What can we do to improve mathematics and science for all students?

Posted on March 5th, 2010

William F. Tate IV holds the Edward Mallinckrdodt Distinguished University Professorship in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis and serves as Chair of the Department of Education. In this video, he addresses high quality mathematics and science education for all students.

[Video Transcript] What can we do to improve mathematics and science for all students? As I see it, we need to focus on those factors that we can control in school settings. As such, there are three major areas that I think are important for anyone who's engaged in leadership in mathematics and science.

The first one deals with quality factors. What do I mean by quality? The most important quality factor that we can control is a high quality, cognitively demanding, developmentally appropriate mathematics and science experience, generally instantiated in some form of a curriculum and instructional experience.

The second one, which is much more difficult—that's ensuring that all students have a highly qualified mathematics and science teacher. In combination, a high quality teacher in a cognitively demanding, developmentally appropriate mathematics and science curriculum is a great start to making sure that all students improve in mathematics and science.

The second feature is related: time. If you have a high quality experience going on, you want to make sure that you take advantage of the time that you have—and I'm arguing that before school, during school, and after school—we have to make sure students have an aligned experience that includes high quality curriculum and highly competent teachers working with them to make sure they have an opportunity to learn that content in mathematics and science.

Finally, schools are really places where engineering occurs. There's a design to schools. And we need to make sure that we have an aligned set of experiences around quality and time that ensure all students have a real opportunity to learn. If we put this all together, quality, time, and design, you're more likely to improve learning for all students in mathematics and science.

William F. Tate IV

William F. Tate IV holds the Edward Mallinckrdodt Distinguished University Professorship in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis and serves as Chair of the Department of Education. He holds additional academic and research appointments in Public Health, Center for Applied Statistics, and Urban Studies. He directs the Center for the Study of Regional Competitiveness in Science and Technology.

"Beyond the Business of Parallel Play: Engineering Change in METS," a lecture by William F. Tate IV given at the Learning Policy Center of the University of Pittsburgh about engineering quality academic and social opportunities for urban school students in the face of significant structural barriers. More information on William F. Tate IV.