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Teacher Development and Seventh Graders’ Achievement on Representing and Solving Equations

Abstract

"We analyze the impact of a teacher development program based on a functions approach to algebra on 7th graders understanding of equations and examine how students' score gains during the academic year relate to their teachers' initial level of mathematical knowledge of algebra, functions, and graphs. Students from participating teachers' and their control peers completed a mathematics assessment at the start and at the end of the school year the teachers were taking the program. We determined teachers' initial levels of mathematics knowledge through a written assessment given at the start of the program. Although both groups of students improved from the start to the end of the school year, the students from participating teachers showed significantly greater improvement. Moreover, among control students', improvement in creating, solving, and interpreting equations was positively correlated with their teachers' initial levels of mathematical knowledge. Improvement among students of cohort teachers in the same items was high regardless of their teachers' initial performance in the assessment, with students of teachers in the low level group showing the highest gains."

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