirements.

  1. Complete the Graduate College Application form available online.  A one-time, non-refundable application fee is also required.
  2. Request official transcripts from all institutions previously attended to be sent to the Graduate Admissions Office, MS-1110, Boise State University, Boise, ID 83725.
  3. Arrange for three letters of recommendation from people who know the applicant’s academic or professional work.
  4. Write a letter of intent describing the applicant’s goals in pursuing graduate study in mathematics education.

Course Descriptions

See below for descriptions of the content and student learning outcomes for courses in the program.

MATH ED 510 Mathematics Curriculum

MATHED 510:  Mathematics Curriculum

Students will develop the knowledge, skills, and dispositions useful in the design, development and analysis of school mathematics curriculum materials. The course includes careful examination of national standards, curriculum reports and instructional materials from multiple perspectives including mathematical, pedagogical, and developmental perspectives.
Successful students in this course will be able to:

  1. Describe important mathematical concepts, methods and habits of mind that are central to school mathematics, and critique how those ideas are developed in curriculum materials.
  2. Summarize implications of theories of learning for the design of school mathematics curricula.
  3. Analyze curriculum materials in terms of content and pedagogical goals.
  4. Design instructional materials that incorporate appropriate mathematics, research on student learning, and use of technology.

MATHED 511 Survey of Research in Mathematics Education

MATHED 511 Survey of Research in Mathematics Education

Students will become acquainted with the scholarly discipline of mathematics education, to include the central themes and concepts of research in the field. Course activities include readings, class discussions, and writing assignments (e.g., analytical summaries).
Successful students in this course will be able to:

  1. Summarize literature addressing one or more important questions about the learning and teaching of mathematics.
  2. Explain the main strategies for conducting mathematics education research.
  3. Analyze and critique a variety of scholarly works in mathematics education.

MATHED 512 Mathematics Education Research Design

MATHED 512 Mathematics Education Research Design

This course offers an advanced perspective on approaches to scholarship in mathematics education through both instructor-selected and independently chosen readings, discussions, assignments, and projects. Particularly beneficial for students ready to prepare a culminating activity proposal.
Successful students in this course will be able to:

  1. Summarize general principles of research design (e.g., research questions, literature review, theoretical framework, research methods, analysis, findings).
  2. Synthesize and critique mathematics education research.
  3. Build on existing research to develop a scholarly product in mathematics education, including extensive original contribution in at least one phase of research (e.g., design, methodology, data collection, analysis, findings).

MATHED 523 Teaching and Learning Algebra and Functions

MATHED 523 Teaching and Learning Algebra and Functions

This course is designed to engage participants in considering contemporary approaches to teaching secondary school algebra based on mathematics education research. Course topics include selected concepts in secondary school algebra, teaching methods and materials, and research on the conceptual development of algebraic ideas.
There are four primary learning objectives for the course. After successfully completing the course, you should be able to do the following:

  1. Describe and recognize different perspectives on learning algebra including applications to current standards for teaching mathematics.
  2. Summarize research on student thinking in algebra and on functions (e.g., learning trajectories or essential understandings).
  3. Use functions as mathematical models in several ways.
  4. Know and apply research on using technology to teach algebra and functions.

MATHED 524 Teaching and Learning Geometry

MATHED 524 Teaching and Learning Geometry

This course offers the opportunity to explore basic concepts in Euclidean, transformational, and other non-Euclidean geometries (e.g., taxi-cab and spherical geometry). Includes current research relevant to teaching and learning of secondary geometry.
Successful students in this course will be able to:

  1. Use geometric definitions, postulates, axioms and theorems to solve problems with mathematical precision.
  2. Compare and contrast basic geometric shapes and their properties across geometries.
  3. Summarize literature about teaching and learning of geometry.

MATHED 525 Teaching and Learning Calculus

MATHED 525 Teaching and Learning Calculus

This course is designed to engage participants in considering contemporary approaches to teaching calculus based on mathematics education literature. Course topics include selected concepts of differential and integral calculus, teaching methods and materials, research on student thinking, and the historical development of calculus.
Successful students in this course will be able to:

  1. Solve problems that exemplify the big ideas of calculus.
  2. Outline major events and ideas in the development of calculus including applications to the teaching and learning of calculus.
  3. Summarize research on student thinking in calculus.
  4. Critique lesson activities for teaching calculus.

MATHED 526 Teaching and Learning Statistics

MATHED 526 Teaching and Learning Statistics

This course engages participants in considering contemporary approaches to teaching secondary statistics based on educational literature. Course topics include selected concepts in data collection, descriptive and inferential statistics, probability, strategies for teaching secondary statistics, and research on student thinking.
Successful students in this course will be able to:

  1. Explain terms, graphs, interpretations, and symbols used to communicate statistics to general and technical audiences (Statistical Literacy).
  2. Select among and apply modern statistical methods; interpret statistical results while accounting for limitations of data (Statistical Reasoning).
  3. Communicate why and how statistical investigations are conducted, especially the “big ideas” that underlie statistical practices (Statistical Thinking).
  4. Summarize and critique statistical research.
  5. Analyze, critique, and modify statistics curriculum for effective use in secondary settings.

MATHED 557 Teaching and Learning Number Concepts with Problem Solving

MATHED 557 Teaching and Learning Number Concepts with Problem Solving

This course is designed to engage participants in considering contemporary approaches to teaching number concepts based on mathematics education literature. Course topics include the real number system, number bases, operations and algorithms, divisibility, and proportional reasoning, with related literature on teaching and learning through problem solving.
Successful students in this course will be able to:

  1. Explain reasoning that underlies number operations and demonstrate the use of physical materials as models for those operations.
  2. Critique alternative algorithms in terms of efficiency, transparency of number concepts, and pedagogical considerations.
  3. Solve problems involving proportional reasoning in multiple ways, and analyze various methods in terms of students’ thinking and pedagogical considerations.
  4. Construct trajectories to illustrate how number concepts develop; analyze how these trajectories align with national standards.
  5. Summarize research on students’ thinking related to number concepts.
  6. Critique the role of problem solving as an instructional technique related to number concepts.

Scheduled Course Offerings

See below for the (unofficial) planned schedule of graduate courses in the program.

  • Spring 2015

    Jan 12 – May 1

    Time Course Instructor
     9:00-11:45 am on Saturdays  MATHED 512 Survey of Research in Mathematics Education II  Sasha Wang

  • Summer 2015

    Second 5-week session: July 6 – Aug 9

    Time (Mon-Thu) Course Instructor
    7:20 -9:00 am MATH 564 Mathematical Modeling Joe Champion
    9:30-11:20 am MATHED 523 Teaching and Learning Algebra Laurie Cavey


Financial Support

The M.S. in Mathematics Education program has among the lowest costs of any master’s program for teachers in the region. In addition, there are a variety of opportunities to financially support program completion, including federally subsidized loans, graduate assistantships, and scholarship programs.  Please contact the Program Coordinator or the Financial Aid department for additional information.

Completing the Program

Well-prepared candidates in the M.S. in Mathematics Education program can complete the program in as little as two years. Currently employed participants can complete the program part-time, and faculty work creatively to support all candidates’ efforts to achieve their academic and career goals in a timely fashion.

Culminating Project or Thesis

As a culminating experience, program graduates complete 4 to 7 credits of independent project or thesis work. Faculty work with candidates to individually plan this culminating work

Some sample questions a candidate may choose to address include:

  1. How could a teacher facilitate student discussions in an accelerated high school geometry course?
  2. What factors can be used to predict changes in mathematical confidence among algebra students?
  3. How do statistics curricula differ in their attention to the “model with mathematics” standard in the Common Core State Standards?
  4. To what extent can working with multiple representations of complex numbers affect students’ understanding of trigonometry and algebra?

Recent Graduates

Making mathematics culturally relevant
Denise Mirich, 2014

Using learner-generated examples to support students’ understanding of functions
Marti Dinkelman, 2013

The assignment packet grading system
Sarah Bruce, 2013

How do we help students interpret contingency tables? A study on the use of proportional reasoning as an intervention
Kat Isaacson, 2011

Developing understanding of the equals sign and its effects on success in algebra
Ryan W Brown, 2010

The inquiry learning model as an approach to mathematics instruction
Michael Brune, 2010

Effects of standards-based mathematics curriculum on the self-efficacy and academic achievement of previously unsuccessful students
Cindy Chesley Shaw, 2009

Concept booklets: Examining the performance effects of journaling of mathematics course concepts
Todd Stephen Fogdall, 2009

Using multimedia and universal design to reinforce mathematics lectures for diverse learners in a rural school
Janet Elizabeth Campbell-Hughes, 2008

Exploring process/object duality within students’ interpretation and use of algebraic expressions
Thomas Alan Kinzel, 2006

Integrating Geometer’s Sketchpad and middle school mathematics: Effects on student understanding of geometric and measurement concepts
Kimberly Ann Reynolds Grimes, 2006

Graphing calculator use in algebra teaching
Brenda L Dewey, 2006

Correlation between spatial ability test and mathematics test scores in high school students
Stanley L Nelson, 2006