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ALAN O'BRYAN

Project Researcher

Abstract

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Pathways to Calculus: Disseminating and Scaling a Professional Development Model for Algebra through Precalculus Teaching and Learning

Project Pathways is a Phase II targeted MSP that identified attributes of professional development for secondary mathematics and science teachers that resulted in substantive and sustained improvements in student learning, as documented by student performance on district exams, state exams, and research-based tools.

Project Pathways uses the Pathways Professional Development Model to address teachers’ often weak and fragmented understanding of key concepts in secondary mathematics and their limited ability to attend to student thinking because of weak mathematical understanding. This model includes 1) in-class student activities with detailed teacher notes that articulate desirable and undesirable ways of thinking for each activity, 2) computer animations and PowerPoints designed to support teachers in leading conceptually oriented conversations designed to engage students in quantitative and covariational reasoning, 3) exams and other assessments to support precalculus teachers in evaluating student learning, and 4) annual week-long professional development workshops.

A minimum of 150 high school mathematics teachers will be involved in addition to university and community college instructors and faculty as part of a study on scaling the Pathways Professional Development Model. The products of this research will contribute knowledge and tools for scaling up the Pathways Professional Development Model in the Precalculus level mathematics (including precalculus, college algebra, trigonometry and high school algebra II).