National Association of Professors of Middle Level Education


Current Issues in Middle Level Education (Volume 16 • Number 2 • Fall 2011)

Table of Conents


Virtual vs. Concrete Manipulatives in Mathematics Teacher Education:
Is One Type More Effective Than the Other? (PDF)

Annita W. Hunt, Ed.D.
Kelli L. Nipper, Ph.D.
Linda E. Nash, Ph.D.
Clayton State University


Abstract: Are virtual manipulatives as effective as concrete (hands-on) manipulatives in building conceptual understanding of number concepts and relationships in pre-service middle grades teachers? In the past, the use of concrete manipulatives in mathematics courses for Clayton State University’s pre-service middle grades teachers has been effective in building conceptual understanding of a variety of mathematical topics. This paper presents the results of a three-year
study in which 78 middle grades mathematics teacher candidates used various concrete and virtual manipulatives to study fractions, integers and nondecimal-based numbers. They then compared each type of manipulative for ease of use and helpfulness in understanding the concepts addressed.



The Middle School Concept Meets the Age of Assessments:  How One Middle School Has Adapted to the New Age (PDF) 

Allen H. Seed, Ph.D.
The University of Memphis
Cherry Watts, Ph. D.
The University of Tennessee at Martin


Abstract: The Middle School Concept brings together good teaching practices with the unique needs of pre-adolescent students.  Since the passing of the NCLB, more and more attention has been generated on the results of high stakes testing.  The question of what happens to the middle school concept when it confronts the demands of this new age of testing is critical in understanding how to meet the multiple needs of the students and  the school’s need for accountability. This qualitative study follows a previous quantitative study conducted to determine the state of the middle school concept in Tennessee.  The school with the highest interest in and implementation of the middle school concept was visited by the authors. They found that despite the pressure from escalating accountability and standardization efforts by the state and federal governments, the principal and staff at this school still believe that the middle school concept best meets the educational needs of young adolescents.    



Modeling Alternative Assessment for Pre-Service Middle Level Teachers (PDF)

Robert G. Ziegenfuss, Ph.D.
Shippensburg University


Abstract: College assessment models for our future middle school teachers must be varied, on-going, engaging, equitable and empowering. Traditional assessments do not often model the critical components of what makes assessment appropriate for middle level students. To provide the appropriate model for future middle level teachers, the establishment of multiple assessment types clearly provides more opportunity for equity, engagement, differentiated learning styles and
what is known about developmentally responsive middle level assessment.