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Focusing on Mathematical Knowledge: The Impact of Content-Intensive Teacher Professional Development

Abstract

"A popular strategy for improving student achievement in math is to provide teachers with professional development (PD) that deepens their conceptual understanding of math. This report examines the effectiveness of such a PD program. The PD program included an 80-hour summer workshop (Intel Math) that focused on grades K-8 math, as well as 13 additional hours of collaborative meetings focused on analyzing student work and one-on-one coaching based on observations of teachers' lessons. More than 200 4th-grade teachers from six districts in five states were randomly assigned to either a treatment group that received the study PD or a control group that did not. The study PD had a positive impact on teachers' math knowledge and on their use and quality of mathematical explanations in class. However, the study PD did not have a positive impact on student achievement."

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