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Math ACES Profile

Mathematical ACES: Algebraic Concepts for Elementary Students


Mathematical ACES: Algebraic Concepts for Elementary Students (ACES), is a partnership between California State University, San Bernardino (CSUSB) and Ontario Montclair Elementary School District (OMSD). Supporting partners include the CSUSB Center for the Enhancement of Mathematics Education and THINK Together, a non-profit provider of after-school programs.

To improve student success in 8th grade algebra, ACES is targeting the critical juncture in the mathematics education continuum as students move from elementary concepts to algebra. The vision is to create and sustain professional learning communities (PLCs) who work collaboratively to provide high quality instruction and continuously improve mathematics instruction. Teachers develop a view of math as exciting and interesting and gain a broad and deep understanding of the curriculum within and across grade levels.

ACES is developing a distributed, classroom-based, cadre of 60 grade-level teacher leaders who adopt math as their area of expertise and provide math leadership to colleagues. Project goals include: 1) increase the mathematics understanding and achievement of (grades 4-8) students; 2) increase teachers' mathematical conceptual content knowledge, pedagogical content knowledge, and effective application of pedagogical skills; 3) cultivate replicable cultural and systemic changes that result in continuous improvement of mathematics instruction; and 4) conduct empirical research to increase evidence-based contributions to the teaching and learning knowledge base. Program components include: 1) intensive summer institutes; 2) monthly workshops; 3) PLCs focused on use of lesson study; and 4) teacher collaboration time. Innovative features include creating a new model for classroom-based capacity building in which a cadre of grade-level mathematics lead teachers gradually increase their mathematics knowledge, earn mathematics certification, and become lesson study facilitators. Instead of removing teachers from the classroom to assume coaching type assignments, the program creates a new model for distributed grade-level leadership involving a widespread network of teacher leaders who remain in the classroom, whose professionalism is highly respected by their colleagues and administration, who guide their peers in enhancing their teaching, and whose leadership is a natural outcome of this professionalism rather than a district-appointed position. At the university, lesson study is being introduced into the pre-service teacher education program by math faculty engaging in lesson study for teaching math courses to pre-service elementary teachers, and education faculty utilizing a lesson study model for math and science methods courses in the credential program. The research focuses on the degree to which teacher variables of mathematics content and pedagogical knowledge, goal structure for students, approach to instruction and to improving instruction, self-efficacy to teach mathematics, and classroom teaching performance predict student mathematics achievement, self-efficacy to do mathematics, goals orientation, and perceptions of goal structure.