West Texas Middle School Math Partnership: A partnership of four institutions of higher education serving 15,168 teachers with 199,584 students spread over 84,000 square miles of West Texas
The WTMSMP fosters middle level mathematics teachers’ deeper conceptual understanding of mathematics and also targets self-efficacy building for teachers as well as self-efficacy building and culturally sensitive teaching strategies to promote student learning. WTMSMP cohort I teachers completed their three courses and cohort II teachers completed their first course in the summer of 2011. Pretesting of cohort II allowed an excellent comparison for cohort I’s final posttest and revealed statistically significant differences favoring cohort I teachers’ Mathematics Knowledge for Teaching, Teaching Self-Efficacy and Self-Efficacy for Culturally Responsive Teaching. Statistically significant within participant growth in conceptual knowledge assessed through MKT scores and a measure developed by the project evaluation team was observed across 6 assessed time points across 3 years for cohort I and from pretest to posttest in year I for cohort II. Statistically significant within participant growth was also observed for the self-efficacy measures. Evidence is present to suggest that the participant teachers’ conceptual understanding of mathematics is growing.
The emphasis of the project is now analyzing measures of teachers’ implementation of their knowledge. The Student Perceptions of Teachers’ Success (SPOTS) was developed to allow repeated student ratings of teachers’ classroom behavior related to project implementation and is presently being introduced. Additionally, students’ levels of self-efficacy for specific mathematical tasks and their standardized test scores are being collected for evaluation. The WTMSMP is moving into its final stage of implementation to evaluate the association between teacher participants’ instruction and the math achievement of West Texas middle school students.