For Students, Faculty, and Staff: MyU One Stop


Lesa Clarkson

Associate Professor
STEM Education Center
320 J Learning and Environmental Sciences Building
1954 Buford Avenue
St. Paul, Minnesota 55108

Ph.D. University of Minnesota
mathematics education

Areas of Interest

My research agenda focuses on mathematics in the urban classroom, specifically identifying successful strategies that increase student achievement primarily among underrepresented student groups. Currently, my research is centered around the eighth grade algebra requirement in Minnesota.

Research Interests

The foundation of my research agenda is mathematics in urban classrooms. This interest evolved from my initial study which examined a middle school reform mathematics curriculum to determine if mathematics achievement, as determined by the state standardized assessments, is increasing particularly among under represented students. African American students, specifically, are included in the group because historically this group of students has the lowest scores on the national and state assessments. My personal belief is that the color of a student’s skin is not correlated to their achievement in mathematics. This belief has generated two foci that are intertwined with mathematics in urban classrooms: (1) successful strategies that increase student achievement (as demonstrated by the MCA in mathematics) and (2) reducing the achievement gap between students who have “rich, meaningful” mathematics experiences and those students whose mathematics experiences are less than desirable.

The achievement gap is especially problematic in urban classrooms. My research examines best practices that will provide all students with engaging mathematics experiences in addition to the basic “tools” that are essential for students to use in the actual engagement phase.

Selected Publications

  1. Covington Clarkson, L.M. & Robinson Johnstone, J. (2011). When the African-centered paradigm is not enough: Lessons from an urban charter school. Journal of Negro Education 80(2), 108 – 120.

  2. Lawrenz, F., Thomas, K. Huffman, D., & Covington Clarkson, L.M. (2011). Evaluation Capacity Building in the Schools: Administrator-led and Teacher-led Perspectives. Canadian Journal of Program Evaluation, 23(3), 61 – 82.

  3. Chahine, I. & Covington Clarkson, L.M. (2010). Improving instruction through an inquiry model: A case study of elementary mathematics teachers. Journal of Urban Mathematics Education, 3(1), 82 – 97.

  4. Covington Clarkson, L.M. (2008). Demographic data and immigrant achievement. Theory into Practice, 47(1), 20 – 26.

  5. Covington Clarkson, L.M. (2007). Building confidence with calculators. Educational Leadership, 65(3), 72 – 73.

  6. Covington Clarkson, L.M., Robelia, B., Chahine, I., Fleming, M., Lawrenz, F., (2007). Rulers of different colors: Inquiry into measurement. Teaching Children Mathematics, 14(1), 34 – 39. 

  7. Covington Clarkson, L.M. & Taylor, R. (2005). Mathematical leadership needed to close achievement gaps. Journal of Mathematics Education Leadership, 8(2), 4 – 5.

  8. Covington Clarkson, L.M. & Seashore Louis, K. (in press). Leadership for curriculum change: Principals engaged in “closing the gap”. In A. Danzig (Ed.), Curriculum Leadership. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

  9. Huffman, D., Lawrenz, F., Thomas, K. & Covington Clarkson, L.M. (in press). Collaborative evaluation communities in urban schools: A model of evaluation capacity building in STEM education. New Directions in Evaluation.

  10. Covington Clarkson, L. (2002). Correlation to NCATE and INTASC. In B. R. Bridges & L. Covington Clarkson, Praxis Guide for Slavin, (pp.40 -74). New York: Allyn and Bacon.

  11. Covington Clarkson, L.M. (2001). Sufficiently challenged: A family’s pursuit of a Ph.D. In R. Obakeng and A.L. Green (Eds.), Sisters of the Academy, (pp 160-173). Sterling, VA: Stylus Publications.