At a time when there is a national focus on closing the achievement gap in mathematics classrooms, scholars and practitioners in the field of mathematics education and linguistics will convene in Rochester, N.Y. in May 2008 for a four-day international research conference. The participants will discuss and synthesize research on classroom practices that support more robust and equitable conditions for all students to learn and participate meaningfully in mathematics classes.

A $105,493 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) will fund the conference, themed "Investigating Equitable Discourse Practices in Mathematics Classrooms," and will be hosted by the Warner School of Education and administered through the Warner Center for Professional Development and Education Reform at the University of Rochester. By addressing issues of culture, diversity, and equity, the conference will investigate, synthesize, and disseminate research that focuses on a range of classroom practices—verbal communication, writing, reading, listening, and other forms of interaction—that will help students develop competency in mathematical practices.

Principal Investigators Jeffrey Choppin, an assistant professor of mathematics education at the Warner School, Beth Herbel-Eisenmann, an assistant professor in curriculum and instruction at Iowa State University, and David Wagner, an assistant professor of mathematics education at the University of New Brunswick, said, "The NSF funding recognizes the importance of promoting equitable access and opportunities for all students to participate, learn mathematics with understanding, and understand the place of mathematics in the world.

"The Conference will address the most compelling need in education—providing every student with equal access to a high-quality education. By bringing together these renowned scholars with expertise in education and linguistics as well as educational professionals from a range of contexts, we will be able to weave the diverse perspectives of participants to address concerns related to culture, diversity, and equity in the teaching and learning of mathematics. The synthesis of research generated during and disseminated following the conference will be central to changing classroom patterns, and thus, closing the achievement gap in classrooms."

The conference will be geared to scholars and practitioners from a variety of professional settings, including research institutions, teaching institutions, district-level mathematics specialists, and classroom teachers from the United States, Australia, England, Canada, and South Africa.

The dissemination of research findings that will evolve from the conference will include the organization of presentations for the annual conferences of the Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, the National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics, and the American Educational Research Association, as well as the production of a co-edited book on equitable classroom practices in mathematics, which by addressing issues of culture, diversity, and equity, will identify ways to expand student participation in mathematics classrooms.

The investigation of equitable classroom practices comes at a time when national data and research show trends of an increasingly diverse U.S. public school system, with implications and opportunities for all students to learn.

The conference will take place May 15-18, 2008 at the Hyatt Regency Rochester. For more information about the conference, please call Jeff Choppin at (585) 273-4913 or e-mail

About the Warner School of Education
Founded in 1958, the University of Rochester's Warner School of Education offers master's and doctoral degree programs in teaching and curriculum, school leadership, higher education, counseling, human development, and educational policy. The Warner School of Education offers a new accelerated option for its Ed.D. programs that allows eligible students to earn a doctorate in education in as few as three years part time while holding a professional job in the same field. The Warner School of Education is recognized both regionally and nationally for its tradition of preparing practitioners and researchers to become leaders and agents of change in schools, universities, and community agencies; generating and disseminating research; and actively participating in education reform.