Math Specialists Coach & Support Effective Math Instruction
The NSF Mathematics Specialist Partnership Institute is being offered to 50 outstanding middle school teachers. Each teacher is participating in a 66 day Institute offered over three consecutive summers; completing a total of 33 graduate credits during the Institute sessions and the subsequent academic years; earning a master’s degree featuring pedagogical content mathematics and education leadership courses and a Mathematics Specialist certification. Each of the participants will serve as a Specialist within their home school district. The project is based on research on a developed and refined program which has prepared and has inducted over 250 Mathematics Specialists into K-5 schools in Virginia. The exciting results from the prior research, which used control groups in the experimental design, indicate the statistically significant and positive impact of Specialists on teacher beliefs and ultimately student learning as measured on the high stakes Virginia Standards of Learning tests.
The established K-5 preparation program has been refined and adapted to the curricula needs in grades 6-8. An extensive qualitative and quantitative research program will measure the impact on the mathematical knowledge of participants and their work as teachers and coaches. The study will include pairs of middle schools from which one school will be randomly selected as a treatment school that will receive a Specialist prepared in the Institute. The quantitative study will compare the impact on the beliefs of teachers and the performance of students on the Virginia Standards of Learning tests in the treatment schools, compared to those in the control schools.