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NJ Math Profile

NJ Partnership for Excellence in Middle School Mathematics


The New Jersey Partnership for Excellence in Middle School Mathematics (NJ-PEMSM) is a partnership between Rutgers University and seven school districts in the state of New Jersey. The partnership is developing the expertise of teachers in mathematics, pedagogy, and leadership to enhance the mathematical achievement of their students and to share their expertise further as lead teachers, mathematics coaches, and district resources.

NJ-PEMSM includes school districts facing a cross-section of the most serious educational challenges for American public schools: economic stresses in the home and community environments, a diversity of socio-cultural contexts, and partial student proficiency on statewide mathematics assessments.

The NJ-PEMSM Institute, with summer and academic year components, is enrolling 100 active middle school mathematics teachers, in four cohorts over five years, as Partnership Fellows. Fellows undertake a program that develops deep mathematical content knowledge and research-based pedagogical strategies to engage students in learning. The mathematical domains include numbers and operations, algebra, geometry, probability, and discrete mathematics. Teaching strategies include attention to children's mathematical reasoning processes, affect and motivation. The Institute is developing leadership skills that empower participants to communicate their expertise to colleagues, and to positively influence their school districts. Fellows can earn a Master's of Education in Mathematics Education, and/or advanced licensures. Ongoing support structures are designed to sustain a community of expert practice.

A rigorous research effort is documenting the outcomes of the project for dissemination to the broader community. A special focus is being placed on the mathematical achievement of special-needs students.

NJ-PEMSM expects the following outcomes:

  1. To develop a cadre of middle school math teachers who have strong mathematical content, pedagogy and leadership skills and knowledge.

  2. To provide middle school mathematics teachers with a deeper and more flexible mathematical content knowledge so that they can effectively teach conceptually challenging mathematics.

  3. To transform middle school mathematics education by better engaging and motivating students from economically disadvantaged, and racially, ethnically, and culturally diverse populations so that they choose to pursue more advanced mathematics courses.

  4. To answer specific research questions regarding middle school teachers' acquisition of mathematical knowledge and pedagogical development, consequences for students' learning, including special education students, and the impact of teacher leadership development on participating school districts.