Faculty Profile EMPHASIS AREA: MTH. Elementary Education; Gender and Equity Issues in Mathematics Education; In-Service and Preservice Teacher Learning; Mathematics Education

Rebecca Ambrose


Portrait of Rebecca Ambrose

After teaching middle school math for ten years, I decided to pursue a PhD to get a fresh perspective on the issues I observed every day in my classroom and thought that maybe I could help develop remedies that would help other teachers, as well.

Rebecca Ambrose researches how children solve mathematics problems and works with teachers to apply what she has learned about the informal strategies children employ to differentiate and improve instruction in math. She credits her approach to a method called Cognitively Guided Instruction, founded by Thomas Carpenter and Elizabeth Fenneman in the 1980s at the University of Wisconsin.

Research Interests

Elementary Education; Gender and equity issues in mathematics education; In-service and preservice teacher learning; Mathematics education


Ph.D. – University of Wisconsin, Madison – 1998

Awards and Honors

Current Activities and Service

  • Chair, School of Education Admissions and Fellowships Committee.

Funded Research

Strategic Alliance of Robla/UCD/SCOE, $273,127
Funded By: California Post-Seconday Education Commission
2007 – 2011
Provide and research professional development with a focus on children’s mathematical thinking to teachers of kindergarten - second grade.

Select Publications

Ambrose, Rebecca and Alexander, Cathleen. (August 2010). “Digesting Student-Authored Story Problems.” Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School. National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, 16, (1),  27-33.

Ambrose, R. & Kenehan, G.(2009). Children’s Evolving Understanding of Polyhedra in the Classroom. Mathematical Thinking and Learning, 11(3), 158-176.

Jacobs, V. & Ambrose, R. (2008). Making the Most of Story Problems. Teaching Children Mathematics, 15(5): 260–265.

Philipp, R., Ambrose, R., Lamb, L., Sowder, J., Schappelle, B., Sowder, L. & Thanheiser, E. (2007). Effects of early field experiences on the mathematical content knowledge and beliefs of prospective elementary school teachers. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 38, 5, 438–476.

Ambrose, R. (2004). Initiating change in prospective elementary school teachers orientations to mathematics by building on beliefs. Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education, 7, 91–119.


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