Contextualize to Learn: Preparing Faculty Toward Math Contextualization for Student Sucess in Advanced Technological Education

This study centers on math contextualization across high-demand advanced technological education (ATE) in manufacturing, engineering, biotechnology, construction, and transportation at Madison College and Milwaukee Area Technical College, both large, comprehensive 2-year institutions in Wisconsin. Rooted in a close partnership of UW–Madison researchers, the project uses a mixed-methods design to investigate faculty engagement with and professional development around math contextualization, and the impact of contextualization on students.

The research explores these questions: How do ATE faculty teaching math engage with and make sense of professional development as part of a community of practice around math contextualization? How do faculty in the community of practice apply contextualization in their teaching math?

The project team will collect and analyze longitudinal interview data collected from faculty and conduct a social network analysis of classroom observations.

Research questions pertaining to students are: What is the effect of contextualization on students’ outcomes such as course grade, course completion rate, credential completion, and/or upward transfer, and how does contextualization take its effect, if any? This question will be answered using propensity score matching, followed by path analyses based on administrative and survey data.

Second, how do ATE students in math courses of varying levels of contextualization describe their learning experiences and motivational beliefs regarding math and their overall educational and career success? For this question, the team will interview students to gain deeper insights into how and why math contextualization may or may not transfer their learning experiences and motivational beliefs.


Xueli Wang


Completed on May 31, 2022

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Xueli Wang