Supporting Mathematics Teachers' Development of Ambitious and Equitable Instructional Practices on a Large Scale

Four DR K-12 projects report findings on the relationship between school and district supports and mathematics teachers’ development of ambitious and equitable instructional practices.

Date/Time: 
Thursday, December 2, 2010 - 2:00pm to 4:00pm
Panel

How can curriculum, professional development, and school and district organizational arrangements, social relations, and material resources be coordinated to support mathematics teachers' development of ambitious and equitable instructional practices?

In this session, four DR K–12 projects report findings on the relationship between school and district supports and mathematics teachers’ development of ambitious and equitable instructional practices. The objective of the session is to share findings about how the school and district settings in which mathematics teachers work can be organized to support their development of ambitious instructional practices (i.e., practices compatible with NCTM’s 2000 Standards). The PIs of these four projects will report for 20 minutes each on analyses related to this focus, followed by a 40-minute discussion with the audience. All four presentations (described below) suggest school and district supports (e.g., teacher networks, accountability relations) for the development of ambitious instructional practices at scale. 

Assessment of Induction and Mentorship (AIM) is a longitudinal study of beginning middle-school math teachers’ induction experiences. This presentation focuses on the relationship between organizational supports for math instruction—including mentoring, professional development, content-based collaboration, and leadership support—and the extent to which teachers implement conceptually-oriented math instruction, measured using the Instructional Quality Assessment (Junker et al., 2006). We report an analysis of teacher, mentor, and principal interviews and surveys, as well as classroom observations of participants, to examine the relationship between beginning teachers’ change in instructional quality over time as a function of organizational supports. 

Middle School Mathematics and the Institutional Setting of Teaching (MIST) is a longitudinal study of four large urban districts that are attempting to support ambitious instruction in middle-school mathematics. This presentation will report empirical analyses that compare school leaders', coaches', and teachers' actual practices with those envisioned by district leaders and specified in district policies. The analyses account for differences between intended policies and actual practices, and contribute to the researchers’ understanding of how district leadership, school instructional leadership, job-embedded professional development (including coaching and teacher learning communities), and curriculum frameworks can be organized to support teachers’ development of ambitious instructional practices. 

Equity and Access to High-Quality Instruction in Middle School Mathematics is a SGER project associated with MIST. The presentation will report on an analysis of school-level social relations associated with the development of ambitious and equitable instructional practices (i.e., all students can participate substantially in lessons). Findings indicate that a teacher is more likely to develop ambitious and equitable practices if he or she regularly interacts with colleagues who frame low-performance as a problem of teaching, not as an inherent characteristic of students, and if the teacher has access to at least one colleague who has developed the desired practices. 

Systematic Reform of Math and Science Education in Chicago is a retrospective study of 2002–2008 district efforts to improve instruction and student learning. Toward their goal, the district sponsored professional development on the use of standards-based curricula, in-school instructional support (i.e., coaching), and university courses on math and science content knowledge. The presentation will focus on a synthesis of several evaluation studies that indicate key conditions influencing successful implementation of middle grade math instruction. Analysis will be based on data from longitudinal case studies of schools, teacher and administrator interviews, classroom observations, and district records.