Skip Navigation
Funding Opportunities | Search Funded Research Grants and Contracts

IES Grant

Title: Making Middle School Mathematics Accessible for All Students (M3A2S)
Center: NCER Year: 2010
Principal Investigator: Hauk, Shandy Awardee: WestEd
Program: Teaching, Teachers, and the Education Workforce      [Program Details]
Award Period: 3 years (9/1/2010-8/31/2013) Award Amount: $1,499,234
Type: Development and Innovation Award Number: R305A100454

Co-Principal Investigators: Cathy Carroll

Purpose: In this project, researchers will use an iterative design to produce a well-specified, professional development (PD) course and facilitator guide designed to support middle school mathematics teachers, paraprofessionals, and teacher-leaders in effectively teaching all students. The project will apply findings from cognitive science and research-based PD best practices in supporting teachers as they learn to plan, instruct, and reflect on lessons that: (1) incorporate mathematical language; (2) seek and respond to student thinking; and (3) scaffold instructional conversation with and within small groups of students.

Project Activities: In the first two years of the project, the team will develop the PD working with teachers in four different schools. In the final year of the project, researchers will use a quasi-experimental pre-post pilot study to examine the promise of the intervention for student learning. Revisions and refinement will take place as the researchers develop and test the PD course across all three years of the project.

Products: Products include a fully developed professional development course and facilitator guide for middle school mathematics teachers, paraprofessionals, and teacher-leaders. Peer reviewed publications will also be produced.

Project Website:

Structured Abstract

Setting: This study will take place in middle schools in California, Texas, and Colorado.

Sample: The sample will include teachers, paraprofessionals, and district teacher-leaders, along with middle school students from culturally, socio-economically, and linguistically diverse settings.

Intervention: The intervention highlights a professional development course and facilitator guide designed to support middle school math teachers, paraprofessionals, and teacher-leaders, specifically in the mathematics of pattern and rate. By the end of the PD course, teachers will have improved their awareness of the personal skills they and their students bring to learning, understanding of how to target both language proficiency and mathematical content goals in teaching, and will have begun to develop mental models for understanding the complex interactions between language, culture, and school.

Research Design and Methods: The design cycle for this project involves 2 pilot sites in Year 1, 4 sites in Year 2, and a quasi-experimental study of student outcomes in Year 3. Three areas of research are planned: applied research on teacher and student outcomes, basic research on assessing mathematics pedagogical content knowledge (PCK), and an evaluation of the promise of the intervention.

The first year long cycle of PD development at 2 pilot sites in urban California settings includes a summer institute and academic year teacher-leader facilitated follow-up work with learning teams by way of Web 2.0 technologies. Project personnel will develop PD materials during the first year from the published Making Mathematics Accessible guidebook and Aim for Algebra, an intervention pre-algebra curriculum designed for student and teacher learning. Focus group teachers will carry out the initial piloting of PD lessons during the academic year before the first summer institute. Each learning team will culminate their year of PD with a presentation at a local conference. The second cycle of development expands to include 2 more pilot schools in 2 new socio-culturally diverse settings: rural Colorado and suburban southern Texas. In Year 3, a quasi-experimental study of student learning will include the students of at least 30 teachers (20 participating, 10 experientially-matched non-participating).

Control Condition: In this study, teachers in the comparison condition will receive standard PD.

Key Measures: Growth in participants' mathematics content knowledge, PCK, and intercultural development will be measured using established valid and reliable instruments. Supplemental qualitative data will be collected through group interviews, open-ended survey items, teacher professional documents, and observations of participants' conference presentations. Student learning will be measured (pre/post) by instruments from previous Aim for Algebra studies.

Data Analytic Strategy: Quantitative analysis strategies include calculation of overall and subgroup means, examination of effect sizes, and Cohen's d.

Products and Publications

Journal article, monograph, or newsletter

Hauk, S., Toney, A., Jackson, B., Nair, R., and Tsay, J.J. (2014). Developing a Model of Pedagogical Content Knowledge for Secondary and Post–Secondary Mathematics Instruction. Dialogic Pedagogy: An International Online Journal, 2: A16–A40.

** This project was submitted to and funded under Teacher Quality: Mathematics and Science Education in FY 2010.