Designing schools and districts to support mathematics teachers ongoing learning
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Designing Schools and Districts to Support Mathematics Teachers’ Ongoing Learning. Paul Cobb, Thomas Smith, Kara, Jackson, Erin Henrick , et al. Project Overview. What does it take to support mathematics teachers ’ development of ambitious forms of instruction on a large scale?

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Designing Schools and Districts to Support Mathematics Teachers’ Ongoing Learning

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Designing Schools and Districts to Support Mathematics Teachers’ Ongoing Learning

Paul Cobb, Thomas Smith, Kara, Jackson, Erin Henrick, et al.


Project Overview

  • What does it take to support mathematics teachers’ development of ambitious forms of instruction on a large scale?

  • Four large urban districts

    • Middleschool + inquiry oriented instruction

  • What does it take to support a high-quality implementation of CMP2?

    • Long-term goal: Theory of action for district-wide instructional improvement in mathematics


Project Overview

  • October: Document districts’ improvement strategies

    • Interview district leaders

  • January – March: Document how districts’ strategies are actually playing out in schools and classrooms

    • 6-10 middle-grades schools in each district

      30 mathematics teachers


Project Overview

  • Interviews - teachers, coaches, school leaders, and district leaders

  • On-line survey - teachers, coaches, school leaders

  • LMT – teachers and coaches

  • Video-recordings of two consecutive mathematics lessons

  • Video-recordings of pull-out teacher professional development

  • Audio-recordings of teacher collaborative planning meetings

  • On-line network survey – all mathematics teachers


Project Overview

  • February – April: Analyze the interviews to assess and explain how improvement strategies are playing out

  • May: Present feedback report to districts

    • Actionable recommendations

  • Co-designers with district leaders

    • Design experiment

    • Formal hypothesis testing


Coherent Instructional System

  • Explicit goals for students’ mathematical learning

  • Goals for teachers’ learning – concrete instructional practices

  • Instructional materials, pacing guides, curriculum frameworks, etc. designed to support teachers’ development of the above practices

  • Pull-out teacher PD that focuses on the specific practices, is organized around the above materials, and is sustained over time

  • Teacher collaborative time that centers on practices that have been the focus of work in pull-out PD

  • Assessments that inform:

    • Ongoing improvement of mainstream instruction

    • Identification of students who are currently struggling and require additional support


Teacher Networks

  • Doing mathematics problems together with discussion of different solution strategies

  • Discussing different ways students are likely to solve tasks

  • Discussing why some students didn’t learn as expected in a lesson in order to plan for future instruction

  • Analyzing examples of student work in order to adjust instruction

  • Analyzing examples of student work to understand the different ways that students solve problems

  • Discussing how to make use of student solution strategies in whole class mathematical discussions

  • Discussing pacing

  • Analyzing student work to see if students “got it”

  • Discussing what materials to sue for a lesson

  • After a lesson, sharing whether students “got it”

  • Sharing materials or activities

  • Updating one another on a student or students’ progress in mathematics

  • Other (please specify)


Selection of Colleagues

  • Teacher networks are emergent phenomena

  • Districts can develop policies to influence the conditions in which networks emerge

  • Regularly scheduled time for collaboration


Selection of Colleagues

  • Future analyses:

    • Formal role, grade level, physical proximity, gender, race/ethnicity, peer’s expertise

    • Measures of expertise: IQA, LMT, HQMI, SMC

  • What influences depth of interactions about instruction?


Influence of Interactions on Knowledge and Practice

  • Interactions with colleagues whose MKT deeper supports significant improvements in own MKT

  • Interactions with colleagues whose instructional practices are more sophisticated supports significant improvements in own practices

  • Future analyses:

    • Relationship between types of interactions and forms of expertise


Mathematics Coaches

  • Mathematics coach in each middle school

    • Half-time release from teaching

  • Only slightly more advanced than the teachers they are expected to support

    • Extensive professional development

    • CMP2 + Cognitive Coaching


Mathematics Coaches

  • Extent to which teachers turn to the coach for advice influenced by:

    • Perception of coach’s experience as a teacher

    • Regularly scheduled time to for the coach to work with groups of teachers


Mathematics Coaching

  • Coach’s relationship with principal

    • Could describe coach’s role in assisting teachers in detail

    • Attend collaborative planning meetings

    • Extensive observations of teachers’ instruction

  • Shared responsibility for instructional improvement


School Leaders

  • A wide range of views on what school leaders need to know and be able to do:

    • MKT, student mathematical learning, high-quality mathematics instruction, teacher learning

      • Coach mathematics teachers

    • General principles of high-quality inquiry-oriented instruction

      • Observe and provide feedback


School Leaders

  • Interviews – vision of high-quality mathematics instruction

    • Form rather than function views

    • Consistent with teachers’ reports of the feedback they receive from school leaders

  • Extensive professional development

    • Focused on general, content-free characteristics of high-quality instruction


School Leaders

  • 3 half-day sessions

    • Distinguish between high and low cognitive demand mathematics tasks

    • Distinguish between high- and low- quality class discussions

    • Collaborate with district mathematics coaches to develop school plans for supporting teachers’ learning


District Leaders

  • Common agenda for mathematics teaching and learning across district central office units

    • Curriculum and Instruction, and Leadership


District Leaders

  • Instructional management

    • Increase student achievement in mathematics

  • Instructional improvement

    • Improve quality of mathematics teachers’ instructional practices


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