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The Middle School Mathematics Professional Development Impact Study: Findings After the First Year of Implementation

Abstract

"Results after one year of providing teachers math professional development (PD) indicate no improvement on their students' math achievement when compared to teachers who did not receive the study-provided PD. The study included 77 schools in 12 districts in 2007-2008. The PD, although purposely designed to be relevant to the curricula that teachers were using in their classrooms, focused primarily on developing teachers' capability to teach positive rational number topics effectively. America's Choice and Pearson Achievement Solutions were the two professional development providers, each operating in half the districts. Teachers who taught the core 7th grade mathematics class in the study schools were assigned by lottery to either receive the professional development or not. Teachers in all of the study schools continued to be eligible for district-provided PD.

Other key findings include:

* Professional development for the teachers produced no statistically significant impact on their students' achievement in the areas covered by the training --ratio, proportion, fractions, percentages, decimals.

* The training did have a statistically significant impact on one of three measures of teacher practice -- "frequency with which teachers engaged in activities that elicited student thinking."

* The training did not have a statistically significant impact on measured teacher knowledge.

* The study's program was implemented as intended and on average resulted in an additional 55 hours of math professional development during the 2007-08 school year.

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