Year of publication
Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness
In this paper, we describe findings from a three-year evaluation of a well-developed mathematics professional development program that is commercially available on a wide scale. The professional development is designed to improve teachers' mathematical knowledge for teaching and to enable them to elicit more student thinking and reasoning during mathematics lessons. Specifically, it focused on helping teachers (a) learn more mathematics, (b) understand how children learn math, (c) use formative assessment to develop insight into what specific students know and do not know, and (d) develop effective classroom instructional strategies that enable student problem solving. Participants included 105 fourth- and fifth-grade teachers teaching in 19 low-income schools within a single district. Teachers were randomly assigned within schools either to a “business as usual” control group or to receive the professional development. The training consisted of a week-long summer institute and four to six in-service days during the school year. The training was run by full-time trained associates. We find some limited evidence of positive impacts on teachers' mathematical knowledge for teaching, but no effects on instructional practice or student outcomes.