Computing Technology for Math Excellence Logo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Black line

Professional Development for Math Educators

 

Keys to Teacher Quality GifNo Child Left Behind legislation 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).  With passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act in 2015, the requirements to teach have been redefined and one finds multiple occurrences of "effective teachers" within the document.  Per definitions in SEC. 8002, the term "professional development" includes evidence-based, job-embedded, sustained activities aimed to develop effective teachers (114th Congress, 2015, p. S.1177-295).  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 should help you.

CT4ME's Math Methodology section provides additional resources on knowledge of students, instructional and assessment practices and curriculum mapping.

Black line

 

An Introduction to Professional Development

Learning Forward 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 -- (Who We Are 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" ...

  • occurs within learning communities committed to continuous improvement, collective responsibility, and goal alignment;
  • requires skillful leaders who develop capacity, advocate, and create support systems for professional learning;
  • requires prioritizing, monitoring, and coordinating resourced for educator learning;
  • uses a variety of sources and types of student, educator, and system data to plan, assess, and evaluate professional learning;
  • integrates theories, research, and models of human learning to achieve intended outcomes;
  • applies research on change and sustains support for implementation of professional learning for long-term change; and
  • aligns its outcomes with educator performance and student curriculum standards. (p. 42)

Keeping Up-to Date

One cannot teach mathematics well without a thorough understanding of content and knowledge of pedagogy.  That pedagogy also includes acquiring knowledge and skills for integrating technology into curriculum, instruction, and assessment.  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 now 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).

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) also elaborates on multiple activities that fall within professional development.  For example, activities for all teachers could also improve and increase teachers' "ability to analyze student work and achievement from multiple sources, including how to adjust instructional strategies, assessments, and materials based on such analysis" or improve their classroom management skills or advance their understanding of "effective instructional strategies that are evidenced-based."  Activities might also "include instruction in the use of data and assessments to inform and instruct classroom practice" (114th Congress, 2015, p. S.1177-296).

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 400 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 Education Research section will give you a good start on how to conduct your own action research.

 

Need help setting up your personal learning network?

Question markThe Innovative Educator (2008) provided five steps:

  1. Join an existing professional social network
  2. Start reading five blogs of interest
  3. Use an aggregator to subscribe to the blogs you read  [Note:  Feedly is one example.]
  4. Start to participate in those blogs
  5. Start reading Twitter.

Lucy Gray of the University of Chicago’s Center for Elementary Mathematics and Science Education further described the how-to’s and provides numerous resources in her slideshow: Social Media Tools for Personalized Professional Development (2012). 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

For a list of potential blogs for math educators, see the term "Blog" in our Technology Integration Web 2.0 glossary.

Other resources of interest include the following:

AP Teaching Community from The College Board is an online community "where AP teachers discuss teaching strategies, share resources, and connect with each other."  All AP courses are supported.

Classroom 2.0 is a social networking site for educators interested in Web 2.0 and collaboration.

Discovery Educator Network

The Educator's PLN (Personal Learning Network)

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.

Google for Education

Mobile Learning Explorations from edWeb.net "is a professional learning community where educators and industry experts explore the potential of laptops, tablets, and other hand-held devices to enrich learning, to bridge the digital divide, and to extend learning beyond the traditional school day."  You'll find free webinars, live chats, and online discussions and learn about the latest news, trends, case studies, and best practices" in this area.  edWeb.net has several other education related learning communities that you can join.

 

Tools

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:

 

LoTi: What's your Level of Teaching innovation?

Question markIn 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."

 

The Best Professional Development

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.  This is accomplished when standards are being addressed.  For its vision of teaching for improved student achievement, the Council of Chief State School Officers (2011), with input from multiple national education organizations, developed 10 model core teaching standards, which could be used when deciding what professional development to offer.  Those are grouped as follows:

However, consider that 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.  Indeed, a major finding according to the Center for Public Education (2013), an initiative of the National School Boards Association, is that:

Most professional development today is ineffective. It neither changes teacher practice nor improves student learning. However, research suggests that effective professional development abides by the following principles:

  • The duration of professional development must be significant and ongoing to allow time for teachers to learn a new strategy and grapple with the implementation problem.
  • There must be support for a teacher during the implementation stage that addresses the specific challenges of changing classroom practice.
  • Teachers’ initial exposure to a concept should not be passive, but rather should engage teachers through varied approaches so they can participate actively in making sense of a new practice.
  • Modeling has been found to be a highly effective way to introduce a new concept and help teachers understand a new practice.
  • The content presented to teachers shouldn’t be generic, but instead grounded in the teacher’s discipline (for middle school and high school teachers) or grade-level (for elementary school teachers).   (pp. 3-4)

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) earlier had 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).

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).

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 Renewal.

The bottom line to identifying the "best" math professional development approaches leading to student achievement is that research is still needed if you are looking for a definitive answer to the question: "What does the causal research say are effective math professional development interventions for K–12 teachers aimed at improving student achievement?"  Gersten, Taylor, Keys, Rolfhus, and Newman-Gonchar (2014) attempted to answer this question via a comprehensive literature review of 643 studies of professional development interventions related to math in grades K–12 in the United States. Thirty-two of the studies used a research design for assessing the effectiveness of math professional development approaches, and five of those met What Works Clearinghouse evidence standards. Of the five, only two found statistically significant positive effects on student math proficiency.  Professional development approaches used in those two (p. 2) were:

Thus, Gersten et al. (2014) concluded:

...there is very limited causal evidence to guide districts and schools in selecting a math professional development approach or to support developers’ claims about their approaches. The limited research on effectiveness means that schools and districts cannot use evidence of effectiveness alone to narrow their choice. Instead, they must use their best judgment until more causal evidence becomes available. (p. 1)

Why should you consider online learning and technology for your professional development?

When educators learn via technology use, they can better appreciate students' perspectives on what makes technology effective for learning and the frustrations (and how to overcome them) and joy that might be experienced in the process.  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.

There are multiple reasons for using technology. Teacher quality, effectiveness, and, in some cases, employment will be strongly tied to results of Common Core assessments for learners, as tests will be online.  Pre-schoolers and up are using apps on mobile devices.  Hence, there's an expectation that using technology will carry over into all aspects of formal schooling: curriculum, instruction, and assessment.  However, planners of professional development activities should be aware of the components of effective professional development for technology use.  According to the North Central Regional Education Laboratory (2000):

"Professional development for technology use should contain essential components that research has found to be important. These components include the following: a connection to student learning, hands-on technology use, variety of learning experiences, curriculum-specific applications, new roles for teachers, collegial learning, active participation of teachers, ongoing process, sufficient time, technical assistance and support, administrative support, adequate resources, continuous funding, and built-in evaluation." (Components section)

Is online learning right for you?

Question markOnline learning is growing as a means for professional development and at all levels of learning, including K-12.

If you are not sure if online learning is right for you or if you wish to learn more about it, consider the following:

10 Tips for Deciding Whether Online Education Is for You by Ryan Lytle (2012, November 19) at U.S. News & World Report.  You'll also find additional information about online programs in the education section at this site.

AffordableCollegesOnline.org has a database of online colleges by state and degree program.  You'll find information on benefits of learning online, who is best suited, choosing an online program, applying for financial aid and more.

BestColleges.com has a list of top online colleges and includes resources to help you succeed in an online program.  You can also locate online colleges by state and search by degree programs.

There are many quizzes online to help you decide.  Is Online Learning For Me from Washington Online has 11 multiple-choice questions.

 

Back to top

 

Professional Development Programs and Courses for Math Educators

 

Neuroscience Webinars and Research

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.

Neuroscience and Education:  A Review of Educational Interventions and Approaches by Neuroscience (2014, January) was authored by Paul Howard-Jones of the University of Bristol (UK) and commissioned by the Education Endowment Foundation in London.  This review summarizes "the existing education evidence about approaches and interventions that are based, or claim to be based, on neuroscience evidence" (p. 2).  Results are provided for 18 topics, five of which deal with reading and mathematics (e.g., math anxiety, non-symbolic and symbolic representations of number, finger gnosis training, and mental rotation skills).  Examples of other topics include spaced learning, interleaving, testing, learning games, creativity, and personalization.

Do you need a refresher on math concepts?

Man sitting on a stack of books GifIntegrated 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?

MacTutor Logo GifThe 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

HOT: Minds of Modern Mathematics is a free app for iPad from IBM Corporation, which "takes you on an interactive journey that spans nearly 1,000 years. It tells the story of mathematics and how it has impacted almost every aspect of human progress, from science to music, art, architecture, and culture. Minds of Modern Mathematics is a digital recreation of a 50-foot-wide wall installation that was part of the groundbreaking 1961 Mathematica exhibition sponsored by IBM and designed by the legendary design team, Charles and Ray Eames" (Description section). View the IBM press release of April 2012.

 

 

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.

ASCD offerings: http://www.ascd.org/professional-development.aspx

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.

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.

Education Development Center's (EDC) Mathematical Practice Institute: The EDC philosophy centers around developing mathematical habits of mind.  It creates "innovative programs and materials designed specifically to improve mathematics and science teaching and learning at all grade levels.  The Mathematical Practices Institute (MPI) is the result of decades of work focusing on dramatically improving how mathematics is taught and learned. ... MPI can offer curricula, research, technical assistance, and professional development—configured to local or state needs—to help effectively implement the CCSS in ways that are faithful to its design and intent."  The website also includes searchable resources with archived webinars and presentations, essays, white papers, books, curriculum.

Education Week: Math Webinars are free and accessible for a limited time after the original broadcast.

EdTech Leaders Online provides online professional development courses for K-12 educators, including Common Core State Standards (CCSS) courses in Mathematics and English Language Arts (ELA). The CCSS "courses provide teachers and administrators with the pedagogical understanding they need to prepare students to be college and career-ready through the CCSS."  Courses of interest to all educators include such titles addressing blended learning, cell phones as learning tools, classroom assessment enhanced with technology, data-driven decision making, personal learning networks, differentiating instruction, internet safety, learning and teaching with Web 2.0 tools, digital portfolios, universal design, and more.  Pricing varies.

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:

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.

Lynda.com contains an extensive library of professional development video tutorials and courses, such as for multimedia development (e.g., programming software and applications, audio/video, web tech, 3D and animation, photography, audio and music) and a variety of educational topics (e.g., gamification, flipped classrooms, blended learning, classroom management, classroom technologies).

Using Common Core Standards to Enhance Classroom Instruction & AssessmentMarzano Research Laboratory offers free webinars on multiple topics.  For example, you'll find webinars on assessment and grading, the Common Core standards, instructional strategies, school leadership, educational technology, and vocabulary.  Among its publications is Using Common Core Standards to Enhance Classroom Instruction & Assessment by Marzano, Yanoski, Hoegh, and Simms (2013).  This book has two parts.  "Part I, Applying the Common Core State Standards, consists of four chapters.  These chapters outline practical steps that teachers can take to integrate the CCSS into their classroom practices.  Part II, Scoring the Common Core State Standards, provides proficiency scales that teachers can use to measure their students' progress on the CCSS" (2013, p. 8).

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 NCTM and the International Society of Technology in Education.

Math VIDS LogoMathVIDS (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:

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.

NCTM Professional Development Guides show how to "use selected NCTM journal articles and publications in the professional development of teachers.  Goals, activities and questions to integrate NCTM resources into Professional Development, with additional resources on the core topics are provided.  Tips on using any article in teacher professional development are available."  NCTM also produced a series of videos: Teaching and Learning Mathematics with the Common Core.

NMC Academy logoNMC Academy from The New Media Consortium offers free, online mini-courses "to accelerate professional learning among educators, providing personalized and powerful online and offline experiences that inspire and transform teaching practices. The NMC Academy’s courses and events are hosted by a variety of education leaders and specifically designed for busy teachers and faculty" (About section).  Courses take just a few hours each to complete.

PBS Teacherline, funded by a grant from the department of education, provides teachers with facilitated and self-paced professional development courses in science, reading, math, social studies, instructional strategies, and instructional technology.

PD Learning Network provides professional development courses in educational technology for K-12 educators.  "PDLN was founded by innovation-award-winning educators, edtech trainers, and curriculum experts." You'll find courses on "Google, Chromebooks, iPads, 1:1, flipped instruction, digital citizenship, 21st century skills, and more. Educators complete online lessons, submit classroom-centered work for evaluation, earn stackable credentials in trending edtech topics, and come away with relevant curriculum, portable digital badges, and university credit (optional)" (About section).  These video courses are aligned to ISTE standards for teachers.

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:

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.

The Problem with Math is EnglishAlso view SEDL's complementary webinar, The Problem with Math is English, in which author Concepcion Molina of SEDL delves into the importance of integrating English language comprehension lessons into math instruction and provides tips for doing so.  All students, including English language learners, benefit from explicit language instruction integrated into the math curriculum.  Molina also has a 2012 book by the same name.

Staff Development for Educators offers onsite and web-based professional development (PD) for preK-12 educators, and PD events and resources.  There is a database of on-demand complimentary webinars, many of which relate math and the Common Core standards.  Complimentary articles include topics in education, such as English/Language arts, Common Core State Standards, mathematics, 21st century skills, technology, classroom management, early childhood, differentiated instruction, and more.  You'll also find tips, videos, eBooks in the SDE Knowledge Base.

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.

Teacher2Teacher, hosted by The Math Forum at NCTM, is a resource for teachers and parents who have questions about teaching mathematics.

TechLearning.com is an extensive resource for education technology leaders.  They feature news with archived news available, events, webinars, their magazine, blogs, and more.  Don't miss the extensive online resource section, including the Live PD Library on topics such as blended/flipped/personalized learning; coding, makerspaces and STEM; Google in education; Common Core and other forms of assessment; social media; video in the classroom; digital citizenship; mobile computing, and more.

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)

WestEd offers a number of professional development opportunities noted among its "Services" section.  Among those for math are: Math Pathways and Pitfalls Institute, Making Mathematics Accessible to English Learners, Algebra Intervention: Aim for Algebra, Developing Algebraic Thinking workshops, and much more.

 

Back to top

 

K-12 Teacher Quality and Effectiveness

 

Super Teacher in color GifCT4ME takes a position that teacher quality and effectiveness 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).

Fortunately, ESSA addresses evaluation in the section: Supporting Effective Instruction, which includes the provision for "Developing, improving, or providing assistance to local educational agencies to support the design and implementation of teacher, principal, or other school leader evaluation and support systems that are based in part on evidence of student academic achievement, which may include student growth, and shall include multiple measures of educator performance and provide clear, timely, and useful feedback to teachers, principals, or other school leaders" (114th Congress, 2015, p. S1177-119).

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.

An entire passage (section 9214) of ESSA is devoted to changes in wording in relation to "highly qualified" to teach.  The essence is that the term has been replaced and one finds: "the teacher meets applicable State certification and licensure requirements, including any requirements for certification obtained through alternative routes to certification" (114th Congress, 2015, p. S.1177-360).

What about your teacher evaluation?  Are you doing what you need to be doing in and out of the classroom?  Are you effective?

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.  Various models for teacher evaluation have been proposed. 

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 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 should 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).

Charlotte Danielson's Framework for Teaching and associated evaluation instrument is research-based, aligned to InTASC (Interstate Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium) standards, and takes a constructivist view of teaching and learning.  It has 22 components with 76 smaller elements in four domains: planning and preparation, classroom environment, instruction, and professional responsibilities.

The Marzano Teacher Evaluation Model (Marzano, 2013) is being used by a variety of states, districts, and schools across the United States.  The value of this model for teacher evaluation lies in its research base, which includes experimental/control studies, correlational studies, and technology studies conducted over the past five or more decades.  Per Marzano, "the model can be considered an aggregation of the research on those elements that have traditionally been shown to correlate with student academic achievement" (Introduction section).  It includes 60 elements in four domains and a scale from 0-4 (i.e., not using, beginning, developing, applying, innovating):

  1. Classroom Strategies and Behaviors has 41 elements pertaining to segments involving routine events, segments addressing content, and segments enacted on the spot.
  2. Preparing and Planning has eight elements addressing lessons and units, use of materials and technology, and planning and preparing for special needs of students.
  3. Reflecting on Teaching has five elements for evaluating personal performance and developing and implementing a professional growth plan.
  4. Collegiality and Professionalism has six elements for promoting a positive environment, promoting exchange of ideas and strategies, and promoting district and school development.

The Highly Effective Teacher: 7 Classroom-Tested Practices That Foster Student SuccessThe Teacher Intentionality Practice Scale (TIPS), developed by Marshall, Alston, and Smart (2015), is a rubric that can be used to guide professional development and contribute to measuring teacher effectiveness.  TIPS elaborates on seven research-based elements that teachers should provide leading to student achievement:

  1. Coherent, connected learning progression;
  2. Strategies, resources, and technologies that enhance learning;
  3. Safe, respectful, well-organized learning environment;
  4. Challenging, rigorous learning experiences;
  5. Interactive, thoughtful learning;
  6. Creative, problem-solving culture;
  7. Monitoring, assessment, and feedback that guide and inform instruction and learning.

Jeff Marshall (2016) elaborated on TIPS in his book, The Highly Effective Teacher: 7 Classroom-Tested Practices That Foster Student Success.

Where can you learn more on teacher quality and teacher effectiveness?

U.S. Department of Education Assistance:

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.  A valuable feature is the Collaboratory, a virtual community for "connecting, learning, and innovating with teachers to transform education."  Share insights with teachers around the globe and get involved with issues that matter.  Add it for free to your personal learning network.

Center on Great Teachers and Leaders at the American Institutes for Research has extensive resources and publications.  Formerly known as the National Comprehensive Center for Teacher Quality.

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. (2011). Interstate Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (InTASC) model core teaching standards: A resource for state dialogue. Washington, DC: Author. Retrieved from http://www.ccsso.org/resources/programs/interstate_teacher_assessment_consortium_(intasc).html

National Board for Professional Teaching Standards

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 section).  See the publications, databases and resources.  Three documents are of particular relevance:

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.

HOT: Sutton Trust Research:

 

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);
Estimation
40 hours
Algebra Constants, variables, expressions;
Equations;
Graphs, functions
30 hours
Geometry and measurement Measurement;
Basic concepts in plane and solid geometry;
Polygons, circles;
Perimeter, area, surface area, volume
35 hours
Data analysis and probability Probability, data display and analysis 10 hours
Adapted from Greenberg, J., & Walsh, K. (2008). No common denominator: The preparation of elementary teachers in mathematics by America's education schools, p. 17. 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.

College & Universities Find colleges, including online programs, nationwide including tuition costs and scholarship information.  You can search by state or program of interest.

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 on online schools and online degrees in multiple specialties.

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.org has a directory of online schools for multiple degree levels and programs.

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.

Friendly reminder Gif

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: https://education.uky.edu/acadserv/pdac/certification-by-state/  

 

Back to top

 

References

114th Congress of the United States. (2015).  Every Student Succeeds Act.  Retrieved from http://www.ed.gov/esea

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

Center for Public Education (2013). Teaching the teachers: Effective professional development in an era of high stakes accountability.  Alexandria, VA: Author.  Retrieved from http://www.centerforpubliceducation.org/Main-Menu/Staffingstudents/Teaching-the-Teachers-Effective-Professional-Development-in-an-Era-of-High-Stakes-Accountability

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

Council of Chief State School Officers. (2011, April). Interstate teacher assessment and support consortium (InTASC) model core teaching standards: A resource for state dialogue. Washington, DC: Author. Retrieved from http://www.ccsso.org/Resources/Publications/InTASC_Model_Core_Teaching_Standards_A_Resource_for_State_Dialogue_(April_2011).html

Doherty, K. M., & Jacobs, S. (2013, October). State of the States: 2013 Connect the Dots: Using evaluations of teacher effectiveness to inform policy and practice. Washington, DC: National Council on Teacher Quality.  Retrieved from http://www.nctq.org/

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.

Gersten, R., Taylor, M. J., Keys, T. D., Rolfhus, E., & Newman-Gonchar, R. (2014). Summary of research on the effectiveness of math professional development approaches. (REL 2014–010). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, Regional Educational Laboratory Southeast. Retrieved from http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/edlabs/projects/project.asp?projectID=391

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/publications/blog-landing/jsd/2012/06/30/jsd-august-2011-vol.-32-no.-4#.UjNTJsXD98Q

Marshall, J. C., Alston, D. M., & Smart, J. B. (2015). TIPS: Teacher Intentionality of Practice Scale. Retrieved from https://www.clemson.edu/education/inquiry-in-motion/research-evaluation/tips.html

Marzano, R. (2013, May). The Marzano teacher evaluation model.  Retrieved from http://www.marzanocenter.com/Teacher-Evaluation/

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.

North Central Regional Educational Laboratory (2000). Critical issue: Providing professional development for effective technology use. Available from http://rlong.pbworks.com/f/Critical+Issue+Professional+Development+Key.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/sites/default/files/periodicals/curriculum.pdf

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

 

Back to top