Professional Development

Math Pathways and Pitfalls: Capturing What Works for Anytime Anyplace Professional Development

Math Pathways & Pitfalls lessons for students boost mathematics achievement for diverse students, including English Learners, English Proficient students, and Latino students. This project develops modules that increase teachers’ capacity to employ the effective and equitable principles of practice embodied by Math Pathways & Pitfalls and apply these practices to any mathematics lesson. This four-year project develops, field tests, and evaluates 10 online professional development modules.

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
0918834
Funding Period: 
Tue, 09/15/2009 to Fri, 08/31/2012
Full Description: 

Researchers and developers at WestEd are developing, field-testing, and evaluating ten online professional development modules anchored in research-based teaching principles and achievement-boosting mathematics materials. The modules provide interactive learning opportunities featuring real classroom video demonstrations, simulations, and scaffolded implementation. The professional development module development builds on the Math Pathways and Pitfalls instructional modules for elementary and middle school students developed with NSF support. The professional development provided through the use of these modules is web-based (rather than face-to-face), is provided in chunks during the school year and immediately applied in the classroom (rather than summer professional development and school year application), and explicitly models ways to apply key teaching principles to regular mathematics lessons (rather than expecting teachers to extract and apply principles spontaneously).

The project studies the impact of the modules on teaching practice with an experimental design that involves 20 treatment teachers and 20 control teachers. Data are gathered from teacher questionnaires, classroom observations, and post-observation interviews.

Researching the Expansion of K-5 Mathematics Specialist Program into Rural School Systems

This project addresses the challenge “How can promising innovations be successfully implemented, sustained, and scaled in schools and districts in a cost effective manner?” Project partners are researching the expansion of an established preparation and induction support program for K-5 mathematics specialists into rural school systems.

Partner Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
0918223
Funding Period: 
Tue, 09/01/2009 to Wed, 08/31/2011
Project Evaluator: 
Horizon Research Inc.

Designing Learning Organizations for Instructional Improvement in Mathematics

MIST is a five-year study of four large, urban districts implementing ambitious mathematics reform initiatives in the middle grades.  The study uses a mixed-methods research design to investigate how changes in the school and district settings in which mathematics teachers work influence their instructional practices, students' learning opportunities, and student achievement.  

Project Email: 
Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
0554535
Funding Period: 
Thu, 06/01/2006 to Tue, 05/31/2011
Full Description: 

The research base on supporting mathematics teachers' development of ambitious instructional practices at scale is thin in both mathematics education and in policy and leadership.

Funding agencies including NSF have invested heavily in ambitious agendas for teacher professional development in mathematics. Prior large-scale improvement efforts that have attempted to penetrate the instructional core of the classroom have rarely produced lasting changes in teachers’ instructional practices (Elmore, 2004; Gamoran et al., 2003).

This project is designed to examine the institutional settings in which the classroom is situated (i.e. the district and school environment) with the goal of supporting teacher professional development and causing lasting change in instruction at the classroom level.

Prior NSF-funded initiatives made an important contribution by focusing on a singleaspect of the institutional settings in which mathematics teachers develop and revise their instructional practices: either 1) Principals’ knowledge of mathematics and their beliefs about mathematics teaching and learning; 2) The content, pedagogical, and diagnostic knowledge necessary for leaders to assist mathematics teachers effectively; or 3) Districts’ use of instructional guidance tools such as pacing guidelines and alignment charts.

Our primary goal in this project is to investigate, test, and refine a set of conjectures regarding the support structures needed to enhance the impact of professional development on mathematics teachers’ instructional practices and thus student achievement. In addressing this goal, we will take a comprehensive view of the institutional setting of mathematics teaching rather than focusing on a single aspect. 

The support structures on which we will focus include 1) Teacher learning communities and informal networks, 2) Shared vision for mathematics instruction (as indicated by use of a common language for talking about mathematics instruction, presence of brokers who can bridge perspectives, and compatible interpretations of key boundary objects such as instructional materials and state standards and assessments), 3) Distribution of instructional leadership across formal and informal leaders, 4) Reciprocal accountability between teachers and instructional leaders (as indicated by alignment of assistance and accountability and access to key resources such as coherent instructional guidance instruments), and 5) Depth of instructional leaders’ understanding of mathematics, the instructional program, and the challenges of using it effectively.

We will investigate our conjectures by employing a mixed methods design that involves both a formal hypothesis-testing component and design research component. We will work in four urban school districts over four years. The data we will collect or document includes: 1) The institutional setting of teaching (i.e., the above support structures), 2) Teachers’ instructional practices and content knowledge for teaching, 3) The professional development activities in which teachers participate, 4) Formal and informal leaders’ instructional leadership practices, and 5) Student achievement.

The overall product of the two components will be a framework for guiding, monitoring, and assessing school and district-wide institutional improvement in mathematics. This Institutional Improvement Framework will identify the support structures that our findings document are important, explain why they are important and under what conditions, clarify how they are interdependent, and illustrate how their development can be accomplished.

Collaborative Online Projects for ELL Students (COPELLS)

This project is studying effects of linguistically sensitive science instructional materials by translating, enhancing, and evaluating culturally relevant and linguistically appropriate Collaborative Online Projects (originally written in Spanish) for middle school Spanish-speaking English Language Learners.

Project Email: 
Lead Organization(s): 
Partner Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
0918832
Funding Period: 
Tue, 09/01/2009 to Sat, 08/31/2013
Project Evaluator: 
Kari Nelsestuen
Full Description: 

Project COPELLS is a research and development project implemented by University of Oregon's Center for Advanced Technology in Education (CATE) and the Instituto Latinamericano de la Communicacion Educativa (ILCE). ILCE is a division of the Department of Education in Mexico that designs relevant collaborative online projects (COPs) for students K through 12.

 

Project COPELLS has selected, translated, and enhanced culturally relevant and linguistically appropriate COPs designed by ILCE to teach science to middle school, Spanish-speaking, English Language Learners. These COPs were aligned to both National Science Education Standards and Oregon secondary science standards by Oregon State Department of Education Science Curriculum educators. In addition, they were enhanced with supportive resources (etext supports) that promote bilingual use of the materials and increase science literacy in both English and Spanish.

 

The Center for Advanced Technology in Education has research-based experience enriching online reading materials with content-specific multimedia supports designed to scaffold text comprehension and content learning for struggling students. Specific etext supports identified as potentially useful for this population include: alternative text, audio, and video definitions of terms, translations, and enhanced illustrations that become available only when clicked to open by the reader.

 

The project's two major goals are to (a) facilitate and improve science content-area learning for Spanish-speaking ELL students and (b) facilitate their acquisition of Academic English while learning science content. Feasibility and usability of the Collaborative Online Projects is being classroom tested. The project is gathering information on the impact of the bilingual online science materials for improving science content-area learning, student attitude toward scientific learning, student and teacher satisfaction, and science academic language proficiency (ALP) of ELL students.

 

Key people:
Dr. Carolyn Knox, Principal Investigator
Dr. Kenneth Doxsee, Co-Principal Investigator
Dr. Fatima Terrazas-Arellanes, Co-Principal Investigador
Dr. Patricia Cabrera Muñoz, ILCE Partner

TECT: Teaching Engineering to Counselors and Teachers

This project is developing, testing, and evaluating a diversity-enhanced, STEM-based, professional development workshop for high school teachers and career guidance counselors. The project team is developing educational materials and running workshops that focus on pedagogical methods for incorporating hands-on activities into STEM classrooms in order to expose all students to technology and engineering. The long-term goal is to broaden and increase the diversity of students entering engineering-based college degree programs.

Award Number: 
0554405
Funding Period: 
Mon, 05/01/2006 to Fri, 04/30/2010

Science Literacy through Science Journalism (SciJourn)

This project aims to develop, pilot, and evaluate a model of instruction that advances the scientific literacy of high school students by involving them in science journalism, and to develop research tools for assessing scientific literacy and engagement. We view scientific literacy as public understanding of and engagement with science and technology, better enabling people to make informed science-related decisions in their personal lives, and participate in science-related democratic debates in public life.

 

Project Email: 
Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
0822354
Funding Period: 
Mon, 09/01/2008 to Fri, 08/31/2012
Project Evaluator: 
Brian Hand, University of Iowa
Full Description: 

For a more in-depth look at Scijourn, visit the project spotlight.

CAREER: Work Contexts, Teacher Learning Opportunities, and Mathematics Achievement of Middle School Students

This CAREER proposal has four objectives: 1) examine the nature of mathematics teachers' learning opportunities for instructional improvement, 2) examine how work contexts influence the quality of teacher learning opportunities, 3) examine the impact of teacher learning opportunities on changes in student mathematics achievement over four years, and 4) work with district and school administrators to promote instructional improvement and student achievement by effectively providing learning opportunities to mathematics teachers.

Lead Organization(s): 
Partner Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
1305150
Funding Period: 
Sat, 12/15/2012 to Mon, 06/30/2014
Full Description: 

This CAREER proposal has four objectives: 1) examine the nature of mathematics teachers' learning opportunities for instructional improvement, 2) examine how work contexts influence the quality of teacher learning opportunities, 3) examine the impact of teacher learning opportunities on changes in student mathematics achievement over four years, and 4) work with district and school administrators to promote instructional improvement and student achievement by effectively providing learning opportunities to mathematics teachers. The PI will conduct a statewide survey of 1,047 mathematics teachers in 201 middle schools and their 35,304 students in grades 6-8 throughout the state of Missouri.

This project was originally funded under award # 0746936.

Developing an Integrated Assessment and Support System for Elementary Teacher Education

The project team is developing, implementing and evaluating a prototype for an integrated assessment system in elementary teacher education in mathematics. The project is documenting both the development of the student teachers in the practice of teaching mathematics to students from diverse backgrounds and of cooperating teachers and field instructors as they learn to analyze the practice of the student teachers and provide feedback.

Project Email: 
Lead Organization(s): 
Partner Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
0554416
Funding Period: 
Sat, 07/15/2006 to Wed, 06/30/2010

Supports for Learning to Manage Classroom Discussions: Exploring the Role of Practical Rationality and Mathematical Knowledge for Teaching

This project focuses on practicing and preservice secondary mathematics teachers and mathematics teacher educators. The project is researching, designing, and developing materials for preservice secondary mathematics teachers that enable them to acquire the mathematical knowledge and situated rationality central to teaching, in particular as it regards the leading of mathematical discussions in classrooms.

Award Number: 
0918425
Funding Period: 
Tue, 09/01/2009 to Fri, 08/31/2018
Project Evaluator: 
Miriam Gamoran Sherin
Full Description: 

Researchers at the Universities of Michigan and Maryland are developing materials to survey the rationality behind secondary mathematics teaching practice and to support the development by secondary mathematics preservice teachers of specialized knowledge and skills for teaching. The project focuses on the leading of classroom discussions for the learning of algebra and geometry.

Using animations of instructional scenarios, the project is developing online, multimedia questionnaires and using them to assess practicing teachers' mathematical knowledge for teaching and their evaluations of teacher decision making. Reports and forum entries from the questionnaires are integrated into a learning environment for prospective teachers and their instructors built around these animated scenarios. This environment allows pre-service teachers to navigate, annotate, and communicate about the scenarios; and it allows their instructors to plan using those scenarios and share experiences with their counterparts.

The research on teachers' rationality uses an experimental design with embedded one-way ANOVA, while the development of the learning environment uses a process of iterative design, implementation, and evaluation. The project evaluation by researchers at Northwestern University uses qualitative methods to examine the content provided in the environment as well as the usefulness perceived by teacher educators of a state network and their students.

The Impact of Online Professional Development: An Experimental Study of Professional Development Modalities Linked to Curriculum

This project is designed to enhance understanding of how online professional development environments contribute to teach learning, changes in classroom practice and changes in student learning in comparison to face-to-face professional development. Using secondary school teachers learning to use a reformed-oriented environmental science curriculum, groups of teachers will be randomly assigned to one of three conditions: (1) traditional face-to-face workshop, (2)self-guided online professional development, or (3)online “short course” professional development guided by a facilitator.

Project Email: 
Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
0455582
Funding Period: 
Fri, 07/01/2005 to Thu, 06/30/2011

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