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Professional Development for Math Educators

Keys to Teacher Quality GifWhether 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.

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An Introduction to Professional Development

No 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 were 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 highlighted changes in how mathematics would need to be taught.  The initiative also influenced changes in state standards for math.  The bottom line is that professional development is an integral part of teaching.

Learning Forward defines professional development as activities that:

"(A) are an integral part of school and local educational agency strategies for providing educators (including teachers, principals, other school leaders, specialized instructional support personnel, paraprofessionals, and, as applicable, early childhood educators) with the knowledge and skills necessary to enable students to succeed in a well-rounded education and to meet the challenging State academic standards; and

(B) are sustained (not stand-alone, 1-day, or short term workshops), intensive, collaborative, job-embedded, data-driven, and classroom-focused" (About section).

It is actually an ongoing process. According to Learning Forward (2019), "Professional learning that increases educator effectiveness and results for all students ...

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.  For example, STEPS (Student Training and Education in Public Service) features a section on 50 Top Schools for Online Education and Teaching Degrees, which provides information about individual degree programs, the kinds of education degrees available online, careers in education, and more.

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) 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 1000 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 markLisa Nielsen (2008) of the Innovative Educator 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 to find edubloggers of interest to follow (e.g., Vicki Davis's CoolCatTeacher).

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 and Learning 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.

Discovery Educator Network has several education related professional learning communities.  For example, the following are among those that might interest math educators: Adaptive Math Learning, Algebra Readiness, Blended Learning, Building Understanding in Mathematics, Differentiating Instruction with Educational Technology, Game-Based Learning, Mathematics for Young Learners, Open Educational Resources, Research and Evidence in EdTech, and more.  The site also features free webinars and podcasts.

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 "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."

Get Inspired by "Ignite Talks"!

The Math Forum at NCTM created playlists on their YouTube channel from NCTM, NCSM, and the California Mathematics Council conferences dating back to 2010.  Called "Ignite Talks," each playlist includes a series of videos of presentations made by math education leaders.  Each video is about 5 minutes long and sure to inspire.  Some are humorous, others serious, and all contribute to your professional development.



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.  There are eight levels:

Read more about the LoTi Framework at the LoTi Connection and determine your level of teaching innovation via a short flowchart of questions.  Per its description: "The Levels of Teaching Innovation a.k.a LoTi Framework focuses on the delicate balance between instruction, assessment, and the effective use of digital resources to promote higher order thinking, engaged student learning, and authentic assessment practices in the classroom—all vital characteristics of digital age teaching and learning."


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, in a report written for the Center for Public Education, an initiative of the National School Boards Association, Allison Gulamhussein (2013) found:

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:

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), 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:

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:

Questions You Should Ask When Choosing an Online Program, June 2018, will help you do your own research, narrow down choices, and find a program that is right for you.  The authors are from five prominent organizations: Quality Matters, the Online Learning Consortium, WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies, National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements, and Berkeley College Online.  Questions are in six categories: expectations of the program, learning experiences used in the program, student support services, money matters, technology requirements, and outcomes, including career placement and development.

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.

There are many quizzes online to help you decide.  Is Online Learning For Me from Washington State Community and Technical Colleges has 12 multiple choice questions.  The questions are appropriate for all who are considering online learning.


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Professional Development for Math Educators


Would you like an advanced degree or a teaching credential?

Check your state's teacher licensure and certification requirements.

Friendly reminder GifIf 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:


If you are considering online learning, the following may help you. 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. 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.

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

College Degrees Online provides a list of colleges and universities in the U.S. that offer online programs at the bachelor, masters, and doctoral levels, which is searchable by state.  You'll also find information on several degree programs, including teaching degrees. has an extensive list of online master's degree programs throughout the U.S. and additional resources for students. has a directory of online schools for multiple degree levels and programs. offers resources for "Finding the Best Online Education for You."  It includes online degree programs (including masters and doctoral programs) and locations, and also offers teaching certification requirements listed by state.


Neuroscience Webinars and Research

Webinars can provide great opportunities to keep up to date on a variety of topics.  Consider the following:

Brainware Learning Company Webinars include topics on neuroscience and education. The goal is to assist educators with translating the rapid discoveries of neuroscience research into practical application for classroom and clinical practice. There are multiple webinars to choose from.

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:

Mathematics Basic Math 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 gaining a little knowledge of the history of mathematics?

MacTutor LogoThe MacTutor History of Mathematics 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, 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:

The Mathematical Association of America News: On This Day is a section of the site where you can click on any day to learn about a selection of historical events related to mathematics that occurred on that day.


Annenberg Learner: 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.

There are videos workshops dealing with mathematics, which are sorted by gradeband: K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12.  The following are examples:

ASCD offerings:

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.

Education Development Center includes searchable resources for professional development with apps, books, curricula, digital games, reports/studies/white papers, resource libraries, toolkits, videos, webinars.  A search for mathematics reveals multiple resources.

Education Week: Events and Webinars includes free and premium events on a range of education topics.  Also see teaching and learning of Mathematics for education news, analysis, and opinion about math instruction.

Edutopia is a product of the George Lucas Education Foundation, which documents and disseminates models of the most innovative practices in K-12 schools.  A video gallery showcases evidence-based learning practices in K-12.  You'll find a vast collection of topics organized A-Z.  Among those are assessment, blended learning, classroom management, differentiated instruction, financial literacy, game-based learning, math, project-based learning, social and emotional learning, professional learning, technology integration, STEM, and more.

edWeb is a free social networking community and a resource for webinars on topics of interest to preK-12 educators.  Webinars are regularly scheduled and last for about one hour.  Continuing education certificates are available.  There are over 30 professional learning communities to join (e.g., assessment, classroom management, inclusion, innovation & ed tech, math, social/emotional learning, STEM, technology, tutoring, etc.).

Intel-Education will help both experienced teachers and pre-service teachers to integrate technology into instruction and enhance student learning.  Intel's site is rich in professional development materials.

Internet4Classrooms Technology Tutorials can be used with students in a classroom or with teachers in professional development programs.  Software tutorials address Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint), Applications (Inspiration, Kidspiration, DreamWeaver, Internet Explorer), operating systems, and Web 2.0.  This site also contains numerous links to other technology tutorials on the Web.

ISTE U from the International Society for Technology in Education is a hub of best-in-class courses to help you build and explore digital age competencies.  You'll find courses on topics such as project-based learning, personalized learning, open educational resources, computational thinking, digital citizenship, game-based learning, ISTE standards for educators and students, and artificial intelligence.

LinkedIn Learning (formerly 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) and much more.

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).

Mathematical Quality of Instruction (MQI) framework from the Center for Education Policy Research at Harvard University is a program designed to help improve mathematics instruction.  It includes a video library of over 100 short videos of math lessons from grades 3-9, free online training about the MCI domains that can be completed in about 16 hours in 1-2 hour segments, and an MQI rubric, the latter of which addresses the domains:

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.

Mount Holyoke College (MA): Master of Arts in Teaching Mathematics is a degree program "designed for teachers, math coaches, math specialists, and math interventionists in grades K-8."  The two-year online program also involves three summer sessions and includes 8 courses focused on mathematical content, pedagogy, and effective teaching practices and 4 courses on math teacher leaderships.  Math content delves into the K-8 domains for counting and cardinality, number and operations in base 10, operations and algebraic thinking, geometry, ratios and proportions, the number system, expressions and equations, and functions.  (About the Program section)

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.

OTIS for educators imageOTIS for educators (Online Technology and Instructional Sessions) includes an extensive library of courses in over 40 categories to help you to integrate technology into instruction.  Among categories are Apple, Assessment, Blended Learning, Canvas, Digital Citizenship, Math, Project Based Learning, Social Emotional Learning, iPad, STEM, and more.  Some courses are free.  You'll find ISTE standards-aligned courses, closed captioned courses, courses leading to micro-credentialing, and more.  Many can be completed in under an hour.

PBS Learning Media: Professional Development provides teachers with professional development resources in multiple disciplines (science, English language arts, math, social studies and history, the arts, health and physical education), plus categories in planning and preparation, effective instruction, assessment and evaluation, the learning environment, and professional practice.

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.

Also 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.

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. is an extensive resource for education technology leaders.  The site features the Ed Tech Ticker, events, a monthly magazine, a blog, and more.

THE Journal has a series of webinars with a focus on technology.  Webinars are also included in the section for resources.

WestEd offers a number of professional development opportunities, which you can filter by type.  Among those for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math are: Math Pathways and Pitfalls Implementation Models Institute, Making Mathematics Accessible to English Learners, Aim for Algebra Institute, and more.

Youcubed at Stanford University offers three online courses for math educators: How to Learn Math for Teachers, Mathematical Mindsets, and 21st Century Teaching and Learning: Data Science.  This latter focuses on integrating data science into teaching.  For live classes, there are two types: in-person at Stanford and virtual workshops.  Youcube also provides ideas, tasks, videos, lessons, and other resources for teaching math.


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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 a 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.

If you are an educator, you should self-evaluate your teaching.  If you are an administrator, you might look at domains of effective teaching for their potential to provide feedback to teachers in a more substantive way.

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. 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).  Note:  Marshall's Teacher Evaluation Rubrics, revised in August 2011, are open-source and available online.

Reeves (2010) 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 Focused Teacher Evaluation Model (Carbaugh, Marzano, & Toth, 2017) 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.  Per Marzano, "Focused on elements that support a teacher in developing expertise, the Focused Model concentrates measurable teacher actions and capabilities into 23 essential behaviors to measure teacher effectiveness within four areas of expertise" (p. 7).  Those areas are "Standards-Based Planning (3 elements); Standards-Based Instruction (10 elements), Conditions for Learning (7 elements), and Professional Responsibilities (3 elements)" (p. 9).

The 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.

The Highly Effective Teacher: 7 Classroom-Tested Practices That Foster Student Success

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

Qualities of Effective Teachers, 3rd edition

As in Reeves (2010), James Stronge (2018) provided a research-based framework for effective teaching, which addresses six domains.  In his Qualities of Effective Teachers, 3rd edition, you'll also find an updated teacher skills assessment checklist associated with the domains.


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

In terms of keeping up to date and remaining an effective teacher, the rise of artificial intelligence has prompted educators to learn more about it.  The following e-book is a good starting point:

Exploring new horizons: Generative artificial intelligence and teacher educationSearson, M., Langran, E., & Trumble, J. (Eds). (2024). Exploring new horizons: Generative artificial intelligence and teacher education. Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE).

This e-book focuses "on practical applications, ethical considerations, and the future of teaching" and "aims to equip educators with insights to ethically and equitably navigate GenAI's evolving role, ensuring it serves as a tool for innovative, inclusive, and effective teaching" (Abstract section).

Mathematics educators will appreciate the e-book chapter Embracing ChatGPT in the Evolving Landscape of Mathematics Teacher Education and Assessment by Angie Hodge-Zickerman and Cindy York (pp. 111-128).

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 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 is its document: Interstate Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (InTASC) model core teaching standards: A resource for state dialogue (2011).

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.  The following documents are of particular interest:

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.  Note: Effective October 28, 2019, iNACOL changed its name to the Aurora Institute to reflect its shift in focus from educational technology to competency-based, personalized learning.

Rand Corporation: Measuring Teacher Effectiveness is a resource for teachers, administrators, parents, and policymakers.  It features fact sheets and more on this topic.  Educators might be interested in a summary of key methods, noted by Jonathan Schweig (2019) in Measuring Teacher Effectiveness: Understanding Common, Uncommon and Combined Methods.  He concluded: "No single method provides a complete picture of a teacher’s effectiveness; fair, accurate, and actionable appraisals of teaching quality depend on having information from multiple, complementary sources of information" (p. 2).

HOT: Sutton Trust Research: In What makes great teaching?, Robert Coe, Cesare Aloisi, Steve Higgins, and Lee Elliot Major (2014, October) reported on reviews of "over 200 pieces of research to identify the elements of teaching with the strongest evidence of improving attainment.  [Their review noted] some common practices can be harmful to learning and have no grounding in research. Specific practices which are supported by good evidence of their effectiveness are also examined and six key factors that contribute to great teaching are identified. The report also analyses different methods of evaluating teaching including: using ‘value-added’ results from student test scores; observing classroom teaching; and getting students to rate the quality of their teaching" (Summary section).


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);
40 hours
Algebra Constants, variables, expressions;
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.

*The National Council on Teacher Quality (2019) noted that "Strong coursework that addresses all elementary mathematics topics listed above through both lectures and assignments generally requires two to three semester-long courses" (p. 11).

Note: See Mathematics for Elementary Teachers by Professor Michele Manes (2017) at the University of Hawai`i at Mānoa.  Per its Introduction: "This book will help you to understand elementary mathematics more deeply, gain facility with creating and using mathematical notation, develop a habit of looking for reasons and creating mathematical explanations, and become more comfortable exploring unfamiliar mathematical situations."  You'll delve into the mathematical practices for teaching mathematics using a problem-based approach, rather than just teaching via a skill development approach using "exercises."  You can download it for free.  The book is "licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted."


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107th Congress of the United States. (2002). Public Law 107-110: No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.  [NOTE: Document has 670 pages with the first numbered as 115 STAT. 1425.]

114th Congress of the United States. (2015). Every Student Succeeds Act.

ASCD. (2003). What professional development structures best affect classroom instruction? ASCD Research Brief, 1(15).

Carbaugh, B., Marzano, R., & Toth, M. (2017). The Marzano focused teacher evaluation model [Note: also see additional information on the model in]

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.

Charp, S. (2003, June). Professional development. THE Journal, 30(11), 8.

Coe, R., Aloisi, C., Higgins, S., & Major, L. E. (2014, October 30). What makes great teaching? The Sutton Trust.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Gulamhussein, A. (2013). Teaching the teachers: Effective professional development in an era of high stakes accountability. Alexandria, VA: Center for Public Education.

Intrator, S., & Kunzman, R. (2006). Starting with the soul. Educational Leadership, 63(6), 39-42.

Learning Forward. (2019). Standards for professional learning: Quick reference guide.

Marshall, J. C., Alston, D. M., & Smart, J. B. (2015). TIPS: Teacher Intentionality of Practice Scale.

National Council on Teacher Quality. (2011, October). State of the states: Trends and early lessons on teacher evaluation and effectiveness policies. Washington, DC: Author.

National Coucil on Teacher Quality. (2019, April). A fair chance: An action guide for teacher preparation programs. Washington, DC: Author.

National Mathematics Advisory Panel. (2008). Foundations for success: The final report of the National Mathematics Advisory Panel. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education.

National Staff Development Council. (2001). E-learning for educators: Implementing the standards for staff development. Oxford, OH: Author.

Nielsen, L. (2008, October 12). 5 things you can do to begin developing your personal learning network. The Innovative Educator.

North Central Regional Educational Laboratory. (2000). Critical issue: Providing professional development for effective technology use.

Poplin, C. (2003, June). Models of professional development. THE Journal, 30(11), 38-40.

Reeves, D. (2010). Transforming professional development into student results. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

Rooney, J. (2007). The principal connection / Who owns teacher growth? Educational Leadership, 64(7), 87-88.

Schmidt, W. (2002, Summer). The benefit to subject-matter knowledge (p. 8). In A Coherent Curriculum: The Case of Mathematics by W. Schmidt, R. Houang, and L. Cogan, American Educator, pp. 1-18.

Stronge, J. (2018). Qualities of effective teachers (3rd ed.). Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

Stumbo, C., & McWalters, P. (2010). Measuring effectiveness: What will it take? Educational Leadership, 68(4), 10-15.

U.S. Department of Education. (2004). No Child Left Behind: A Toolkit for Teachers.


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