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District-Wide Reform of Mathematics and Science Instruction: Case Studies of Four SCALE Partner Districts

Abstract

This paper is a synthesis of case studies of four districts that implemented multifaceted reforms aimed at offering rigorous instruction in mathematics and science for all students. The districts-urban or urbanizing and ranging in size from medium to very large-were partners with three universities in System-wide Change for All Learners and Educators (SCALE), a National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded Math and Science Partnership (MSP) project. Rigorous instruction for all students requires depth and breadth of impact. To achieve these ambitious goals, the districts adopted and adapted a combination of policies (formal and informal) under a common theory of action jointly articulated and developed by and for the partnership.

This paper describes the partnership, the common theory of action, evaluative criteria derived from the theory, implementation in each district, and the effectiveness of the reforms measured against the theory of action. The paper concludes by suggesting models for effective district policy in other districts.

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