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Website: Assessing Secondary Teachers' Habits of Mind


Boston University, Education Development Center, Inc., and St. Olaf College are collaborating on Assessing Secondary Teachers' Algebraic Habits of Mind (ASTAHM) to develop instruments to assess secondary teachers' mathematical habits of mind (MHoM). These habits can bring parsimony, focus, and coherence to teachers' mathematical thinking and, in turn, to their work with students. Indeed, we envision MHoM as a critical component of mathematical knowledge for teaching at the secondary level. Recognizing the need for a scientific approach to investigate the ways in which MHoM is an indicator of teacher effectiveness, we are researching the following questions:
  1. How do teachers who engage MHoM when doing mathematics for themselves also bring MHoM to their teaching practice?
  2. How are teachers' engagement with MHoM and their use of these habits in teaching related to student understanding and achievement?

To investigate these questions, we are developing two instruments: a paper and pencil (P&P) assessment and an observation protocol that measure teachers' knowledge and classroom use, respectively, of MHoM. Our work fits into a larger research agenda with the ultimate goal of understanding the connections between secondary teachers' mathematical knowledge for teaching and secondary students' mathematical understanding and achievement. The MHoM construct is closely aligned with the Common Core, and especially its Standards for Mathematical Practice. For example, both place importance on seeking and using mathematical structure. Thus our instruments can act as pre- and post- measures of the effectiveness of professional development programs in preparing teachers to implement the Common Core. Mathematics teacher knowledge at the secondary level is an understudied field. Through analyses of the practices and habits of mind that teachers bring to their work, ASTAHM is developing instruments that can be used to shed light on effective secondary teaching.


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