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The Streak

June 07, 2017

While winning streaks are normally associated with sports, it is actually the Department of Mathematics that boasts the longest “streak” on the ASU campus.

For 20 straight years, ASU math students have maintained a 100 percent passing rate on the Texas Examination of Educator Standards (TExES) teacher certification test for secondary mathematics. 

“The Streak” began in 1998 and since then, all 181 of the students who have taken the secondary mathematics TExES after completing the ASU mathematics program have passed. The statewide passing rate during that same period is about 60 percent. 

Dr. Dionne Bailey, professor of mathematics, teaches the capstone course that students must complete as a final preparation for the constantly evolving TExES. 

Dr. Dionne Bailey Dr. Dionne Bailey “There is only so much you can review in one semester,” Bailey said, “so we try to keep current with what is the newest focus, and we develop materials so that the students are reviewing the right concepts. We also talk to our students after they take the TExES to see if there were any types of questions that we didn’t review. That way, we can fill that into our course, as well.” 

“This long streak,” she added, “demonstrates that the mathematics teacher preparation program here at ASU continues to successfully prepare pre-service mathematics teachers for the state exam.” 

The capstone course for TExES preparation was first developed in 1997 by senior mathematics instructor Ellen Moreland at the request of then-department head Dr. Johnny Bailey. Moreland then taught the course through the first 17 years of the passing rate streak. 

Ellen Moreland Ellen Moreland “It is hard to believe that it has been 20 years since I was asked to develop and teach Math 4322, which has come to be known as the capstone course,” Moreland said. “I quickly realized we needed this course to review the many mathematical concepts the students had already been taught. But even more importantly, they needed to develop excellent problem-solving skills.” 

In recognition of her exemplary course development and teaching, Moreland was named the 2009 Texas Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. 

“Ellen developed a curriculum that has proven to prepare our mathematics students for the wide array of questions that span mathematical knowledge from all four years of undergraduate mathematics course work,” Bailey said. “I don’t think we would’ve had any kind of a streak without her.” 

The latest ASU students to keep the passing streak alive are Amber Bohr of Fort Worth, Brennan Friday of San Angelo and Jonathan Hood of Carlsbad. After completing the capstone course last fall, they passed the TExES with an average score of 284.3 out of 300, compared to the state average score of 239.9. 

(L to R) Brennan Friday, Amber Bohr and Jonathan Hood (L to R) Brennan Friday, Amber Bohr and Jonathan Hood “We feel like we work them to death,” Bailey said, “so if they get through the capstone course, we are pretty confident that they will get through the TExES without a problem. The students say the same thing. They all say that they are glad they worked so hard in the capstone course because it actually made the TExES easy.” 

“The students that will be in the course this fall, that’s already the buzz with them,” she added. “They don’t want to be the class to break the streak.” 

“We try to keep current with what is the newest focus, and we develop materials so that the students are reviewing the right concepts.”

Dr. Dionne Bailey

Bailey had similar feelings when Moreland passed her the torch in 2014, but has really grown into her role. 

“I volunteered to take over the capstone course,” Bailey said, “and I’m glad I did because you develop some really good relationships with those students.” 

Both Bailey and Moreland also credit their colleagues for their part in the passing rate streak. 

“The capstone instructor cannot successfully prepare the students for the state exam without a strong mathematics program and faculty that serve our students well,” Bailey said. 

“Without the foresight of Dr. Johnny Bailey, the help of the entire mathematics department, past and present, and of course the hard work of all of our students, we would not have these amazing results,” Moreland said. “Dr. Dionne Bailey has taken over the teaching of the capstone course and is doing an excellent job!” 

And so, the streak continues…