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Connecting Advances in Learning Research and Teacher Practice: A Conference about Teacher Education
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About The Speakers > Douglas Clements

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Douglas Clements

SUNY Distinguished Professor, University of Buffalo,
State University of New York


Douglas H. Clements has published over 125 refereed research studies, 18 books, 70 chapters, and 275 additional publications in the areas of mathematics education, educational technology, and early childhood education.

Clements was a member of President Bush's National Math Advisory Panel, charged by Executive Order 13398 to advise the President of the United States and the Secretary of Education on means to implement effective mathematics education, including the conduct, evaluation, and effective use of the results of research related to proven-effective and evidence-based mathematics education. He coauthored the Panel’s report, Foundations for Success: The Final Report of the National Mathematics Advisory Panel.

Clements also was a member of the National Research Council’s Committee on Early Mathematics and co-author of their report, Mathematics in early childhood: Learning paths toward excellence and equity .

Most recently, Clements participated as a member of the NGA/CCSSO writing of the Common Core State Standards .

Clements and his colleague, Julie Sarama, have conducted a large number of funded research projects. In 2010, they they and their colleagues were funded by NSF to conduct two research projects. The first is a $2,864,231 award entitled Early Childhood Education in the Context of Mathematics, Science, and Literacy . involves developing an interdisciplinary preschool curriculum, including mathematics, science, literacy/language, and social-emotional development. The second project is a $2,488,438 award entitled Using Rule Space and Poset-based Adaptive Testing Methodologies to Identify Ability Patterns in Early Mathematics and Create a Comprehensive Mathematics Ability Test . This project will develop a state-of-the-art assessment of early mathematics, using advanced statistical techniques and computer-aided testing to measure students' development along research-based learning trajectories.

Clements and Sarama, also are working on a project funded by IES to conduct a large cluster randomized experiment. Increasing the efficacy of an early mathematics curriculum with scaffolding designed to promote self-regulation is a $3,048,697 award to evaluate whether self-regulation and mathematics instruction can be combined synergistically.

Clements and Sarama are simultaneously continuing another large project, also funded by the IES as part of the Interagency Educational Research Initiative, or IERI program (a combination of IES, NSF, and the National Institute of Health, NIH). This project, Scaling Up TRIAD: Teaching Early Mathematics for Understanding with Trajectories and Technologies , is a $7,200,000 award to conduct a large-scale study of their integrated early childhood mathematics curriculum and professional development innovations in three states. This grant builds upon Clements and Sarama's first IERI project, funded by the NSF, in which the TRIAD theory and structure was created. The emphasis on both IERI projects is on scaling up—working with greater numbers of teachers and greater complexities involved in large-scale implementations. Both grants are directly concerned with underrepresented children, whose potential for learning mathematics is often not realized.

The early childhood mathematics curriculum used in the TRIAD projects was developed as part of another, recently-completed, (NSF-funded) project, " Building Blocks–Foundations for Mathematical Thinking, Pre-Kindergarten to Grade 2: Research-based Materials Development ," Clements and Sarama developed curricula that include software and print materials for early childhood mathematics. See the link towards the end of this page for more information on Building Blocks research and curricula. Clements and Julie Sarama's Building Blocks curriculum has been reviewed very favorably by the U.S. Department of Education's "What Works Clearinghouse" (available online).

Also contributing to these projects was work stemming from Clements' recently completed, NSF-funded "Conference on Standards for Preschool and Kindergarten Mathematics Education," an historic national meeting that lead to his chairing and co-authoring the joint position statement of the National Association of the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) on early mathematics education (see position/early childhood statement). He also cooperated with Principal Investigator Sarama on "Planning for Professional Development in Pre-School Mathematics: Meeting the Challenge of Standards 2000." See the link towards the end of this page for more information on these projects as well. With Sarama, he is co-directing an additional project based on the Building Blocks curriculum materials. This is funded by the U.S. Dept. of Education/IES's Preschool Curriculum Evaluation Research (PCER) program. Entitled "A Longitudinal Study of the Effects of a Pre-Kindergarten Mathematics Curriculum on Low-Income Children's Mathematical Knowledge," this project is examining immediate and longitudinal effects of preschool curricula with colleagues from the University of California-Berkeley.

Before these projects, Clements completed two NSF projects with colleagues. The first developed a K-5 mathematics curriculum, "Investigations in Number, Data, and Space" (published by Dale Seymour Publications). In that context, he developed several constructivist- oriented software packages (with he and colleague Julie Sarama performing all the design, programming, and implementation), including their own version of Logo and Logo-based software activities to complement the curriculum (this software environment was also published as a stand-alone product, including activities that integrate Logo into the geometry curriculum, under the name Turtle Math , which was awarded Technology & Learning's Software of the Year award, 1995, in the category "Math"), a computer-based manipulative software environment (Shapes) and several others ( Trips, Tumbling Tetrominoes ). Before that, he co- developed an elementary geometry curriculum based on Logo with Michael Battista, " Logo Geometry ," published by Silver Burdett & Ginn. In the second, research, NSF project with Battista, he conducted research on the teaching and learning of geometry with and without computers, resulting in a Journal for Research in Mathematics Education Monograph . Finally, he cooperated with several colleagues on the NSF-funded project, REC-9903409, " Technology- Enhanced Learning of Geometry in Elementary Schools ."

Clements is active in the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM), was editor and author of the NCTM Addenda (to the Standards) materials and was chair of the Editorial Panel of NCTM's research journal, the Journal for Research in Mathematics Education. He is one of the authors of NCTM's recent Principles and Standards for School Mathematics<\em> (2000) and the recent Curriculum Focal Points for Prekindergarten through Grade 8 Mathematics: A Quest for Coherence . Clements is also serving on the “Emerging Issues” Committee of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.

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