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Five Key Features

Here we provide an explanation of the five key components or characteristics that must be incorporated into each MSP project's efforts. The excerpt below is taken directly from the 2004 MSP Program Solicitation.


Each Comprehensive, Targeted and Institute Partnership must incorporate ALL of the five following Key Features, although the manifestation of these Key Features may differ between Partnerships. Each MSP-RETA project must identify the Key Features to be addressed and describe how its work contributes to the underlying knowledge base for those features.

Targeted and Institute projects partner disciplinary faculty in mathematics, the sciences and/or engineering, education faculty and administrators in higher education with administrators, teachers and guidance counselors in participating K-12 core partner organizations. These Partnerships draw upon the disciplinary expertise of faculty in mathematics, the sciences and/or engineering, undergraduate students (including pre-service), graduate students, and postdoctoral candidates in the higher education core partner organizations, and link these individuals with in-service teachers, administrators and guidance counselors in K-12 core partner organizations. Scientists, mathematicians, engineers and individuals from other core and supporting partner organizations may also play significant roles in project activities. Core partners are deeply engaged in the effort at both the institutional and individual levels, and share goals, responsibilities and accountability for the project.
Partnerships enhance and sustain the quality, quantity and diversity of K-12 teachers of mathematics and/or the sciences. Drawing upon the expertise of scientists, mathematicians and/or engineers in partner organizations, pre-service students and in-service K-12 teachers are engaged in the development of strong mathematics and/or science content knowledge and related pedagogical methods and skills, including the effective use of technology in the teaching of mathematics and/or the sciences. These activities support the challenging courses and curricula implemented in the K-12 core partner organizations. Partnerships also develop and apply innovative strategies for: increasing the diversity of the K-12 teacher workforce; recruiting qualified individuals to the teaching profession; influencing the teacher certification process; providing for the effective induction of new teachers; establishing policies and procedures that appropriately impact teacher qualification requirements and placement; and/or increasing teacher retention rates. Projects ensure that K-20 educators develop the knowledge and skills necessary to effectively match local and state standards with challenging courses and curricula, instructional strategies, learning technologies and assessments.
Partnerships ensure that K-12 students are prepared for, have access to and are encouraged to participate and succeed in challenging mathematics and/or science courses and curricula. Challenging coursework enables all students to develop a deeper understanding of mathematics and/or the sciences. Innovative approaches integrate a mastery of fundamentals with the more sophisticated conceptual understandings essential to improve student achievement in mathematics and the sciences, drawing "where appropriate" upon computer-communications technology and contemporary research on the science of learning to enhance student and teacher access and performance. Challenging courses and curricula are aligned with State mathematics and science student academic achievement standards, resulting in a greater number of students participating and succeeding in advanced courses. Projects ensure that K-12 students develop sufficient depth and breadth of content knowledge, skills and ways of thinking to allow them to apply the mathematics and/or science knowledge and skills acquired throughout life.
Project design is informed by current research and studies on learning and teaching. Project outcomes make evidence-based contributions to the learning and teaching knowledge base, so that research findings and successful evidence-based strategies can be broadly disseminated to improve educational practice. Projects also link assessment (classroom, local and state) and accountability measures. Collected data include both student and teacher indicators in mathematics and/or the sciences; and are disaggregated by race, ethnicity, socio-economic status, gender and disability. Indicators that measure the effectiveness of the Partnership; the impact of the contributions made by faculty in the sciences, mathematics and/or engineering; the effect of new institutional policies and practices; and other important factors are developed, collected and analyzed to inform the continuous refinement of the project.
To ensure project sustainability, K-20 core partner organizations redirect resources and design and implement new policies and practices to result in well-documented, inclusive and coordinated institutional change at both the college/university and the local school district level. Higher education core partners reward faculty in mathematics, the sciences and/or engineering for strengthening their own teaching practices and for their work in K-20 mathematics and science education, including K-12 teacher preparation and professional development. K-12 core partner organizations create and sustain an environment that values an evidence-based approach and that recognizes and rewards significant contributions to improved mathematics and science learning and teaching. Other core partners commit to engaging mathematicians, scientists and/or engineers and other individuals in activities that strengthen their roles in K-12 mathematics and science education for the long-term.