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Appalachian Mathematics and Science Partnership Research Conference Archive


AMSP Research Conference Agenda
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AUTHORS TITLE DESCRIPTION OF PRESENTATION SLIDES
Section One: Large-scale Studies of AMSP Teachers and Students
Douglas Owens The Connected Classroom for Promoting Mathematics and Science Achievement: Implementation and Research Trial Keynote Address

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William Craig, Betsy Evans, Eugenia Tome Evaluating the Effectiveness of the Appalachian Math and Science Partnership on Student Achievement The purpose of this study is to assess whether the Appalachian Math and Science Partnership (AMSP) has been effective in reducing the educational achievement gaps that exist in Central Appalachia. This study looks at 1,171 Kentucky public schools over six years for a total of 5,086 observations and controls for achievement prior to the introduction of the AMSP program. The statistical analysis focuses on math scores and science scores reported by the Kentucky Department of Education. The study calls for future studies using individual student data matched to specific teachers.

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Xin Ma, Lingling Ma The Challenge of Separating Project Effects on Student Achievement: The Case of ARSI and AMSP When multiple educational projects operate in an overlapping or rear-ended manner, it is a challenge to separate unique project effects on schooling outcomes. Our analysis represents a first attempt to address this challenge. Using data from the Commonwealth Accountability Testing System that the state of Kentucky has implemented for years, we separated the effects of two educational projects aimed at improving mathematics and science education in the Appalachian region: the Appalachian Rural Systemic Initiative (ARSI) closely followed by the Appalachian Mathematics and Science Partnership (AMSP).

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JoAnn Cady, Thomas Hodges, Mark Taylor Reaching Rural Mathematics Teachers through Technology Traditional forms of licensure for middle grades teachers often fail to address both the content and pedagogical needs for teaching middle school students. Rural middle grades mathematics teachers also have difficulty finding opportunities for professional development near their homes or schools. With funding from the Appalachian Mathematics and Science Partnership, the authors developed four online classes to reach these rural teachers. Current research regarding adult learners, professional development, and adolescent learning were used in designing these classes. Early findings indicate participation in these classes resulted in growth in pedagogical content knowledge of mathematics and increases in their collegial interactions.

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Megan Streams, Eugenia Toma Salaries of Kentucky Public School Teachers through Time: A Novel Statewide Individual-level Dataset The goal of this study is to investigate determinants and patterns of teacher compensation over a six-year period in Kentucky, with specific attention to potential differences between Appalachian and non-Appalachian districts. Policymaker concern over student achievement gaps in math and science in Appalachia has led to new initiatives to improve teacher preparation and ongoing professional development in these areas. We address the following research questions in this project: How do measures of teacher compensation in Appalachian and non-Appalachian districts and schools in Kentucky compare? What is the compensation of teachers relative to other comparable professions in the two regions? We use a novel statewide six-year dataset of individual teacher salaries, credentials, experience, and other school and district characteristics to address these questions.

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Section Two: Appalachian Teachers' Content Knowledge
Meg Moss Specialized Understanding of Mathematics: A Study of Prospective Elementary Teachers Elementary teachers need a specialized mathematical knowledge for teaching. This presentation will begin by considering what this specialized knowledge is and how to assess it. Then research results will be shared of a study of prospective elementary teachers before and after their mathematics teaching methods at four universities. The research examines what mathematics these prospective teachers had as they entered their methods course, whether it grew during their methods course, and what learning opportunities during their methods course may have led to growth.

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Ron Atwood, John Christopher, Rebecca McNall Are Inservice Elementary Teachers Prepared to Teach Fundamental Concepts of Magnets and the Behavior of Magnets? A set of five multiple-choice tasks with popular non-scientific conceptions embedded in the distracter options was the primary source of data for this descriptive study. In addition, an explanation of each multiple-choice selection was requested, as was an indication of the level of confidence with which the selection was made and an explanation provided. The non-random sample consisted of 20 inservice elementary teachers from central Appalachia. Results, discussed by task, reveal the teachers as a group had been inadequately prepared. Implications for both preservice and inservice teacher education are discussed.

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John Staver Rural Science Education: Aligning Purposes, Policies, Programs, and Practices  

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Patrick Coen, Landrea Miriti, Michael Ratliff, Edna Schack Developing a Research Lesson for Preservice Teachers: Lesson Study in Higher Education Often pre-service elementary teachers become pre-occupied with remembering/mastering procedures for performing operations with fractions. They lose sight of the importance of understanding the unique value or amount represented by a fraction in a variety of situations. Our goal was to create a research lesson that assists in developing an understanding of the concept of a fraction and awareness of and connections between multiple representations of fractions. Data collected through our first cycle of Lesson Study (plan, teach, debrief, revise) informed the revisions that led to greater emphasis on the development by students of a working definition of a fraction.

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Section Three: Exploring Partnership in Appalachia
Jane Jensen
Appalachian Aspirations his study explores the transition from high school to college for 18 Appalachian students and questions how the students' personal beliefs regarding the nature of knowledge in the domains of math and science are influenced by their interpretations of formal credentialing and place-based local knowledge systems. By talking with students, their peers, and their family members in two geographically similar, yet economically different communities, this research also examines the critical component of parent/community engagement in student achievement and contributes to our understanding of the rural context as it pertains to learning and teaching in mathematics, science, and technology (MST).

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Barbara Duncan Examining AMSP Partnerships: Increasing Capacity for Distributed Leadership This research examines leadership in relation to 10 AMSP Partnership Enhancement Projects. In particular, this study analyzes how leadership is distributed across institutions, people, and resources in relation to partnership outcomes. Methods involve a survey and a structured interview of project leaders, higher education partners, and participating teachers. Preliminary insights from this research suggest that while these partnerships greatly benefited from improved math and science curricula and teacher preparation, perhaps the most significant and sustainable leadership outcomes stem from the relationships, collaborations, and inter-district awareness that develop from partnership networks.

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Jeff Bieber, Karen Carey, Beth Goldstein Partnerships in Context Researching what attributes allow partnerships to develop and flourish, we analyzed partnership activity data to identify one "high activity" and one "low activity" locale. At these locales, we conducted interviews of 42 individuals (school personnel, community organization personnel, and university faculty). Interviews explored general partnerships, educational partnerships, and AMSP partnerships particularly. From these comparative data, Social Network Analysis maps were developed depicting the variety of partnership networks at each site. Results document that the extent of AMSP involvement is in part an outcome of 1) local conceptualizations of how to value partnership; 2) local interaction patterns; and 3) key actors.

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Sarah Murray The Effects of Peer Coaching on Teachers' Collaborative Interactions and Student Achievement This study examined the AMSP Mentored Implementation Program (MIP). An intervention group of six teachers receiving peer coaching through the MIP and their 202 corresponding students was compared with a control group of 5 teachers and their 105 students who did not participate in the MIP. Analysis of peer feedback discourse revealed the conferences focused primarily on questions related to clarifications of observations and feedback concerning the mathematical content and strategies implemented during the classroom observation. Teachers reported that the discussion and information shared had a positive effect on their teaching and that they would participate in future MIP peer collaborations. Peer coaching had no significant effect on students' performance.

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Harold Peach, Josh Paulette, Barbara Shoemaker, Donald Long, Stephen Henderson Appalachian Mathematics and Science Partnership (AMSP) Needs Analysis Surveys: Methodology and [Preliminary] Results These slides describe a survey that was conducted by the Appalachian Mathematics and Science Partnership in the fall of 2006 and the spring of 2007. This survey consisted of a focus group, which facilitated the development of an online survey that was administered to 2,175 educators from AMSP partner school districts. The justification for, methodology and results of this survey are described herein. This survey indicated that most respondents were, in general, quite willing to identify need areas as salient for their school or district, and that administrators were more likely to identify salient need areas than were teachers.

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