Are you confused by terms that educators use? The ASCD Lexicon of Learning might be what you need.
No Child Left Behind legislation has had an impact on the professional development that educators might need. The act required every teacher of a core academic subject to be "highly qualified" to teach by the end of the 2005-2006 school year (107th Congress, 2002, section 1119, 115 STAT. 1506). Likewise, the Common Core Initiative for mathematics has highlighted changes in how mathematics will need to be taught, which also means professional development will be needed for all math educators.
Whether you are seeking to become a better reflective practitioner of your mathematics teaching, or desire to enhance your credentials in mathematics, teaching methodology, and technology integration, this page will help you.
The Introductory Essay is about keeping up-to-date, tools to help you plan a program that is right for you and your school district, and the nature of best professional development programs.
Information about Teacher Quality.
CT4ME's Math Methodology section provides additional resources on knowledge of students, instructional and assessment practices and curriculum mapping.
Learning Forward, formerly known as the National Staff Development Council, proposed the following definition of professional development:
The term “professional development” means a comprehensive, sustained, and intensive approach to improving teachers’ and principals’ effectiveness in raising student achievement -- (What We Stand For website section)
It is actually an ongoing process. According to Learning Forward (2011), which developed the following list of seven Standards for Professional Learning, "Professional learning that increases educator effectiveness and results for all students" ...
One cannot teach mathematics well without a thorough understanding of content and knowledge of pedagogy. Carpenter, Blanton, Cobb, Franke, Kaput, and McClain (2004) said, "The most critical things that teachers need to learn revolve around content knowledge and the student learning trajectories specific to that knowledge" (p. 11). Further, "[l]earning specific content and learning how students learn that content" (p. 11) should be central to professional development efforts for teaching for learning with understanding.
In fact, the National Mathematics Advisory Panel (2008), which reviewed studies on teachers' mathematical knowledge, stated "it is clear that teachers’ knowledge of mathematics is positively related to student achievement" (p. 37). In order to increase teachers' effectiveness in the classroom, the Panel recommended strengthening the math preparation of elementary and middle school teachers via preservice teacher education, early career support, and professional development programs. "[T]eachers must know in detail and from a more advanced perspective the mathematical content they are responsible for teaching and the connections of that content to other important mathematics, both prior to and beyond the level they are assigned to teach" (p. 37). That content is linked to the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics. Indeed, in its report The Mathematical Education of Teachers II, the Conference Board of the Mathematical Sciences (2012) addressed this area in separate chapters for elementary, middle, and high school teachers. It made " recommendations for the mathematics that [preK-12] teachers should know and how they should come to know that mathematics. It [urged] greater involvement of mathematicians and statisticians in teacher education so that the nation’s mathematics teachers have the knowledge, skills, and dispositions needed to provide students with a mathematics education that ensures high school graduates are college- and career-ready as envisioned by the Common Core State Standards" (Preface section, p. xi).
Resources for professional development include government agencies, the U.S. Department of Education, your state Department of Education, school districts, private foundations, corporations and education associations (Charp, 2003). There are online instructor led and independent study, self-paced courses to satisfy differences in learning styles, and full online degree programs for teacher education.
Your professional development can also be enhanced by attending local and national conferences, audio and video conferences, face-to-face and Internet workshops/tutorials, and informal staff development meetings with colleagues. When attending outside conferences, Rooney (2007) noted that colleagues will benefit from a summary of what you learned and copies of relevant handouts.
Start your own personal learning network. Reading publications and journals, membership in teaching organizations, participation in online professional chats and social learning communities (e.g., blogs, wikis, nings) with other educators around the country, and viewing multimedia presentations will also benefit you. In terms of this latter, see the videos posted at TED, which is devoted to ideas worth spreading. TED selected "8 math talks to blow your mind" featuring fractals in African design and the art of roughness, the size of infinity, "Mathemagic," the math of coral, a clever way to estimate enormous numbers, the math of cities and corporations, and the math behind the ugliest music. These are just a few of the over 100 talks available at TED on math.
See CT4ME's sections on Associations and Journals. You can grow professionally through your own action research, participation in case studies, and reflective discussion. CT4ME's Research Corner will give you a good start on how to conduct your own action research. Those who have need to refresh their understanding of theories of learning, curriculum, instruction, assessment, and organization of schools will appreciate the succinct summaries of these topics with additional resources at Funderstanding.
Buy additional resources via CT4ME.
The Amazon widget below shows books using the search phrase: professional development teacher. You can also use the widget to search with other key words. Suggestions include:
Need help setting up your personal learning network?
The Innovative Educator (2008) provided five steps:
Lucy Gray of the University of Chicago’s Center for Elementary Mathematics and Science Education further describes the how-to’s and provides numerous resources in her slideshow: Social Media Tools for Personalized Professional Development. Gray also includes a list of interesting people to follow on Twitter, but you can also search for math related tweets to find a community you wish to follow.
Ideas for Your Professional Social Network
Classroom 2.0 is a social networking site for educators interested in Web 2.0 and collaboration.
Future of Education is an interview series and discussion community open to all. A huge benefit is the regular series of interviews with innovative leaders who are making a difference in learning. Highly recommended.
Middle School Math and Science Ning, an online social network.
Curriculum-based professional development "must be intimately tied to the actual tools teachers use" (Schmidt, 2002, p. 8). Tools exist to help schools and districts to plan, implement, evaluate, and share results from professional development. For example:
E. Hassel's Professional Development: Learning from the Best (1999) is a comprehensive toolkit "based on the experiences of award winning sites of the U.S. Department of Education's National Awards Program for Model Professional Development." It's available from Learning Point Associates and can be viewed online for free.
If your school or district is are not sure where to begin professional development, take the ASCD survey online. This survey can be completed in about 20 minutes and provides feedback on issues of assessment, instructional practices, curriculum development, leadership, and the learning process.
As many professional development opportunities are online, the National Staff Development Council (2001), now known as Learning Forward (effective 2010), developed a resource guide, E-learning for Educators: Implementing the Standards for Staff Development, to "assist staff development leaders to organize, review, study, and evaluate e-learning products, services, and programs and determine the value they add to a comprehensive staff development program. This guide identifies criteria for high quality professional e-learning for educators" (p. iv).
The All Things PLC website "provides research, articles, data and tools to educators who seek information about Professional Learning Communities at Work™. This information is provided so schools and districts have relevant, practical knowledge and tools as they create and sustain their Professional Learning Community" (About This Site). A blog is available to connect with other educators.
LoTi: What's your Level of Teaching innovation?
In 1994 Dr. Chris Moersch developed LoTi, a framework to determine your Level of Technology implementation. The acronym has evolved since then and is now associated with your Level of Teaching innovation.
Complete the DETAILS questionnaire at the LoTi Connection and Determine your Educational Technology And Instructional Literacy Skillsets. The DETAILS "Framework was developed in an effort to align participant's professional development planning with the ongoing nationwide effort to sharpen educator skill sets as defined by the Partnership for 21st Century Skills."
Teachers are often overwhelmed by so-called professional development sessions from which they conclude did not give them the concrete ideas they had hoped for to take back to their classrooms. Likewise, sometimes a school might consider so many initiatives designed to improve student achievement with the result that few get the sufficient attention and focus needed to end up having an impact. Douglas Reeves (2010) noted that there are "four imperatives for effective professional learning that are related to student results: teaching, curriculum, assessment, and leadership. It is nearly impossible to overstate the value of focus" (p. 4). Of central importance is that "research suggests that the most salient variable in improving student achievement is not the brand name of the program but the degree of implementation of the program. In brief, it is practices and people, not programs, that make the difference for student achievement" (p. 3).
Various models of professional development exist, including coaching and mentoring, face-to-face training, train-the-trainer, and web-based training (Poplin, 2003). Regardless of method employed, educational professional development should be used to enhance the teaching and learning process.
Further, professional development is more effective in changing teachers' practice when it is organized around the collective participation of teachers (e.g., from the same school, department, or grade levels), focused on content knowledge and active learning activities (teachers are allowed to apply what they are learning), and coherent (aligned with teachers' professional knowledge or community, as well as with state or district standards and assessments). Sustained and intensive professional development is more likely to have an impact, as reported by teachers, than is shorter professional development, according to the ASCD (2003, July 22), which reported on the three-year professional development study of math and science teachers by Garet, Desimone, Porter, Yoon, and Birman (2001).
However, the focus of professional development should not be limited to content, teaching methods, and learning outcomes. According to Intrator and Kunzman (2006), teachers leave the profession when their deeper needs are not met. "Teachers yearn for professional development experiences that not only advance their skills and knowledge base but also simultaneously probe their sense of purpose and invite deliberation about what matters most in good teaching" (p. 39). Programs, such as Courage to Teach, help promote that inner reflection by focusing on personal and professional beliefs and how those beliefs affect teaching. The program, which involves a series of three-day retreats, was begun by Parker Palmer in 1994 with a group of Michigan teachers. The Courage to Teach program is at the Center for Courage and Renewalnd Renewal.
Why should you consider using e-learning and technology for your professional development?
According to the National Staff Development Council (2001, p. 7), when properly implemented:
Technology as a vehicle for staff development:
alters the learning environment;
provides new structures and media for reflecting, communicating, and acting;
facilitates modeling and visualization;
allows for construction and discovery of knowledge;
expands access to information, networks, people, and ideas;
increases the flexibility of time and places for learning; and
provides significant resources.
Webinars can provide great opportunities to keep up to date on a variety of topics. Consider the following:
Neuroscience in Education Webinar Series from Learning Enhancement Corporation explores "topics at the intersection of neuroscience and education" with assistance of experts in the field. The goal is to assist educators with "translating the rapid discoveries of neuroscience research into practical application for classroom and clinical practice." Registration is free and there is an archived collection of webinars.
Do you need a refresher on math concepts?
Integrated Publishing has free HTML versions of two books: Introduction to Mathematics and Algebra provides a review of basic arithmetic and elementary algebra; includes fractions, decimals, percentages, exponents, radicals, logarithms; exercises in factoring polynomials, linear equations, ratio, proportion, variation, complex numbers and quadratic equations; presents brief introduction to plane figures, geometric construction, and trigonometry.
Pre-Calculus and Intro to Probability contains information on the following subjects: straight lines, conic sections, tangents, normals, slopes; introduction to differential and integral calculus; combinations and permutations; and introduction to probability.
What about a little knowledge of the history of mathematics?
The MacTutor History of Mathematics archive of the University of St. Andrews in Scotland contains an extensive collection of biographies, history topics (e.g., mathematics in various cultures and mathematics subject area topics), chronologies, mathematicians of the day, famous curves, quotations from many of the mathematicians in the archive, and more.
According to David Hilbert (1862-1943), a contributor to many branches of mathematics:
"Mathematics knows no races or geographic boundaries; for mathematics, the cultural world is one country." Quoted in H Eves, Mathematical Circles Squared (Boston 1971).
Source: Quotations by David Hilbert: http://www-groups.dcs.st-and.ac.uk/%7Ehistory/Quotations/Hilbert.html
AIMS Education Foundation provides customized math and science workshops for teachers. AIMS, in cooperation with the Center for Professional Development of Fresno Pacific University, also provides courses via distance learning for college credit.
Annenberg Media Learner.org. The Annenberg Foundation and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting have linked to advance excellence in teaching in American schools through their video programs with coordinated Web and print materials for the professional development of K-12 teachers. The programs are designed to help you increase expertise in your curricular field and to improve your teaching methods, and are also intended for viewers at home and students in the classroom.
View free educational videos on this channel or online (broadband access recommended) and arrange for graduate credit. There are numerous videos dealing with mathematics, for example.
HOT for CCSS: For those who prefer earning continuing education units or university credit, ASCD provides online courses on multiple topics for a small fee. ASCD also offers four self-paced courses for implementing the Common Core State Standards in Mathematics. These are Common Core Mathematics: K-5, 6-8, and 9-12; and Common Core and Literacy Strategies: Mathematics. See listings under http://shop.ascd.org/ONLINELEARNING.aspx
EduCore from ASCD is a free resource for "professional development, lesson plans and modules, and other materials—that you will need to successfully implement the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics and Literacy." The Math Tools section "features formative assessment lessons and instructional videos for mathematics aligned to the Common Core." Classroom challenges (formative assessment lessons developed by the Mathematics Assessment Project) are provided for middle and high school, concept development, problem solving, and include supplemental and related resources.
Carnegie Learning has a series of free webinars on a variety of math topics (e.g., new teaching strategies, trends) presented by experts and an archive of past webinars viewable on-demand.
Classroom Connect's Connected University is an online professional development community that provides educators with courses, learning resources, just-in-time support, and a convenient way to interact with peers nationwide to integrate technology and improve student learning in classrooms. Learners can choose from software tutorials, how-to-tips, and dozens of guide-led and self-paced courses. Many courses are available for graduate credit and Continuing Education Units (CEUs). There are several technology integration courses including computer basics, email, web site design, Power Point in the classroom, basics of HTML, Web quests, and more. Math courses include:
Concept to Classroom, a collaboration between Thirteen Ed Online and Disney Learning Partnership, offers a number of free award-winning workshops on topics in education: multiple intelligences, constructivism, teaching to standards, the basics of the Internet as a tool for the classroom, cooperative and collaborative learning, inquiry-based learning; assessment, evaluation, and curriculum redesign, WebQuests, and more. Workshops feature explanation, demonstration, exploration, implementation, and a possibility to get credit.
Curriculum Associates, Inc. has free professional development (see Topics in Education) mini courses on classroom management, differentiated instruction, motivating students to learn, and test preparation strategies.
Edutopia is a product of the George Lucas Education Foundation, which documents and disseminates models of the most innovative practices in K-12 schools. Of particular interest is their section on Schools that Work. Detailed articles, research summaries, and links to hundreds of relevant Web sites, books, organizations, and publications are available to help schools and communities build on successes in education. A video gallery of short documentaries and expert interviews is available. You will find categories such as:
Comprehensive assessment, integrated studies, project-based learning, technology integration, and social and emotional learning
Resources by grade level
IMAGES (Improving Measurement and Geometry in Elementary Schools) is a K-5 professional development initiative of the Pennsylvania State Team of the Mid-Atlantic Eisenhower Consortium for Mathematics and Science Education at Research for Better Schools. This web site contains information and resources to help teachers develop a deeper understanding of geometry and measurement concepts and to assist in designing meaningful instruction for elementary students. Instructional activities and lesson plans are included that address five strands: visual and spatial reasoning, two and three dimensional geometry, coordinate geometry, transformational geometry, and measurement. However, math teachers throughout K-12 will benefit from the content, which includes cognitive and development issues, teaching strategies, assessment strategies, geometric and mathematical terms, a list of manipulatives to teach geometry and measurement concepts, and software and video suggestions.
Intel® Teach Program is a worldwide effort to help both experienced teachers and pre-service teachers integrate technology into instruction and enhance student learning. Intel's site is rich in professional development materials.
InterMath explores technology enhanced mathematics investigations. This site is oriented to professional development for teaching of middle school mathematics, but the topics addressed in algebra, geometry, number concepts, and data analysis are also introduced in elementary school level and would also be appropriate for high school. Materials can be accessed online. The dictionary of math terms and concepts is worthy of note, as is the "Constructionary," which is designed to help users create constructions using Geometer's Sketchpad.
Internet4Classrooms Online Practice Modules consist of 13 online tutorials, all of which can be used with students in a classroom or with teachers in professional development programs. Software tutorials address Microsoft Word, Works, Excel, Inspiration, HyperStudio, DreamWeaver, Claris HomePage, and PowerPoint. Learn about the Macintosh or Windows/PC operating systems, Internet Explorer, Netscape, and about WebQuests. Tutorials include step-by-step instructions, assignments, quizzes. This site also contains numerous links to other technology tutorials on the Web.
Math for America (MƒA) is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to significantly improve math education in our nation's public schools. The MƒA Fellowship recruits, trains, and retains people who are new to teaching, and the MƒA Master Teacher program recognizes and rewards already certified exceptional secondary math teachers. Primary locations are New York, Los Angeles, San Diego, and Washington, DC. Benefits of an MƒA Fellowship include a scholarship to earn a Master's Degree or Teacher Credentialing Program in Mathematics Education and up to $100K in stipends in addition to a full time teacher's salary and more. Among benefits of the MƒA Master Teacher program are $60K in stipends over four years and support for National Board Certification.
Mathlanding.org helps "support the professional development needs of elementary educators in building mathematical knowledge and instructional practice" (About section). There are two principal collections: professional development and classroom resources for preK-6+. Each classroom resource set includes a selection of interactive media, games, videos and learning tools. Topics were selected based on the requirements of the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Focal Points. Mathlanding is a project of Maryland Public Television in partnership with The Math Forum at Drexel University and the International Society of Technology in Education.
MathVIDS (Video Instructional Development Source) is an interactive website for teachers who are teaching students who have difficulty learning mathematics. The site, developed with funding provided by the Virginia Department of Education, features foundational information, instructional strategies, and teaching plans:
Foundational information includes a description of what math disabilities are, characteristics of students who have these types of learning problems, and the impact of these problems on teaching. Examples of research-based or field-tested math metacognitive strategies are included to help students overcome learning problems.
Highlighted at this site are the descriptions and models of fifteen, research-based effective math instructional strategies for students with learning difficulties. Instructional video shows real teachers in real settings demonstrating these strategies in K-5 classrooms. These demonstrations generalize to middle and high school settings, however.
Representative teaching plans show the use of these instructional strategies linked to several of Virginia Standards of Learning. As math standards are similar in all states, teachers everywhere will find these of value. Each math concept addressed includes up to three different teaching plans. A plan may address two or three levels of understanding: concrete, representational, and abstract.
McGraw-Hill Professional Development has numerous offerings in mathematics, including a best practice video library and opportunities to earn CEUs and university credit for its online courses.
PBS Teacherline, funded by a grant from the department of education, provides teachers with online professional development in mathematics and technology integration. Features include the Virtual Mathematics Academy, facilitated mini-course modules, and a community center for collaboration with teaching professionals across the country. As online learning in K-12 is on the rise, you will also find an instructional technology course called Fundamentals of Virtual K-12 Teaching.
Reflections is NCTM's video-based, professional development Web site. It "is designed to help teachers — individually and collectively — examine their teaching of mathematics. The site’s components are designed to assist teachers in reflecting on the mathematics they teach, and as a tool to systematically observe, analyze, critique, and improve classroom practices. Reflections focuses on algebra in grades 3-8.
Seeing Math (Elementary and Secondary) from the Concord Consortium. Education professionals are encouraged to explore the courses free of charge, which were researched and developed from a grant from the U.S. Department of Education. Quoting from the website:
Seeing Math™ Elementary, eleven courses that incorporate video case studies, interactive software and face-to-face and online moderated discussion to give elementary school teachers effective teaching strategies in Geometry, Number & Operations, Data Analysis & Probability, and Pre-algebra. Seeing Math™ Elementary is distributed by Teachscape.
Seeing Math™ Secondary, eleven facilitated courses that blend video, interactive tools and online facilitated discussion to help secondary school teachers make challenging algebra topics accessible to students. Seeing Math™ Secondary is distributed by PBS TeacherLine. (About Us section)
HOT for CCSS: SEDL, formerly known as Southwest Educational Development Laboratory, has a Library of Free Resources for improving teaching and learning in mathematics and science among its product categories. Among those are the Common Core State Standards Video Series for Mathematics and English Language Arts. According to SEDL, "The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) videos are designed to support states, schools, and teachers in the implementation of the CCSS. The videos were created in collaboration with the states in the Southeast Comprehensive Center region based on their needs for professional development support for the implementation of the Common Core State Standards. Each video is an audiovisual resource that focuses on one or more specific standards and usually includes examples/illustrations geared to enhancing understanding. The intent of each content-focused video is to clarify the meaning of the individual standard rather than to be a guide on how to teach each standard, although the examples can be adapted for instructional use." Math videos are organized by grade level. The Southeast Comprehensive Center is housed at SEDL.
Sublime Learning is a subscription based service, which offers "a full range of professional learning services, including online, masters-level, accredited courses that focus on integrating technology into instruction." Teachers can elect to audit courses. The site also includes "award-winning eTeachables libraries [a collection of tutorial videos modeling teaching strategies for technology-based instruction], Professional Learning Guides and downloadable templates and files" that engage learners with varying learning styles.
Teach 21 is an initiative of the West Virginia State Department of Education. It "was designed by teachers to assist colleagues in planning and delivering effective 21st century instruction in West Virginia Classrooms. It enables educators to quickly access 21st Century Content Standards, Learning Skills and Technology Tools for WV Schools, as well as other resources that exemplify rigorous and relevant instructional design and delivery." Highly recommended for any educator.
Teachscape.com offers professional development in research-based, classroom-tested approaches to effective teaching in literacy, mathematics, and science; topics in classroom management and working with English language learners; and integrated approaches to curricula. Their video-taped teaching cases in mathematics, developed in collaboration with the Concord Consortium, illustrate the NCTM Principles and Standards for School Mathematics.
Teacher Education Institute contains a number of online professional development courses in technology integration and human factors (e.g., action research, classroom management, inclusion, whole brain learning). Classroom based and online graduate courses on those topics are also available. Credit is awarded by fully-accredited colleges and universities. Technology integration courses, for example, delve into teachers discovering and integrating computers, multimedia, Web quests, and Microsoft Office into their instruction.
Teacher Expectations and Student Achievement (TESA) is based on current research and is available nationally. TESA is a behavioral change staff development program for all educators, grade levels, and subject areas. Staff learn about 15 interactions that emphasize equitable and positive classroom interactions, then practice those strategies, and receive feedback from peer review. Even the most experienced educator will benefit from TESA. Results of classroom research shows that use of TESA interactions improves student academic performance, gender and diversity awareness, attendance, classroom climate and reduces student discipline problems. The Los Angeles County Office of Education has a copy of the regional workshop schedule for the year.
Teacher2Teacher, hosted by The Math Forum at Drexel, is a resource for teachers and parents who have questions about teaching mathematics.
Teacher-to-Teacher Workshops provide professional development from a series of video courses featuring some of the nation's most effective teachers and education experts sharing with their colleagues research-based practices and proven methods of using data to inform instruction. Content, which is primarily for K-8 teachers and their principles, should increase knowledge and skills for improving student achievement in math and science. Other content areas are available. The videos are available from the Panhandle Area Educational Consortium.
TechLearning.com, produced by Technology & Learning Magazine and SchoolTech Expo & Conference, is an extensive resource for education technology leaders. They feature a weekly section called TechLearning News with archived news. Don't miss the extensive online resource section of Best Practices, including professional organizations and professional development links.
T.H.E. Journal has a series of webinars with a focus on technology. Webinars are also included in the section for resources.
HOT for CCSS: TurnOnCCMath was developed by a research team at North Carolina State University as "a comprehensive resource to support teachers, teacher educators, professional development providers, and district and state-level curriculum experts in interpreting the CCSS-M for instructional implementation." The team identified "18 learning trajectories that unpack the K-8 Common Core State Standards for Mathematics from the standpoint of student learning, and elaborate the underlying scientific research in mathematics education." You'll find a map with an arrangement of hexagons, which "illustrates these learning trajectories, standard by standard. Clicking on a hexagon or a trajectory takes you to detailed descriptors that articulate students' progression from prior knowledge and naïve conceptions to more sophisticated mathematical concepts and reasoning." (website description)
Understanding Teaching, supported in part by the National Science Foundation, IBM, and Intel, was developed by Arizona State University and Technology Based Learning and Research to address the focus and approach to mathematics education. The program uses hypertext, audio, animation, and full-motion video to help teachers recognize, understand, and explain the Professional Standards for Teaching Mathematics prescribed by the National Council for Teachers of Mathematics. Interactive learning and observational practice are key elements. Instruction is divided into four learning modules: Professional Development, Teachable Moments, Application, and Assessment. Each module, metaphorically, is a classroom and presents the NCTM Teaching Standards in various classroom situations.
University of California-Irvine offers a free online course, CSET Mathematics I: Algebra, to help prepare math teachers to take the California Subject Examinations for Teachers (CSET). Following an introduction, the course covers algebraic structures, polynomial equations and inequalities, functions, linear algebra, and natural numbers. The course is available to all under a Creative Commons license.
WestEd offers a number of professional development opportunities "to ensure that all students have a challenging mathematics and science education" (Services section: Mathematics and Science). Among those are: Math Pathways and Pitfalls Institute, Making Mathematics Accessible to English Learners, Algebra Intervention: Aim for Algebra, Developing Algebraic Thinking workshops, and much more.
What does it mean to be highly qualified to teach?
In May 2004, the U.S. Department of Education (2004) released a revised edition of No Child Left Behind: A Toolkit for Teachers, which clarified what it means to be "highly qualified." NCLB required teachers of core academic subjects (p. 20) to have a bachelor's degree, to be fully certified by their state (p. 19), and to demonstrate that they have knowledge of the subject they are teaching (pp. 10-12). The intent of this latter part was to eliminate out-of-field teaching. The document also contains Internet resources for teachers. Math educators might be interested in the section on how to improve math and science achievement.
What about your teacher evaluation? Are you doing what you need to be doing in and out of the classroom?
School administrators regularly evaluate teacher performance. There seems to be a range of ways that teacher assessments are carried out. Sometimes they are done via formal announced observations perhaps with a checklist or rubric in hand. At the other extreme, sometimes these are carried out via "walk-throughs" that might be too casual upon which to base truly meaningful feedback for strengths and weaknesses of the teacher. This latter might even pose difficulties in using the method consistently and fairly among all teachers being evaluated. Douglas Reeves (2010) discussed rubrics developed by Kim Marshall, which have "a history of direct application for both formative and summative feedback to teachers in a highly unionized environment" (pp. 90-91). These provide a new direction for teacher assessment and are well-worth considering. Marshall's Teacher Evaluation Rubrics, revised in September 2010, are open-source and available online. They "are organized around six domains: planning and preparation for learning; classroom management; delivery of instruction; monitoring, assessment, and follow-up; family and community outreach; and professional responsibilities" (Reeves, 2010, p. 91). If you are an educator, you might self-evaluate your teaching. If you are an administrator, you might look at these for their potential to provide feedback to teachers in a more substantive way. Reeves noted, "Although instructional teams may wish to modify the wording of these rubrics to better meet their needs, the structure, clarity, specificity, and learning orientation of this work provide an excellent model, particularly when compared to prevailing methods of teaching evaluation and formative assessment" (p. 91).
CT4ME takes a position that teacher quality should not be tied solely to results of standardized tests, as a host of learner variables come into play, many of which are beyond the teacher's control. Stumbo and McWalters (2010, pp. 12-14) outlined seven challenges in Measuring Teacher Effectiveness: What Will it Take? These pertain to 1. the limits of student assessment data, as validity and reliability of value-added modeling, according to testing experts, is not strong enough to be used as a measure of teacher effectiveness; 2. not all subjects are tested; 3. quality of teacher evaluations is linked to the quality of those who evaluate and lack of training is a threat to reliability of evaluation and objectivity of results; 4. the rise of a collaborative culture for teaching envisioned by new core teaching standards runs contrary to individual accountability; 5. teacher quality based on content knowledge, as under NCLB, does not consider all that matters in teaching (e.g., how to teach subject matter, and a general holistic approach to education); 6. working conditions; and 7. a primary challenge is engaging all stakeholders at the local, state, and federal levels "to support the dual purposes of evaluation--professional growth and accountability" (p. 14).
Where can you learn more on teacher quality and teacher effectiveness?
U.S. Department of Education Assistance:
Read the U.S. Department of Education document, Improving Teacher Quality State Grants (August, 2005), which is the revised non-regulatory guidance to help state and local educational agencies meet NCLB's teacher quality goals. "This Non-Regulatory Guidance explains how State educational agencies, local educational agencies, and State agencies for higher education can effectively use Title II, Part A funds to ensure that all teachers are highly qualified and effective, a critical component of the No Child Left Behind Act and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act" (section: Purpose of this Guidance, para. 1). The document also includes clearer answers to the definition of a highly-qualified teacher, what is meant my core-academic subjects, and what is meant by highly-qualified professional development.
The U.S. Department of Education has an initiative Improving Teacher Quality to engage some of the nation's best educators to share their techniques to help raise student achievement.
ASCD's special report Spotlight on Teacher Quality includes several resources. Part 1 (March 2, 2004) examines teacher quality noted in the U.S. No Child Left Behind Act and recruitment and retention of quality teachers. Part II (March 4, 2004) looks at professional development strategies and perspectives on the teacher quality issue. Additional resources include books, articles, and the link to Research-Based Characteristics of High-Quality Teacher Preparation.
Center for Teaching Quality promotes teaching quality through cultivating teacher leadership, conducting timely research, and crafting smart policy.
Council of Chief State School Officers is playing a major role in the Common Core State Standards Initiative. Of interest for teacher assessment: Council of Chief State School Officers. (2010, July). Interstate Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (InTASC) model core teaching standards: A resource for state dialogue (Draft for public comment). Washington, DC: Author. Retrieved from http://www.ccsso.org/resources/programs/interstate_teacher_assessment_consortium_(intasc).html
National Board for Professional Teaching Standards released its report, Student Learning, Student Achievement: How Do Teachers Measure Up? (2011), which "outlines effective methods of using student learning as a measure of teacher effectiveness." The full report and the executive summary provide principles for selecting and using large-scale assessments to evaluate teacher practice.
National Comprehensive Center for Teacher Quality has extensive resources. Among those are: Little, O., Goe, L. & Bell, C. (2009). A practical guide to evaluating teacher effectiveness. Washington, DC: National Comprehensive Center for Teacher Quality. Retrieved from http://www.tqsource.org/publications/practicalGuide.pdf
National Council on Teacher Quality in Washington, DC "advocates for reforms in a broad range of teacher policies at the federal, state, and local levels in order to increase the number of effective teachers." It is committed to "increasing public awareness about the four sets of institutions that have the greatest impact on teacher quality: states, teacher preparation programs, school districts and teachers' unions." (About Us section). See the publications, databases and resources. Two documents are of particular relevance. The first, No Common Denominator: The Preparation of Elementary Teachers in Mathematics by America's Education Schools (Greenberg & Walsh, 2008), includes the breadth of mathematics content that elementary teachers need in their preparation to teach. Four critical areas (number and operations, algebra, geometry and measurement, and data analysis and probability) are identified, along with essential topics and the estimated number of hours of instruction within each. The recommendation translates to 115 hours of math content instruction or about three 45-hour courses. The second, published October 2011, is State of the States: Trends and Early Lessons on Teacher Evaluation and Effectiveness Policies. This latter report examines "state policies adopted as of September 2011" and focuses "on states with existing legislation, regulations and written policy, not states pondering changes or in the process of developing legislation" (p. 1). Of significance per the report date is that "23 states require that teacher evaluations include not just some attention to student learning, but objective evidence of student learning in the form of student growth and/or value-added data" (p. ii). "The move to rethink how to evaluate a teacher’s performance and explicitly tie assessments of teacher performance to student achievement marks an important shift in thinking about teacher quality. The demand for "highly qualified" teachers is slowly but surely being replaced by a call for highly effective teachers. The change is significant because policymaking around improving teacher quality to date has focused almost exclusively on a teacher’s qualifications – teacher credentials, majors, degrees and licensing" (p. 2).
National Standards for Quality Online Courses, Version 2, from the International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL) were released in October 2011. These standards address quality in courses (content, instructional design, assessment, technology, course evaluation and support) and teaching in both online and blended programs and promote more personalized learning.
New Teacher Center (NTC) is "a national organization dedicated to improving student learning by accelerating the effectiveness of teachers and school leaders. NTC strengthens school communities through proven mentoring and professional development programs, online learning environments, policy advocacy, and essential research" (About section). NCT is based in Santa Cruz, California.
Rand Corporation: Measuring Teacher Effectiveness is a resource for teachers, administrators, parents, and policymakers. It features fact sheets and more on this topic.
|The Breadth of Mathematics Content that Elementary Teachers Need|
|Critical areas||Essential topics||Estimated class time needed|
|Number and operations||Whole numbers and place value;
Fractions and integers;
Decimals (including ratio, proportion, percent);
|Geometry and measurement||Measurement;
Basic concepts in plane and solid geometry;
Perimeter, area, surface area, volume
|Data analysis and probability||Probability, data display and analysis||10 hours|
|Adapted from p. 17 in Greenberg, J., & Walsh, K. (2008). No common denominator: The preparation of elementary teachers in mathematics by America's education schools. Washington, DC: National Council on Teacher Quality. Retrieved from http://www.nctq.org/p/publications/docs/nctq_ttmath_fullreport_20090603062928.pdf|
Would you like an advanced degree or a teaching credential? Consider online learning.
Distance Learning on the Net by Glenn Hoyle. Site contains descriptions of distance education web sites, along with links to lead to further Distance Learning and education resources.
Education.org has information online schools and online degrees in multiple specialities.
OnlineLearning.net is a provider of professional development courses, including numerous offerings in mathematics and education with options for continuing education, and graduate credit. It is part of the Online Higher Education division of Laureate Education, Inc. The National Education Association selected OnlineLearning.net as its partner in online education for teachers.
Onlinemasters.org has an extensive list of online degree programs throughout the U.S. at the masters level.
Onlineschools.com provides a database of schools offering online programs, including for K-12, and college undergraduate and graduate degrees. Searching is free.
Online Schools.org has a directory of online schools for multiple degree levels and programs. You will also find a directory for K-12 online schools. Adults returning to school might appreciate the article 50 Resources for Students Attending Online Adult Education Schools. CT4ME.net is one of those resources.
OnlineTeacherEd.com provides an easy to search directory of regionally accredited colleges and universities in the U.S. that offer certificate programs, undergraduate degrees, graduate degrees and doctoral programs in the field of education in a distance-education format. Bonus features include subject matter resources, monthly eNewsletters about distance education and electronic portfolios, and research and reports on education technology and policy issues.
Check your state's teacher licensure and certification requirements.
If you pursue an online degree in education/teaching, be sure to check with your state department of education for its certification and licensure requirements. The University of Kentucky has links to teacher licensure and certification requirements for each state: http://www.uky.edu/Education/TEP/usacert.html
107th Congress of the United States (2002). Public Law 107-110: No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. Retrieved from http://www.ed.gov/policy/elsec/leg/esea02/107-110.pdf [NOTE: Document has 670 pages with the first numbered as 115 STAT. 1425.]
ASCD (2003, July 22). What professional development structures best affect classroom instruction? ASCD Research Brief, 1(15).
Carpenter, T. P., Blanton, M. L., Cobb, P., Franke, M. L., Kaput, J., & McClain, K. (2004). Scaling up innovative practices in mathematics and science: Research report. Madison, WI: National Center for Improving Student Learning and Achievement in Mathematics and Science. Retrieved from http://ncisla.wceruw.org/publications/reports/NCISLAReport1.pdf
Charp, S. (2003, June). Professional development. T.H.E. Journal, 30(11), 8.
Conference Board of the Mathematical Sciences (2012). The Mathematical Education of Teachers II. Providence RI and Washington DC: American Mathematical Society and Mathematical Association of America. Retrieved from http://www.cbmsweb.org/MET2/index.htm
Garet, M.S., Porter, A.C., Desimone, L., Birman, B.F., & Yoon, K.S. (2001, Winter). What makes professional development effective? Results from a national sample of teachers. American Educational Research Journal, 38(4), 915-45.
Greenberg, J., & Walsh, K. (2008). No common denominator: The preparation of elementary teachers in mathematics by America's education schools. Washington, DC: National Council on Teacher Quality. Retrieved from http://www.nctq.org/
Intrator, S., & Kunzman, R. (2006). Starting with the soul. Educational Leadership, 63(6), 39-42.
Learning Forward (2011, August). Quick reference guide to standards for professional learning. JSD, 32(4), 41, 43-44. Retrieved from http://www.learningforward.org/news/getDocument.cfm?articleID=2326
National Council on Teacher Quality (2011, October). State of the states: Trends and early lessons on teacher evaluation and effectiveness policies. Washington, DC: Author. Retrieved from http://www.nctq.org/
National Mathematics Advisory Panel (2008). Foundations for success: The final report of the National Mathematics Advisory Panel. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education. Retrieved from http://www.ed.gov/about/bdscomm/list/mathpanel/index.html
National Staff Development Council (2001). E-learning for educators: Implementing the standards for staff development. Oxford, OH: Author. Retrieved from http://www.riversidevirtualschool.net/RVS/Website/Publications/Online%20Professional%20Development/e-learning_for_Educators_-_NSDC.pdf
Poplin, C. (2003, June). Models of professional development. T.H.E. Journal, 30(11), 38-40.
Reeves, D. (2010). Transforming professional development into student results. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.
Rooney, J. (2007). Who owns teacher growth. Educational Leadership, 64(7), 87-88.
Schmidt, W. (2002, Summer). The benefit to subject-matter knowledge. In A Coherent Curriculum by W. Schmidt, R. Houang, and L. Cogan, American Educator, pp. 1-17. Retrieved from http://www.aft.org/pubs-reports/american_educator/summer2002/index.html
Stumbo, C., & McWalters, P. (2010). Measuring effectiveness: What will it take? Educational Leadership, 68(4), 10-15. Retrieved from http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/dec10/vol68/num04/Measuring-Effectiveness@-What-Will-It-Take%C2%A2.aspx
The Innovative Educator (2008, October 12). 5 things you can do to begin developing your personal learning network [blog post]. Retrieved from http://theinnovativeeducator.blogspot.com/2008/04/5-things-you-can-do-to-begin-developing.html
U.S. Department of Education (2004). No Child Left Behind: A Toolkit for Teachers. Retrieved from http://www.ed.gov/teachers/nclbguide/nclb-teachers-toolkit.pdf