Media advisory: Teachers gear up for proportional reasoning

teachers-at-MMREPULLMAN, Wash. – Proportions may be the most commonly used mathematics in the real world and yet it is estimated more than half of adults never learn to reason proportionally.

Rural 4th-12th grade math teachers of the Inland Northwest will get help to improve their students’ proportional reasoning at a Making Math Reasoning Explicit (MMRE) summer mathematics reasoning and leadership institute at Washington State University Pullman June 15-July 1.

“Students from MMRE participating schools are getting higher test scores and performing better overall compared to similar schools not participating in the MMRE program,” said WSU math professor and MMRE co-director Libby Knott.

On Friday, June 19, and Monday, June 22, the media is invited to attend workshops where teachers will use large colorful gears to develop a better idea of how proportions and ratios can be solved using reasoning skills rather than a cross-multiply algorithm. The workshops will be 10:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m. and 1:15-3:15 p.m. both days in the Education Addition building (

School districts represented this summer are:
WA Districts             ID Districts
Asotin-Anatone       Potlatch
Dayton                    Boundary County
Odessa                    Moscow
Pomeroy                  Lake Pend Oreille
Quincy                    Troy
Soap Lake               West Bonner

In addition to the summer institute, the MMRE team of WSU and University of Idaho mathematics education researchers conducts classroom observations, visits school districts and offers regional seminars. An external evaluation company is benchmarking the participating schools and tracking student achievement over the course of the research project.

The summer institute is part of a larger MMRE program that is supported by a $5 million grant from the National Science Foundation’s Math and Science Partnership Program (NSF DUE grant number 1050397).


Libby Knott, WSU Department of Mathematics, 509-335-4122,
Will Ferguson, WSU College of Sciences science writer, 509-335-3927,