Chandra Orrill

Chandra Orrill


STEM Education & Teacher Development

Research website




Liberal Arts 399L


1993University of AlabamaB.A. - Computer Applications in Music
1996Indiana UniversityInstructional Systems Technology
1999Indiana UniversityInstructional Systems Technology


  • Mathematics Education Ph.D. Courses
  • Middle School Mathematics Content Courses for Teachers
  • Educational Technology
  • Educational Assessment





This course will introduce students to fundamental problems pertaining to mathematics education that have been instrumental to constitute and define it as a research field The students will be introduced to important ideas in the field and why these ideas are significant in defining the activity of research in mathematics education. The study of how these theoretical and pragmatic problems have been approached by a community of researchers, will help the students to understand, in broad terms, the nature of research in the field and, at the same time, offer a panorama of new areas of inquiry that are being transformed presently, into research programs.

This is a capstone course designed to synthesize critical research processes, theories of learning, and current research themes in mathematics education to which the student is introduced to in their first year. From this synthesis, students are expected to select and refine a topic for their pilot study to be conducted during the introductory and preparatory phases of the doctoral program (Years 1 and 2).

Capstone course designed to synthesize critical research processes, theories of learning, and current research themes in mathematics education. From this synthesis, students are expected to select and refine a topic for their pilot study to be conducted during the preparatory phase of the doctoral program. A major product of this course is to generate materials relevant for their qualifying exams.

Fundamental conversations and issues related to science education. Exploration of the important historical, social, and philosophical contexts that have, and continue to, define science education research. The study of how theoretical, epistemological, and pragmatic problems have been approached by communities of researchers will help the students understand, in broad terms, the nature of research in science education as well as offer a landscape for potential areas of inquiry and research programs in the field.

Research skills development for STEM Education. This course aims to synthesize prior coursework/research experience, focusing on methods and research questions, in preparation for students' main research project in Year 3. It also focuses on the development of skills to defend one's work and preparation for the written component of the student's qualifying exams. Students will develop essential experience/skills in designing research, reading research critically, writing scholarly work, and developing proposals for research funding. Students will give oral presentations on their research topics and plan of study for peer review


Research Activities

  • Computational Thinking Counts in Elementary Grades: Powerful STEM Teaching and Learning for the 21st Century - Funded by the National Science Foundation
  • Advancing Middle School Teachers’ Understanding of Proportional Reasoning for Teaching - Funded by Institute of Educational Sciences
  • Usable Measures of Teacher Understanding: Exploring Diagnostic Models and Topic Analysis as Tools for Assessing Proportional Reasoning for Teaching - Funded by the National Science Foundation


Research Interests

  • Teacher Knowledge of Proportions and Fractions
  • Development of Tools and Curriculum for Supporting Teacher Learning of Mathematics
  • Integration of Computational Thinking into Elementary Math Classrooms

Select publications

Weiland, T., Orrill, C. H., Nagar, G. G., Brown, R. E., & Burke, J. (2020).
Framing a robust understanding of proportional reasoning for teachers
Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education

Orrill, C. H., Copur-Gencturk, Y., Cohen, A., & Templin, J. (2020).
Revisiting purpose and conceptualization in the design of assessments for teachers of mathematics.
Research in Mathematics Education, 22, 209-224.

Brown, R. E., Weiland, T., & Orrill, C. H. (2019).
Mathematics teachers’ use of knowledge resources when identifying proportional situations
International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education, 18, 1085-1104.

Dr. Orrill holds a Ph.D. in Instructional Systems Technology from Indiana University. She joined the faculty at UMass Dartmouth in 2010 after serving as a Research Scientist at the University of Georgia for nearly a decade. Dr. Orrill has taught a wide variety of courses in the MAT program and the Mathematics Education and STEM Education PhD programs including: Math Methods for Middle School Teachers, Math Methods for High School Teachers, Introduction to Mathematics Education Research, Introduction to Science Education Research, Proportional Reasoning for Middle School Teachers, K-12 STEM Reform in a Political Context, Developing Research Skills Part 2, and Research on Teacher Education. She has two main research areas. First, she has been examining how middle school math teachers understand proportions and fractions, how we can use emerging assessment models to better understand teacher knowledge, and how we can create instructional materials to support teachers’ understandings. Second, she is interested in how to integrate computational thinking into elementary math classrooms. All of this work has been done in ongoing, long-term partnerships with schools and teachers. Dr. Orrill has published more than 80 journal articles, chapters, and published proceedings in venues that include Journal of Research for Mathematics Education, Mathematical Thinking and Learning, Educational Researcher, and Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education. She has also presented over 100 papers at national and international conferences. Dr. Orrill has also been awarded more than 25 grants with a net value in excess of $8 million.

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