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Portfolio Examination for MM Program

Starting in Fall 2019, new students in the Master of Mathematics (MM) program will be required to complete their required final examination with a portfolio examination.  Current students will have a choice between the traditional comprehensive examination and the portfolio option.

Required Components

1. Current Resume

2. Statement of Teaching Philosophy

3. Evidence of Breadth and Depth of Mathematical Content Knowledge

4. Reflection on Professional Growth

Because a portfolio documents the knowledge and abilities of unique individuals, no two portfolios will be exactly the same.  A portfolio can include a range of different types of documents detailed in the subsections below. In general, a portfolio should focus on quality rather than quantity, making sure to address the requirements for each component.

Current Resume

This should be the actual resume that MM students would use to seek employment as they move onto the next phase of their careers.

Statement of Teaching Philosophy

This statement should be written in a way so that graduating MM students may use it for an academic job application, following the UTK Teaching and Learning Innovation guide on “Creating a Memorable Teaching Philosophy Statement.”  Specifically, the teaching philosophy should:

  1. Include a reflection on past teaching and learning experiences,
  2. Provide an answer to at least two of the following:
    • What gives teaching meaning to me? Why?
    • What do I want my students to achieve? Why?
    • What do/would I do to help my students achieve my goals for them? Why?
    • What tools do/would I use to verify that students have achieved my goals for them? Why?
    • What tools do/would I use to verify that I am teaching well? Why?
    • What types of inclusive learning experiences do/would I create for my students? How do I know they are inclusive?
    • What is the evidence that my students are achieving the goals I have set for them?
    • How do I want to grow as a teacher?
  3. Be written with clarity and conciseness (maximum 2 pages).

Evidence of Breadth and Depth of Mathematical Content Knowledge

This section should include a list of all courses in the student’s program of study and the semester in which the student took the course.  This can be formatted with a table like the example below:

Course Number and Name Semester
Math 505: Analysis for Teachers Fall 2018
Math 506: Algebra for Teachers Summer 2019
Math 400: History of Math Fall 2019
…  … 

In addition, this section should include representative coursework from at least five different courses taken during for the MM degree, three of which must be from the core MM course list (currently 504, 505, 506, 507).  Examples can include a combination of:

    1. Homework assignments
    2. Course examinations
    3. Projects or papers
    4. Reflections
    5. Coursework samples should indicate depth of knowledge by including mathematical rigor (proofs or precise computations) and/or short explanations of mathematical significance (as necessary).

Reflection on Professional Growth

This reflection should focus on how the student has grown through the MM program in 2 pages.  It should include some or all of the following elements:

    1. Student education background,
    2. Work experience,
    3. Connections between MM courses,
    4. Goals when enrolling in the MM program,
    5. Work completed during the MM program to attain those goals, and
    6. Professional objectives for the future.

Format of the Portfolio

Since the MM program is online, the portfolio examination will be submitted electronically as one PDF.  The free, open-source, and cross-platform desktop application PDF Split and Merge Basic (PDFsam) can be used to compile the document.  A title page, table of contents, section pages, and page numbers are required.  The portfolio should be typed.  See current MM Portfolio Examination Template.  

Evaluation Criteria

Portfolios will be evaluated by three faculty (the student’s advisor and MM Curriculum Committee members) using this Portfolio Examination Rubric.  Each portfolio exam will be rated as “pass” or “revise” by each of the three faculty. The overall portfolio exam is considered passing if at least two of the three deem that the portfolio examination receives a passing grade.



Students should make sure they adhere to the Graduate School deadlines for forms (look at the Master’s Non-Thesis Program deadlines).

The portfolio examination deadline is five weeks before the “Report of Final Exam (Pass/Fail) Form” is due for the Graduate School.  Within this time frame, the committee of three faculty will have two weeks to evaluate the portfolios.  If major revisions are needed to pass, the committee will immediately inform the student, who will turn in their revisions within one week.

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