July 26, 2021
July 26, 2021
July 19, 2022
Algebra I, formally described as a course covering expressions, functions, inequalities, systems of equations, exponents, real numbers and polynomials, has been known as a predictor of student success and college readiness. With this in mind, there is an urgent need to improve student performance in these courses. This paper describes a unique teacher professional development program that has the goal of increasing student success in mathematics using inquiry and team-based pedagogical strategies and integrating other STEM subject-area concepts into mathematics classrooms. In this article, we describe this regional, year-long professional development program composed of mathematics and science teacher pairs from the same campus. The program was designed to pair educators across content areas to discuss and implement best practices for teaching a curriculum aligning mathematics and science Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS). The cohort of 79 8th and 9th grade mathematics and science teachers received over 100 hours of training throughout the year with the primary goals of providing resources and training, connecting mathematics and science classrooms, and providing teachers with team-building, mentoring and support. The educator cohort experienced both collaborative and inquiry-based, grade-level and content-specific professional development sessions. Teacher participants responded favorably to the program and that resulted in significant changes in teacher and student outcomes.
We evaluated the impact of the program on teachers through interviews, pre and post content tests, along with surveys. Several themes were apparent in the evaluation including an appreciation for learning how grade-level science themes can provide meaningful context for mathematics instruction and how peer-observation and mentoring opportunities are imperative for teachers of all levels of experience. Participating teachers had significant gains in both leadership assessments (total gain of 18.8%, p<0.05) and Algebra content post-tests (gain of 13%, p<0.05) using the Diagnostic Mathematics Assessments for Middle School Teachers (DTAMS). They also reported growth in readiness to teach core mathematics standards, teach mathematics to diverse student populations and implement inquiry-based mathematics techniques.
Student evaluation was primarily conducted through an analysis of student performance on state mathematics assessments. Employing the Texas Education Research Center (EdRC) database, which is a repository of Texas Education Agency (TEA) data, we have found that students of participating teachers had a significant increase in their performance on the Algebra I mandated state assessment test as compared to a well-matched group of comparison students. The mean score on the state Algebra I test for students of these teachers was 4065.3 (N=2456), in contrast to the mean scores of the comparison student group of 3954.7 (N=24,560). It is interesting to note that this correlates to participating teachers’ students having an average score in the “Meets Expectations” category while the comparison group fell in the “Approaches Expectations” category as defined by the Texas Education Agency (TEA). This report will provide a practical groundwork for crafting cross-curricular professional development opportunities that lead to increased teacher self-efficacy and student achievement on standardized mathematics assessments.
Antoine, A. J., & Obenland, C. A., & Ramirez, R., & Barr, C., & Cushing, M., & Nichol, C. A. (2021, July), Using Science Concepts in a Mathematics Professional Development Program To Improve Student’s Standardized Test Scores Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. https://peer.asee.org/37999
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