The goal of the project is to understand the current conditions, challenges, and resources that pertain to mathematics education in rural areas in the United States.
This project establishes a statewide teacher-researcher alliance of mathematics teachers and teacher leaders in Idaho, who will work with teacher educators at two universities with expertise in professional development and school-based research. The research focuses on two research-based strategies for improving students’ mathematics achievement. The first, Explicit Attention to Concepts, draws students’ attention specifically to the meaning of mathematical ideas while making connections between different ways to represent the content. The second, Students’ Opportunities to Struggle, helps students make sense of graspable new concepts through supported problem solving with peers, highlighting ways to overcome confusion, stimulate personal sense-making, build perseverance, and promote openness to challenge.
This project will create a fully online video-based model for mathematics teacher professional development focused on supporting mathematics coaches in rural contexts, building on the investigators' previous work focused on online professional learning opportunities for mathematics teachers in rural contexts. Results from the previous project focused on rural teachers and their coaches show that the professional development model increased connections between what teachers notice about student thinking and broader principles of teaching and learning, that teachers were able to enact stronger levels of ambitious mathematics instruction, and that teachers who received coaching showed a stronger focus on math content and instructional practice. This extension of the model to coaches includes an online content-focused coaching course, cycles of one-on-one video-based coaching, and an online video club to analyze coaching practice. The video clubs will be structured as a graduated model that will begin with facilitation by mentor coaches and move into coach participants facilitating their own sessions.