Associate Professor of Education, Program Director
Kasi Allen is a social justice educator who began her career nearly three decades ago as a high school mathematics teacher in San Francisco. Her professional work has taken a variety of forms: classroom teaching in California and Oregon, facilitating professional development nationwide, evaluating K-16 educational improvement efforts, studying systemic reform, supporting innovative teaching practices, mentoring new teachers, and advocating for educational equity. Her most current research involves the study of “math trauma.”
As a doctoral student at Stanford University, Kasi began collaborating with Inverness Research, Inc., a small research and consulting group dedicated to supporting educational improvement in grades K-16, particularly in math and science. From 1992 to 2008, she collaborated with her Inverness Research colleagues to study initiatives in communities across the nation. From district-based reform efforts to regional partnerships involving many school districts and institutions of higher education, she helped evaluate efforts to build local capacity as well as sustainable improvement infrastructure.
As a faculty member of Lewis & Clark’s Graduate School, Kasi is dedicated to providing rich, rewarding, relevant, and rigorous learning experiences for pre-service candidates that will prepare them to be “break the mold” mathematics teachers, dedicated to social justice. In addition to serving as the director and mathematics content area coordinate for the Secondary MAT program, Kasi also teaches a required algebra course in the Elementary MAT program.
Because she believes that valuable mathematics learning occurs both in and out of the classroom, Kasi has served every year since 2004 as a mentor, coach and/or volunteer for FIRST robotics. She sees FIRST as a valuable organization in improving K-16 STEM education nationwide. (See www.usfirst.org for more information.)
As associate professor of education and mathematics coordinator in the M.A.T. Middle Level/High School Program, Kasi leads Lewis & Clark’s efforts to train and prepare math educators for the region and beyond.
Learn about why she thinks math education is a civil right—and how Lewis & Clark is making a difference—in this video.
“A high quality, trauma-free mathematics learning experience is a civil right for all students. As we learn more about our brains and the extent to which negative emotions limit access to working memory, teachers of mathematics must adjust our pedagogy accordingly. This will necessitate creativity, risk, deep empathy for our students, and abandoning our traumatizing traditions.”
Areas of Expertise
middle-level/high school mathematics curriculum and instruction, K-16 STEM education reform, rural systemic change, urban systemic change, educational improvement networks, gender issues in mathematics education, implementation of innovative K-12 STEM curricula, problem solving, place-based education, teaching mathematics for social justice, math trauma.
Kasi’s research over the years has involved many different strategies for improving K-12 STEM education and making it more equitable — such as “place-based” curriculum and “student-centered” pedagogy. She has a particular interest in the role that identity plays in the mathematics education of children as well as adults. Her current scholarly work centers on research and theory building connected to “math trauma” – as distinguished from “math anxiety.”
- Allen, K. & Schnell, K. (March 2016). “Investing in Mathematics Identity.” Teaching Mathematics in the Middle School. National Council of Teachers of Mathematics: Reston, VA.
- Allen, K. (December 2015). “Social Justice Math Tasks.” The Oregon Mathematics Teacher. Oregon Council of Teachers of Mathematics: Portland, OR.
- Allen, K. (November 2015). “Problems Before Procedures: Systems of Equations.” Mathematics Teacher. National Council of Teachers of Mathematics: Reston, VA.
- Allen, K. (September 2013). “Geoboard Triangle Quest.” Mathematics Teacher. National Council of Teachers of Mathematics: Reston, VA.
- Allen, K. (February 2013). “Math-powered Robots: STEM in Motion! Teaching Mathematics in the Middle School. National Council of Teachers of Mathematics: Reston, VA.
- Allen, K. (November 2012). “Connecting Research to Practice: Key to Successful Group Work: Culture, Structure, Nurture.” Mathematics Teacher. National Council of Teachers of Mathematics: Reston, VA.
- Allen, K., B. Farrell, H. Kojis & K. White. (September 2012). “Index Cards: Tools for Equity in the Math Classroom.” The Oregon Mathematics Teacher. Oregon Council of Teachers of Mathematics: Portland, OR.
- Allen, K. (March 2012). “The Purple Milk Problem: Reasoning beyond Algebra.”Mathematics Teacher. National Council of Teachers of Mathematics: Reston, VA.
- Allen, K. (January 2012). “DO MATH and Share It!” The Oregon Mathematics Teacher (TOMT). Oregon Council of Teachers of Mathematics: Portland, OR.
- Allen, K. (2011). “Mathematics as Thinking: A Response to ‘Democracy and School Math’.” Democracy & Education, vol. 19/issue 2.
- Exposito, S. & Allen, K. (2011). “Powerful Practices in Mathematics for English Learners,” in Lessons for Strengthening Number Sense (RTI Resource Targeting Grade 4 Common Core State Standards (CCSS)). Portland, OR: Teacher-to-Teacher Publications.
- Allen-Fuller, K., Robinson, E. & Robinson, M. (2010). “Curriculum as Change Agent: High Schools that Dare and What They Stand to Gain,” Curriculum: Contemporary Issues in Mathematics Education (72nd Yearbook of the NCTM), eds. Reys, B.J. and Reys, R.E. Reston, VA: NCTM.
- Allen, K. (April 2016). “Math Trauma: What to Do When Math Hurts.” NCTM Annual Meeting, San Francisco.
- Allen, K. (November 2015). “Math Trauma: A Reality and A Challenge for All Teachers.” NCTM Regional Conference, Minneapolis, MN.
- Allen, K. (September 2015). “Math Trauma: Healing Our Classrooms, Our Students, and Our Discipline.” Oregon Mathematics Leaders Conference, Salem, OR.
- Allen, K. (November 2011). “Fostering Flexible Thinking in First-Year Algebra.” NCTM Regional Conference, Albuquerque, NM.
- Allen, K. (November 2011). “Making Groupwork Work.” NCTM Regional Conference, Albuquerque, NM.
- Allen, K. (November 2010). “Balancing Content and Pedagogy in Preservice Teachers’ Math Education.” NCTM Regional Conference, Denver, CO.
- Allen, K. (November 2010). “More Than One Way: Supporting Success for All in First-Year Algebra.” NCTM Regional Conference, Denver, CO.
Ph.D. 1997, B.A. 1986 Stanford University
From the Newsroom
Associate Professor of Education Kasi Allen published two articles in the national Mathematics Teacher journal this fall.
Professor Kasi Allen recently had an article published in The Oregon Mathematics Teacher journal, titled “Tablets in the High School Mathematics Classroom,” with one of our recent graduate of the MAT program, Meredith Wood, MAT ’13 — currently a 2nd year teacher at Inza Wood MS.
Professor Kasi Allen’s license plate says “DO MATH”—it’s an encouragement and a philosophy. Learn more how people have reacted to the plates and what it means to Dr. Allen.
Traditional grading methods, including giving zeros for late assignments and the 0 to 100 grade scale, can harm disadvantaged students enrolled in public schools throughout the nation. In a response to a question about grading in Parade Magazine’s “Ask Marilyn” column, Assistant Professor Kasi Allen argues for a new approaches that reward real learning.
New Common Core State Standards bring greater coherence to K-12 mathematics—but how are teachers adapting?