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Boise State Researchers Develop Survey to Measure Mathematics Instruction

A team of Boise State researchers recently published an article in the Mathematics Teacher Educator journal, the official publication of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM).

Michele Carney Image

Michele Carney

Jonathan Brendefur Image

Jonathan Brendefur

The researchers developed a survey to measure teachers’ use of mathematics instruction K-12 classrooms. The article, “Developing a Mathematics Instructional Practice Survey: Considerations and Evidence” discusses the development of this survey, and the results related to how frequently teachers use a particular type of mathematics instruction.

Gwyneth Hughes Image

Gwyneth Hughes

Keith Thiede Image

Keith Thiede

Carney, M.B., Brendefur, J.L., Hughes, G.R., Thiede, K. (2015). Developing a Mathematics Instructional Practice Survey: Considerations and Evidence. Mathematics Teacher Educator, 4(1).

Petya Stoyanova Johnson

Petya Stoyanova Johnson, Dr. Michael Apple (2015 EERA Keynote Speaker)

Petya Stoyanova Johnson, Dr. Michael Apple (2015 EERA Keynote Speaker)

Petya Stoyanova Johnson, an educational specialist for The Center for Multicultural Educational Opportunities and candidate in the College of Education’s Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Instruction, attended the 2015 European Educational Research Association (EERA) conference Sept. 7-11, 2015.

Stoyanova Johnson presented a paper titled “Ideology In Transition – The Plight of Roma Youth in Bulgaria’s Education System”. She also traveled to her native Bulgaria, where she spent time at rural schools learning more about opportunity programs designed to foster inclusive learning environments for all children.

Educational Leadership Program Celebrates Ten Year Anniversary

Cohort 8, Educational Leadership Program

Cohort 8, Educational Leadership Program

The Department of Curriculum, Instruction, and Foundational Studies (CIFS) recently celebrated ten years of the Educational Leadership program.

On September 16, 2015, over 100 guests came together in the Stueckle Sky Center
as both a reunion of the past nine cohorts, and a celebration of the newest tenth cohort which started this fall.

All past and present cohort and faculty members were invited, as well as members of the CIFS department.

Guest speakers included:

  • Rich Osguthorpe, Dean of the College of Education
  • Phil Kelly, Department Chair for CIFS
  • Kathleen Budge, instructor in the Executive Educational Leadership Program, Specialist Degree
  • Kelly Cross, instructor and coordinator of the Educational Leadership Program, and Masters degree

Educational Leadership Program Faculty

Educational Leadership Program Faculty

The Educational Leadership program is unique because it bridges the gap between theory and practice in three primary ways. First, a student-centered pedagogy emphasizes problem-based learning in real-life settings. Second, all Boise State faculty have extensive, recent experience as practitioners in the educational leadership field. Third, exemplary administrators currently practicing in the field serve as formal mentors to each cohort. The mentors play an active and important role in each cohort, and even attend classes with the educational leadership students.

To learn more about the Educational Leadership program, please contact Kelly Cross at 208-426-2806 or

2015-2016 Pesky Award for Inspirational Teaching (PAIT) Nominations Now Available


Nominations for the 2015-2016 Pesky Award for Inspirational Teaching (PAIT) are now available. The award recognizes four distinguished K-12 teachers who have made a difference in the lives of their former students. Teacher candidates in the graduating class of 2015 or spring 2016 may nominate a teacher who has inspired them. Nominations are due by October 30, 2015.

The PAIT is the only award known of its kind that recognizes K-12 teachers for the inspirational work they do. Alan and Wendy Pesky, founders of the Lee Pesky Learning Center, created the award in conjunction with the College of Education.

Honored teachers will each receive $2000, with an additional $500 for his/her school.

Students whose nominations are selected will receive a $75 award.

Awards will be given by President Bob Kustra at the 2015 Winter Commencement.

A special luncheon for the nominating teacher candidate, the honored teacher, and their guests will be held immediately after the graduation ceremony. Travel costs for honored teachers to attend the events will generously be provided for by Alan and Wendy Pesky.

College of Education Dean Featured on KMVT News Story

Richard Osguthorpe, College of Education Dean

Richard Osguthorpe, College of Education Dean

Rich Osguthorpe, College of Education Dean, presented on issues related to the moral work of teaching at Cassia County’s professional development session, Thursday, October 1, 2015.

All Cassia County school teachers, bus drivers, cooks, and faculty attended the presentation.

Local station KMVT featured the presentation, and the video for the news story can be found here.

Dean Osguthorpe conducted two sessions during the day-long event, which was described by KMVT as “a refresher course in ethics of the teaching profession and how it relates to students in the 21st century.”

Boise State Had Strong Representation at 2015 NRMERA Conference

Boise State Presenters at the 2015 NRMERA Conference Dolly Higgins, Anser Charter School Giselle Isbell, Anser Charter School Jenny Culp, Boise State University

Boise State Presenters at the 2015 NRMERA Conference
Dolly Higgins, Anser Charter School
Giselle Isbell, Anser Charter School
Jenny Culp, Boise State University

The Northern Rocky Mountain Educational Research Association (NRMERA) held its annual conference in Boise on October 1-2, 2015. The 2015 conference was titled “The Science of Learning and Education”, and Boise State College of Education faculty, doctoral students, and alumni presented on a variety of original research topics.

“Faculty and graduate students from around the Rocky Mountain area presented original research on the science of learning and education in a supportive and collegial environment” said Keith Thiede, Associate Dean for Research and Advanced Programs in the College of Education. “It was exciting for Boise to be the host for a conference dedicated to this kind of quality education research.”

There were 13 Boise State presentations at the 2015 NRMERA conference:

The Ratio Table: A Flexible Model for Decimal Multiplication
Dolly Higgins, Anser Charter School
Giselle Isbell, Anser Charter School
Jenny Culp, Boise State University
Following instruction on decimal multiplication, students exposed to the ratio table answered significantly more questions correctly than those who were not exposed to this model.

Eradicating Misconceptions in Engineering Students
Dazhi Yang, Boise State University
Inanc Senocak, Boise State University
Krishna Pakala, Boise State University
Megan Luy, Boise State University
This study determined a short presentation of non-refutational text does not have impact on misconceptions engineering students hold.

Responsibilities, Supports, and Needs of Science Teacher Leaders
Julianne Wenner, Boise State University
This research explored the responsibilities, supports, and needs of formally designated science teacher leaders in urban elementary schools that have successfully narrowed science achievement gaps.

Affective Experiences in Mathematics
Angela Crawford, Boise State University
M. Brady Webb, Boise State University
This qualitative study investigates students’ affective experiences of mathematics, students’ emotions, mathematics identities, beliefs about their abilities, and mathematics’ importance.

Faculty Advocacy and the Impact on Teacher Candidate Quality
Carolyn Loffer, Boise State University
Meghan Eliason, Boise State University
A.J. Zenkert, Boise State University
Brad Coats, Boise State University
Emphasizing the importance of professional counseling along with academic advising, one teacher education program assigns faculty advocates to candidates as they are admitted to teacher education programs.

Instructional Strategies to Foster Online Classroom Community
Patrick Lowenthal, Boise State University
Jesús Trespalacios, Boise State University
Building community online can improve learning and retention. In this session presenters will share students’ perceptions of community and strategies used to build community online.

Identifying variables important to the success of K-12 students in blended learning
Kerry Rice, Boise State University
Jui-Long Hung, Boise State University
Presents findings from a blended learning program evaluation, using student end-of-course survey data combined with data mining. Findings suggest that is it possible to apply educational data mining techniques in blended learning classrooms to identify key variables important to the success of learners.

Studying Practice and Student Learning: Supporting Beginning Teachers-Professional Capital
Sherry Dismuke, Boise State University
Jennifer Snow, Boise State University
Meghan Eliason, Boise State University
Carolyn Loffer, Boise State University
Following up with elementary program graduates, researchers found a need indicated from new teachers on learning communities based in practice connected to student learning.

Replicated Effects of a Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) Program in Hawaii and Chicago Elementary Schools
Brian Flay, Boise State University
Two RCTs of Positive Action found the program to be effective in improving prosocial values and behavior, reducing negative behaviors, and improving school performance.

The Convergence of Imaginative Play, Literacy and Kindergarten Common Core Language Arts Standards Alta Gracia Salinas-Casper, Boise State University
Sarah Brownsten, Anser Charter School
Maggie Chase, Boise State University
This research suggests imaginative play embedded with literacy experiences, when paired with standards based direct instruction, can serve to facilitate the meeting of kindergarten Common Core English Language Arts standards.

Coherence Principle of Gamification: A Study to Determine the More Effective Approach in an Online Authentic Environment
Kristin Heath, Boise State University
This study examines the effectiveness of the coherence principle and compares it to using gamification to motivate and engage learners in an online, authentic environment.

What Motivates First Generation, Limited Income High School Students to Transition into a Post-Secondary Program of Study
Petya Stoyanova Johnson, Boise State University
Marilena Martello, Boise State University
Belma Sadikovic, Boise State University
This research study aims to find the motivating factors that help first generation, limited income high school students transition into a post-secondary program of study.

Student Use of Models to Divide Fractions
Emily Leckie, Kuna Elementary Instructional Coach
Rebecca Davis, Kuna Elementary Teacher
Wava Kaufman, Kuna Elementary Teacher
Jacob Dobson, Kuna Elementary Teacher
Our research hopes to inform teacher instruction on dividing fractions in 5th grade by identifying what students already know, guiding teachers to a best approach.

Exploring the Cues Behind Teacher Expectations and the Influence of Mindset
M. Brady Webb, Boise State University
This qualitative study investigated the cues teachers use to judge student learning, and examined the influence of a fixed or growth mindset on cue-usage.

The Idaho Reading Indicator as a Predictor of Subsequent Diagnosis of Specific Learning Disabilities
Kimberly Ennis, Boise School District
The IRI is an Idaho state mandated universal reading screen for primary students. The IRI scores were correlated to the subsequent identification of SLD.

NRMERA was established in 1982 and shares education research conducted by faculty and graduates students of colleges and universities in the northern Rocky Mountain geographic area.

College of Education Committed to Innovative Solutions for Special Education Teacher Shortage

Special Education Collaborative between Boise State University College of Education and Lee Pesky Learning Center

The College of Education now offers a master in teaching degree in conjunction with the Special Education Collaborative (also referred to as the Master In Teaching), an innovative partnership between the Department of Early and Special Education, school districts across the state, and Lee Pesky Learning Center.

Learn more about this important partnership in the Oct 2 op-ed piece in the Idaho Statesman written by the Dean of the College of Education, Rich Osguthorpe, and in a Sept. 20 story about the critical shortage of special education teachers. The Collaborative was also featured in a Jan. 16 story from NPR Ed on Morning Edition.

The primary intent of the program is to provide a flexible, high quality program and cultivate the specialized knowledge, skills, and dispositions that are needed for long-term success. Teacher candidates in the one-year, online program earn both a Master in Teaching degree alongside a certification in Special Education or Early Childhood Intervention, and work with committed faculty in the Department of Early and Special Education to develop high-quality skills, knowledge and dispositions to ensure success.

Learn more about the Master In Teaching programs, and visit the Department of Early and Special Education.

College of Education Programs Earn Prestigious Ratings in Higher Education

CommencementMarshall-500x333-300x199Boise State University’s College of Education ranks among the top education programs in the country, according to U.S. News & World Report’s 2016 Best Graduate Schools report.

The annual report examines the largest professional graduate school disciplines of business, law, education, engineering and medicine and specialty rankings within those disciplines. The College of Education ranked in the top 100 nationally and its fully online educational technology graduate program ranked in the top 50.

The news organization’s rankings are among the most prestigious ratings in higher education.

The U.S. News rankings released March 10 follow an earlier announcement by the National Council on Teacher Quality putting Boise State’s undergraduate elementary and secondary Teacher Education programs in the top 5 percent of such programs in the country.

NCTQ’s review of teacher preparation programs focused on the knowledge, skills, and academic attributes new teachers need to be classroom ready when they graduate. Drawing from a set of 18 standards, NCTQ applied the relevant standards to elementary, secondary or special education programs. NCTQ is a nonprofit, nonpartisan research and policy organization located in Washington DC.

“These high rankings are because of our faculty’s dedicated work and commitment to quality in making continuous program improvement a hallmark of our undergraduate and graduate programs,” said College of Education Dean Rich Osguthorpe. “This commitment means we are producing graduates who are ready on the first day of their careers to teach and improve student learning. It also means that we are conducting high-level research with graduate students that aims to improve school outcomes.”

Osguthorpe particularly pointed to the leadership of Jennifer Snow, associate dean of teacher education, and of Keith Thiede, associate dean for research and graduate studies, in helping the college achieve the rankings.

Other universities with education programs ranked similar to Boise State included Kansas State University, University of Alabama, University of Arkansas and Virginia Tech.

The graduate disciplines that U.S. News ranks annually are evaluated on factors that include standardized test scores of newly enrolled students, employment outcomes for graduates, external research funding and other criteria. Because each graduate program is different, the rankings methodology varies across disciplines.

Boise State’s Department of Educational Technology (EdTech) is housed in the College of Education. Other universities with programs and rankings similar to EdTech include University of Nevada at Reno, Drexel University, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Purdue University.

Summer Literacy Academy Offers Faculty, Staff Discount

Summer Literacy Academy, St Mary's School, Petros Panaou, Photo Patrick SweeneyBoise State University faculty and staff who enroll their children in the Literacy Center’s Summer Literacy Academy program by April 15 can receive an additional $55 discount. This is in addition to the regular $25 discount for early registration, so faculty and staff can receive a total discount of $80.

To take advantage of this special offer, contact Jessica Nelson at (208) 318-6424 or and provide her with your employee ID number.

Qualified teachers help children beat the summer slide and further develop their literacy skills. Participating in interactive, playful and creative activities, children become more confident and engaged readers, writers and speakers.

Financial aid is available, if annual income is below $30,000.

There are two locations to choose from:

June 8-July 3: For children ages 5-12. 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Monday-Friday. $480. 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m. with ESage afternoon program. The ESage afternoon program is an additional $300. The academy will be held at Sage International School, 421 E. Parkcenter Blvd., Boise. The optional ESage afternoon program includes outdoor activities such as swimming, biking, hiking and sports. Visit to enroll your child. For more information, contact Jessica Nelson at (208) 426-2805 or For more information, contact Arron Walton at (208) 343-7243 or

June 22-July 17: Literacy Center Summer Literacy Academy. For children ages 5-12. 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Monday-Friday. $480. The academy will be held at Boise First Community Center, 3852 N. Eagle Road, Boise. Visit to enroll your child. For more information, contact Jessica Nelson at (208) 318-6424 or

Research Colloquium Features Flay and Allred

Brian Flay, research professor, and Carol Allred, president of Positive Action, Inc., will present “Replication of the effects of a Whole School Reform Character Education program from randomized trials in Hawaii and Chicago” at the College of Education Research Colloquium at 11 a.m., April 3 in room 110 in the Education Building.

Besides serving as a research professor in the College of Education, Flay also is a professor in the College of Public Health and Human Sciences at Oregon State University, where he has worked since 2005.

Flay has done extensive work on the development and implementation of evidence-based programming in schools and communities. His recent studies focus on positive youth development, including social-emotional and character development.

Allred founded Positive Action, whose school-based program addresses influences on youth development, a broad array of positive and negative behaviors and academic performance. The Positive Action program is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education in the What Works Clearinghouse as a top-rated program for improving students’ behavior and academics.

For more information, contact Keith Thiede, associate dean for research and graduate studies, at 426-1731 or