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2006Research Conference | June 15–16

This conference highlighted the work of invited speakers, independent researchers who have received grant funds from the Institute of Education Sciences, and trainees supported through predoctoral training grants and postdoctoral fellowships. The presentations are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the U.S. Department of Education or the Institute of Education Sciences.
Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill
400 New Jersey Avenue, N.W.
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Rich Problems as a Lever for Change: An Experimental Study of the Effects of a Professional Development Program on Students' Mathematics Learning

R. Santagata, Lesson Lab Research Institute
J. Stigler, Lesson Lab Research Institute
K. Givvin, Lesson Lab Research Institute
N. Kersting, Lesson Lab Research Institute

Abstract: This study was designed to test the hypothesis - emerging from the TIMSS 1999 Video Study - that mathematics achievement of U.S. students might be improved if teachers could be taught to implement rich problems more effectively in their classrooms. A professional development program was designed to support teachers in this endeavor. A total of 72 sixth-grade teachers from 5 low-performing inner-city schools were randomly assigned to one of two groups: early-treatment (ET) or delayed-treatment (DT). The early-treatment group participated in the professional development program in year one while the delayed-treatment group received only the professional development normally offered by their school district. In year two, the delayed-treatment group started the professional development program while the early-treatment group continued in a second year of the program. Teachers' participation in the program, knowledge, beliefs, classroom practice, and students' learning all were measured. Results after year one indicated that even though implementation of the program was difficult, effects nevertheless were found on students' learning (as indicated by performance assessments and district benchmark assessments) and on classroom practice.