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. & Contreras Gullickson, E.A. (2018). Creating math communities in the neighborhood. The Lighthouse Almanac, 2(1), 31-36.


  2. Ntow, F. D., & Covington Clarkson, L.M. (2017). Should I stay or should I go? Persistence in postsecondary mathematics coursework. The Mathematics Educator, 26(2). Retrieved from


  3. Covington Clarkson, L. M., Ntow, F. D., Tackie, N. A. (2014). Negotiating the opportunity gap with a peer tutoring framework. International Journal of Science Commerce and Humanities, 2(8), 98-111.


  4. 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.



    Book Chapters


    Baldinger, E.E., Staats, S.K., Covington Clarkson, L.M., Contreras Gullickson, E.A., Norman, F., Akoto, B. (2019, submitted). Returning Voice to the ‘Silent M:’ A Review of Conceptions of Mathematics in Integrated STEM Education. In Integrated Approaches to STEM Education: An International Perspective. Springer.


  6. Covington Clarkson, L. M., Love, Q.U., & Ntow, F. D. (2017). How confidence relates to achievement: A new framework. Proceedings of the Ninth International Mathematics Education and Society Conference. (Volume 2, pp. 441 – 451). Volos, Greece: University of Thessaly Press.