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Iris Weiss Barbara Miller Horizon Research, Inc. Education Development Center. Professional Development for Teachers of Mathematics: What do we know and how well do we know it?.
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Horizon Research, Inc. Education Development CenterProfessional Development for Teachers of Mathematics: What do we know and how well do we know it?
Deepening Teacher Content Knowledge
Teachers as Intellectual Leaders
Involvement of STEM faculty
Professional Learning CommunitiesMSP Knowledge Management and Dissemination Project
I’ll ask you to share out from your table a single idea for which there was reasonable consensus.
What to do in professional development? What are the strategies?
Who will lead professional development? What is the delivery?
What are the conditions for professional development? What are the resources?
Decisions are interrelated.
Our eyes are always bigger than our stomachs – we always want to do more in professional development than we are able to do.What do we know?
1. Is professional development important?
2. What are effective professional development strategies?
3. For which teachers are those strategies effective, and under what conditions?
For student learning:
Students of teachers with stronger content knowledge have higher achievement scores than other students, in particular on measures of conceptual understanding.
What do we know about deepening teacher content knowledge?
One line of reasoning:
Another line of reasoning:
Identified more than 1000 “studies” on PD to deepen teacher mathematics content-related knowledge
However, approximately 90% of the studies were screened out because:
They were advocacy or opinion pieces, not research, and/or
They were studies of pre-service teachers only, and/or
They did not include a measure (quantitative or qualitative) of teacher content knowledge.
Applied standards of evidence to 28 studies of mathematics PD, those that were not simply opinion or advocacy pieces and actually measured teacher content knowledge
Opportunities to learn about student mathematics curricula were positively related to…
Cohen & Hill, 2000
… were positively related to teacher learning of mathematics content knowledge for teaching.
Hill & Ball, 2004
…were positively related to changes in teachers’ instruction, assessment, and/or technology practices.
Desimone, Porter, Garet, Yoon, & Birman, 2002
A randomized controlled trial is testing the consensus view with a PD program that includes…
After one year, the study found impact on …
But no statistically significant impact on …
Garet et al., 2010
In applying standards of evidence, we often found vague or incomplete documentation of programs or interventions.
Consequently, we know something worked, but we don’t know a lot about what “it” was.
Studies tended to be more like program evaluations rather than research on particular strategies.
Consequently, we know the overall experience worked, but we don’t know how much particular interventions contributed to the gains.
We often found serious limitations with study research designs, including:
Selection bias in samples and contexts
Lack of comparison groups or criteria
Idiosyncratic instrumentation, without evidence of validity/reliability/credibility
There are too few studies of any one phenomenon to be able to have confidence in the robustness of the findings in any case.
High quality research is expensive, which may explain why so many in-depth studies in the literature involved fewer than 5 teachers.
There is a tension between design for change and design for learning.
From a system change perspective, if you plan on having two cohorts, it makes sense to start with the schools that are “ready.”
But doing so makes research on program effectiveness problematic; it will not be possible to disentangle the effects of differences in readiness from the impact of the interventions.
Even when individual studies are well-designed and well-implemented, it is difficult to look across them and figure out the extent to which the findings might generalize.
We were surprised at how little guidance the available research provides and how much guidance expert practice provides, although without the backing that empirical research would provide.
Empirical findings tend to be larger grain size; practice-based insights tend to be more contextualized and nuanced.
in designing and implementing
Focus on teacher leaders as one part of a professional development program
Teacher leader work takes different forms (e.g., leading pd, modeling lesson, planning)What do we know from research on teacher leaders?
Each TL shouldn’t figure this out individually
Not the time to “let 1000 flowers bloom” because impossible to support
Impact is diluted when focus is dispersed
Trade-off between clear, shared articulation and local responseWhat do we know from practice-based insights on teacher leaders?
TL practice should fit available time for working with teachers
TL practice should be calibrated to available support from school, district, beyond
Trade-off between “playing with the cards you’re dealt” and “pushing the envelope”What do we know from practice-based insights on teacher leaders?
Where did the alignment break apart (and wishful thinking take its place)?
Construct your own triangle and identify how/whether each is aligned.Task 2
TL preparation TL selection
Intended TL practice is an important first consideration
Selecting fewer, highly-qualified TLs may be preferable to selecting larger numbers of less-qualified candidates
Be clear about content knowledge needed for TL practice and whether it is a realistic selection criteria or preparation expectation
Trade-off between TL practice, selection and preparationWhat do we know from practice-based insights on teacher leaders?
Teacher knowledge: Engaging with challenging mathematics/science content
Selecting teacher leaders
Involving STEM disciplinary faculty in deepening teacher/teacher leader content knowledge