Measuring the Effects of a School-Based, Data-Driven Professional Learning Model for Raising Secondary Mathematics Achievement

This project is designing and implementing a professional development model that uses data from the Surveys of Enacted Curriculum (SEC) to improve mathematics instruction at the high school level.

Project Evaluator: 
WestEd
Full Description: 

The Surveys of Enacted Curriculum Professional Development Model (SECPDM) project, at RMC Research Corporation in Oregon, is designing and implementing a professional development model that uses data from the Surveys of Enacted Curriculum (SEC) to improve mathematics instruction at the high school level. Teachers participating in the professional development work together at the school level to learn how to use the data gathered through the SEC to align their curriculum with state and district standards. The teachers work in professional development communities within schools to better understand the content embedded in curriculum materials and assessments, and to be able to use that understanding to improve their daily instruction.

The SEC collects data from K-12 teachers of mathematics, science, and English language arts on course content and instructional practices. Using this data, one can determine the alignment between instruction in a specific school and state standards or assessments. Efforts to use the SEC data for school improvement have been hampered by two key constraints: (1) The survey is lengthy and not easy to complete and (2) The results provide a year-end summary that does not reach teachers in time to adjust instruction for the current year. The SECPDM project is designing a teacher log system in which teachers enter brief reports more frequently and get useful feedback throughout the year. The project is also designing and conducting professional development that will help teachers learn to use the data and feedback to align their instruction with state standards, and it is helping teachers build professional development communities within their schools. This project includes teachers in Ohio, New York, and Oregon. The project is conducting a quasi-experimental research study to test the hypothesis that if a critical mass of mathematics teachers collaboratively implements the professional development plan, then (1) the mathematics courses will be better articulated and aligned with state standards and assessments, (2) teachers will improve their instructional practices, and (3) student achievement in mathematics will increase.

The SECPDM project has the potential to improve the use of the Survey of Enacted Curriculum (SEC) by making the data entry process easier for teachers and the survey data more useful. By piloting this model of professional development and analyzing their findings, the project is making a significant step towards improving the alignment of the mathematics curriculum in high schools, helping teachers use the SEC data to inform instruction, and improving student achievement in mathematics.

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