Paul Cobb

Professional Title
About Me (Bio)
Paul Cobb is Professor of Mathematics Education at Vanderbilt University, where he holds the Peabody Chair in Teaching and Learning. His research interests focus on instructional design, issues of equity in mathematics teaching and learning, and the improvement of mathematics teaching on a large scale. He received the Hans Freudenthal Medal for a cumulative research program over the prior ten years from the International Commission on Mathematics Instruction in 2005, and the Sylvia Scribner Award from the American Educational Research Association in 2010 for research over the past ten years that contributes to our understanding of learning and instruction. He is an elected member of the National Academy of Education and an Invited Fellow of the Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences. A book edited by Erna Yackel, Koeno Gravemeijer, and Anna Sfard that describes the evolution of his research program was published in 2010: A Journey in Mathematics Education Research: Insights from the Research of Paul Cobb.
Citations of DRK-12 or Related Work (DRK-12 work is denoted by *)
  • Cobb, P., & Jackson, K. (2015).  Supporting teachers’ use of research-based instructional sequences.  ZDM – The International Journal of Mathematics Education, 47, 1027-1038.*
  • Maass, K., Cobb, P., Krainer, K., & Potari, D. (2019). Different ways to implement innovative teaching approaches at scale. Educational Studies in Mathematics, 102, 303-318.*
  • Gibbons, L., & Cobb, P. (2016). Content-focused coaching: Five key practices. Elementary School Journal, 117, 237-260.*
  • Cobb, P., Jackson, K., & Dunlap, C. (2017).  Conducting design studies to investigate and support mathematics students’ and teachers’ learning. In J. Cai (Ed.), First Compendium for Research in Mathematics Education (207-233). Reston, VA: National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.*
  • Henrick, E., Cobb, P., Penuel, W.R., Jackson, K., & Clark, T. (2017). Assessing research-practice partnerships: Five dimensions of effectiveness. New York: W. T. Grant Foundation.
Vanderbilt University

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.  

Vanderbilt University

The goals of this project are to 1) develop methods for analyzing data collected to document the institutional setting of mathematics teaching that are specific to equity and access for all middle school students to high quality mathematics instruction; and 2) develop an instrument for assessing the quality of mathematics instruction that focuses specifically on the extent to which all students are supported to substantially participate in academically rigorous mathematics.

Vanderbilt University

The goal of this project is to improve the implementation of rigorous instructional materials in middle-grades mathematics at scale through a system of practical measures and routines for collecting and using data that both assesses and supports implementation.

Vanderbilt University

This project is supporting and investigating the implementation of reformed mathematics instruction at the middle school level in two large school districts. The primary goal of the project is to develop an empirically grounded theory of action for implementing reform at school and district levels. The researchers are investigating reform within a coherent system that focuses on leadership and school-based professional development.