MUW education program receives high grades

Ashley Dodson


The Mississippi University for Women C.H.A.M.P.S. program received excellent accreditation from the U.S. Board of Education.

The Center for Creative Learning at MUW started the program in 2004 in response to federal initiatives to increase proficiency in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The Learning Center established Creating High Achievement in Mathematics and Problem Solving (CHAMPS), which has received more than $4 million in continued funding.

CHAMPS was recently recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as being one out of 16 organizations that met all of its evaluation criteria. CHAMPS is also one of the five projects that are funded in the university’s current grant cycle.

The program consists of two-week seminars along with four “Super Saturday” mini-conferences. CHAMPS’ goal is to give the participating teachers a new outlook on how they teach their science and math material to their students. In this program the roles are reversed and the teachers are essentially the students in the workshops. During the course of the program, teachers are learning new methods, such as giving students more time on problems, encouraging students to help each other and using real-world examples to help students relate to the problem simpler.

“It is always enlightening to remember what it's like to be in the student role, rather than just the teacher's. I can relate to my student's struggles more. I find myself allowing them more wait time, encouraging them to help each other and providing opportunities that are more engaging than before,” said one teacher.

CHAMPS material is provided by the university’s professors who are master teachers in mathematics. These professors serve as mentors to the teachers in the program. A study was conducted through the mentors where approximately 25 teachers were mentored, with a control group who was not mentored. After the evaluation, the studies shows that the students whose teachers had mentors scored significantly higher on standardized tests than those students whose teachers were in the control group.

CHAMPS is continuing to improve and stimulate its program. Its ultimate goal is to see that the program is making a difference in helping Mississippi schools improve student success in mathematics.