Models of Professional Development for Mathematics Teachers

This project is conducting a comprehensive study of professional development models designed for mathematics teachers in grades K-12. The research team will identify key constructs and frameworks within professional development programs and identify types of professional development models. The goals of the project are to encourage researchers and professional developers to reconceptualize mathematics professional development, develop a shared language, and renew discussions on effective professional development for teachers of mathematics.

Partner Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
1019934
Funding Period: 
August 15, 2010 to July 31, 2012
Full Description: 

The Models of Professional Development for Mathematics Teachers project is conducting a comprehensive study of professional development models designed for mathematics teachers in grades K-12. The research team will identify key constructs and frameworks within professional development programs and identify types of professional development models. The goals of the project are to encourage researchers and professional developers to reconceptualize mathematics professional development, develop a shared language, and renew discussions on effective professional development for teachers of mathematics. The project team includes faculty and students at North Carolina State University and a research scientist at American Institutes for Research. The project team is coding and analyzing descriptive data on mathematics professional development (MPD) gathered from studying mathematics teacher education research literature. They are also conducting interviews with authors of the studies they have identified. The project is investigating the general question: What are the various models used by mathematics teacher educators when designing and implementing mathematics professional development? Specifically, they are asking: 1. What are similarities and differences across goals, theoretical frameworks, contexts and structures that exist in the design of MPD offered to K-12 teachers? 2. How does the field name and define various characteristics of MPD? 3. How can the characteristics of the various MPD designs be grouped into meaningful models? What are the main elements that define these models? The researchers hope that their efforts to describe models of professional development will help educators to move away from professional development designed around a few salient features and move toward professional development models that contain a theoretical framework and coherent features that work together. They want professional developers and researchers to use a common language to study and assess professional development. Their analysis of existing professional development projects in mathematics teaching will offer the following outcomes: 1. An empirically established definition of characteristics and models of MPD, with explanations of the various elements that comprise these models. 2. A coding protocol for use in the classification of MPD models and the organization of current information about existing MPD. 3. A theoretical framework for organizing knowledge about MPD that can foster new ways to think about these models in the design of innovative MPD for teachers. 4. A set of research-related innovations such as new hypotheses for studying MPD, new approaches to testing the explanatory and predictive validity of various features of professional development, and new formats for describing the state of the art in MPD. 5. Concepts that can support a revision of what is meant by best practices or effective features of MPD. 6. An open-source, web-based, searchable database with descriptions of various MPD. This exploratory project will provide an opportunity for the mathematics education field to learn more about professional development and approaches to conducting research on professional development.

Project Materials

There is no content in this group.