115E Miller

Research Interests

Equity Studies
Learning Sciences & Human Development
Qualitative Research Methods
Science & Mathematics
Teacher Education & Research

Kara Jackson

Associate Professor
I am a mathematics education researcher and teacher educator who aims to understand, and contribute to, the conditions in which youth and teachers flourish in mathematics classrooms. Given long-standing histories, policies, and practices of exclusion in mathematics, I focus especially on equity-oriented mathematics teaching—teaching that deliberately aims to enable historically excluded students to participate substantially in mathematics that is intellectually expansive, generative, and personally meaningful. I attend to what is important in classroom teaching, and how schools and districts can be better organized to support teachers’ development of equity-oriented mathematics teaching. My research is grounded in long-term partnerships with educators (e.g., teachers, coaches, and system leaders) as well as other researchers, and it has been supported by a National Academy of Education/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship, the Spencer Foundation, the National Science Foundation, and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

Current and Past Projects

  • Practical Measures, Routines, and Representations (PMRR): development of publicly available tools to support educators to engage in frequent and disciplined inquiry regarding the implementation of strategies that target the equity-oriented improvement of mathematics teaching and learning, especially at some scale.
  • Middle School Mathematics and the Institutional Setting of Teaching: identification of critical components of district and school systems that enhance and impede secondary mathematics teachers’ development of equity-oriented mathematics teaching; elaboration of equity-oriented secondary mathematics teaching, including forms of teaching practice and teachers' views of students that enable and constrain students' learning.  
PhD in Education, Culture, and Society; University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education
BA in Mathematics, Secondary Concentration in Education; Bates College
Courses Taught
Mathematics for Elementary Teachers (Undergraduate; EDUC 170)
Teaching and Learning in Numeracy (Elementary Teacher Education Program; EDTEP 521 & 522)
Qualitative Methods of Educational Research (Graduate; EDPSY 586 & 587)
Seminar in Analysis of Teaching (Graduate; EDC&I 595)
Foundations of Curriculum and Instruction (Graduate; EDC&I 503)

One line of inquiry makes visible key aspects of equity-oriented secondary mathematics teaching, including how teachers view and support their students as learners. I study teaching at a grain size that enables teachers to learn how to develop equity-oriented teaching, while upholding the principle that teaching is deeply relational and complex (i.e., without being reductive). 

A second line of inquiry elaborates critical components of district and school systems that enhance and impede secondary mathematics teachers’ development of equity-oriented mathematics teaching. See [MIST website;].

A third line of inquiry concerns the development of tools to support educators to engage in frequent and disciplined inquiry regarding the implementation of strategies that target the improvement of mathematics teaching and learning, especially at some scale. These tools take the form of “practical measures”, data visualizations, and social routines for administering the measures and analyzing the resulting data. [See PMR2 website;]



Cobb, P., Jackson, K., Henrick, E., Smith, T., & MIST Team. (2018). Systems for instructional improvement: Creating coherence from the classroom to the district office.  Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press.

Yasukawa, K., Rogers, A., Jackson, K., & Street, B.V. (Eds.) (2018). Numeracy as social practice: Global and local perspectives. Routledge: Oxon, UK.

Journal Articles & Chapters

Nieman, H., Jackson, K., Jarry-Shore, M., Borko, H., Kazemi, E., Chinen, S., Lenges, A., Yilmaz, Z., Haines, C. (2023). Using a practical measure to support inquiry into professional development facilitation. Mathematics Teacher Educator, 12(1), 70-83.

Takahashi, S., Jackson, K., Norman, J., Ing, M., & Krumm, A. (2022). Measurement for improvement. In D. Peurach, J. Russell, L. Cohen-Vogel, & W. R. Penuel (Eds.), The foundational handbook on improvement research in education (pp. 423 - 442). Rowman & Littlefield.

Nieman, H., Kochmanski, N., Jackson, K., Cobb, P., & Henrick, E. (2020). Student surveys inform and improve classroom discussion practices. Mathematics Teacher: Learning and Teaching PK – 12, 113(12), 91-99.

Jackson, K., Gibbons, L., & Sharpe, C.  (2017). Teachers’ views of students’ mathematical capabilities: Challenges and possibilities for ambitious reform. Teachers College Record, 119(7), p. - 

Wilhelm, A.G., Munter, C., & Jackson, K. (2017).  Examining relations between teachers’ diagnoses of sources of students’ difficulty in mathematics and students’ opportunities to learn. Elementary School Journal, 117(3), 345-370.

Jackson, K., Cobb, P., Wilson, J., Webster, M., Dunlap, C., & Appelgate, M. (2015). Investigating the development of mathematics leaders' capacity to support teachers' learning on a large scale. ZDM Mathematics Education, 47(1), 93-104.

Jackson, K., Garrison, A., Wilson, J., Gibbons, L., & Shahan, E. (2013). Exploring relationships between setting up complex tasks and opportunities to learn in concluding whole-class discussions in middle-grades mathematics instruction. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 44(4), 646-682. Click here to listen to a podcast about this research.

Jackson, K., Shahan, E., Gibbons, L., & Cobb, P. (2012). Launching complex tasks. Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School, 18(1), 24-29.

Cobb, P., & Jackson, K. (2012). Analyzing educational policies: A learning design perspective. The Journal of the Learning Sciences, 21(4), 487-521.

Jackson, K. (2011). Approaching participation in school-based mathematics as a cross-setting phenomenon. The Journal of the Learning Sciences, 20(1), 111-150.

Jackson, K. (2009). The social construction of youth and mathematics: The case of a fifth grade classroom. In D.B. Martin (Ed.), Mathematics teaching, learning, and liberation in the lives of Black children (pp. 175-199). New York: Routledge.


Prior to UW

Prior to joining the University of Washington College of Education, I was an assistant professor of mathematics education at McGill University in Montréal, Québec, and a post-doctoral research fellow at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. I began my career teaching secondary mathematics in Vanuatu as a Peace Corps volunteer, and I was a mathematics specialist who supported both youth and their families for the Say Yes to Education Foundation in Philadelphia.