Specifying Equity in Practice: A Focus on Ambitious Mathematics and Science Teaching

Three projects report findings about supporting mathematics and science teachers’ development of ambitious teaching and focus analyses on equity perspectives related to students’ opportunities to learn.

PI-organized Discussion

In this session, presenters from three projects seek to elaborate teaching practices in mathematics and science that support the development of central mathematical or scientific ideas and result in significant learning opportunities for students. More specifically, they seek to ground a larger conversation about equity in mathematics and science education in the sharing of specific analyses of their work. All three presentations focus on supporting teachers’ development of ambitious (rigorous and equitable) instructional practices.

CAREER Centering the Teaching of Mathematics on Urban Youth is an integrated professional development and research project that collaborates with and studies the practices of mathematics teachers in high schools in low-income urban neighborhoods. This presentation describes the ways that teachers use (and do not use) contexts in their teaching of mathematics as well as the instructional practices that support the use of contexts. The analysis then unpacks the relationship between the low-income, urban context, teacher beliefs about “these” students, and the ways that teachers use contexts in their teaching of mathematics.

The goal of the Investigating and Supporting the Development of Ambitious and Equitable Mathematics Instruction at Scale project is to understand what it takes to support middle-grades mathematics teachers’ development of ambitious teaching at the scale of large urban districts. This presentation focuses on (a) the identification of a high-leverage practice—setting up cognitively demanding tasks to support all students’ productive engagement in the task; and (b) the design of professional development across role groups (teachers, math coaches, and principals) and contexts (school-based and district-based professional development) to support teachers’ development of this practice.

Tool Systems to Support Progress Toward Expert-Like Teaching by Early Career Science Educators is a project that supports novice teachers in developing a core set of four ambitious science teaching practices. Tools and specialized socio-professional routines support the development of a beginner’s repertoire of practice, which attends to the intellectual and social development of students’ ideas. This presentation features an analysis of “rigorous and responsive moves” novice teachers learn to use when working with secondary science students. The project team conceptualizes responsive teaching not just in terms of what a teacher does with students’ ideas, but rather how all members of the learning community are enabled to work toward the advancement of scientific explanations.