|Improving the Mathematical Content Base of Lesson Study: Design and Test of Two Research-Based Toolkits
|Teaching, Teachers, and the Education Workforce [Program Details]
|Development and Innovation
Purpose: In lesson study, teachers work together in a cycle of improvement that includes planning, teaching, and debriefing an actual classroom lesson. Lesson study originated in Japan and has been initiated by U.S. teachers since 1999. Preliminary evidence suggests that lesson study can produce improvements in mathematics teaching. This project aims to develop and test a research-based toolkit designed to help mathematics lesson study groups access and use content knowledge effectively. The toolkit focuses on an area of mathematics that is problematic for U.S. students (mathematical representations), and includes resources designed to help lesson study groups learn about teaching this topic (e.g., mathematical tasks, examples of student work, classroom videos, research-based trajectories and assessments). The project will gather preliminary data comparing three forms of professional development: lesson study with the developed toolkits, lesson study without the toolkit resources, and usual professional development in elementary mathematics.
Project Activities: In lesson study, a group of teachers works together in a cycle of instructional improvement in which they: consider their long- and short-term goals for student learning and development; study the particular academic content to be taught to students and the available materials for teaching it; engage in systematic planning (including anticipation of student thinking), culminating in a "research lesson" that embodies their ideas about how to teach this topic; have one team member teach the lesson while the others observe and collect detailed data on students; collaboratively analyze the data, using them to reflect on the lesson, unit, and learning more broadly, sometimes in consultation with an outside content specialist; and revise the lesson and re-teach it, if necessary.
Products: Products from this study include a lesson study toolkit for the teaching of elementary school mathematics; instruments to measure teacher and student knowledge of selected mathematical representations; teachers' discussion of criterion mathematical ideas and toolkit items, and the content and processes of lesson study meetings; and published papers.
Purpose: This project will gather preliminary data on whether professional development using the lesson study approach, which originated in Japan, is more or less effective than usual professional development in elementary mathematics, and whether lesson study with the developed toolkit is more or less effective than lesson study without the toolkit resources. The project will develop and test a research-based toolkit intended to help mathematics lesson study groups access and use content knowledge effectively. The toolkit focuses on one important area of mathematical knowledge that is problematic for U.S. students (mathematical representations), and includes resources designed to help lesson study groups learn about the teaching and learning of the topic.
Setting: The sample is being recruited via the lesson study listservs and professional networks from schools volunteering lesson study groups to participate in the study (one group per school).
Population: The final sample is expected to include approximately 156 elementary school teachers and about 975 elementary school students, ranging widely in extent of urban residence, socioeconomic status, and racial composition.
Intervention: In lesson study, a group of teachers work together in a cycle of instructional improvement in which they: consider their long- and short-term goals for student learning and development; study the particular academic content to be taught to students and the available materials for teaching it; engage in systematic planning (including anticipation of student thinking), culminating in a "research lesson" that embodies their ideas about how to teach this topic; ?have one team member teach the lesson while the others observe and collect detailed data on students; collaboratively analyze the data, using them to reflect on the lesson, unit, and mathematical learning generally, sometimes in consultation with an outside content specialist; and revise and re-teach the lesson if necessary. The researchers will develop a lesson study toolkit (e.g., mathematical tasks, examples of student work, classroom videos, research-based trajectories and assessments) to support teachers as they work together conducting lesson study on mathematical representations.
Research Design and Methods: The study will take place in two phases.
Phase 1 includes developing, pilot testing, and refining the toolkit, drawing on systematic input from a panel of expert advisors who will meet to recommend materials for the toolkit. The toolkit will be developed and field-tested by four groups of lesson study practitioners (two experienced and two novice). The lesson study cycles will be videotaped, observed, and documented by the research team. A second advisory panel meeting will be held to analyze the data from the pilot and determine the extent to which the toolkit is providing sufficient support for the teachers and what revisions need to be made. The toolkit will be revised accordingly.
In Phase 2, 39 volunteering lesson study groups will be stratified into trios based on demographic variables including the socioeconomic status of students served, the dominant grade level of participating teachers, and the level of prior lesson study experience. One group from each trio will be randomly assigned to receive lesson study with the toolkit, lesson study with generic professional development materials, and usual professional development provided by the school system. This will result in 13 lesson study groups for each condition. One lesson per study group will be observed and student data gathered. The project data will include video and audio recording of lesson study meetings, meeting reports from participants and observers, artifacts from lessons (e.g., lesson plans, mathematical tasks, worksheets, and student work), and pre- and post-teacher and student assessments.
Control Conditions: A delayed-treatment condition will receive only general materials to support lesson study (e.g., materials on norm-setting and goal-setting). A non-treatment, or "business-as-usual," condition will not have any form of lesson study. The full toolkit of mathematics materials will be provided to comparison groups after the lesson cycle.
Key Measures: The teacher knowledge assessment includes standard items drawn from existing teacher assessments (e.g., Mathematical Knowledge for Teaching, Diagnostic Teacher Assessments in Mathematics and Science). For student learning, items are being drawn from existing assessments, including the Mathematics Assessment Resource Service/Balanced Assessment.
Data Analytic Strategy: For Phase 1, observations of the lesson study cycle by research staff and mathematics advisors, and student and teacher assessments will be used to identify toolkit aspects that need to be strengthened and measures that need to be changed and refined for the second phase. In Phase 2, both students' and teachers' mean gain scores from the pre- to post- assessment will be modeled using generalized estimation equations (GEE). This analytic strategy accommodates the lack of complete independence caused by association of students within classrooms, and teachers within lesson study groups.
Lewis, C., and Perry, R. (2015). A Randomized Trial of Lesson Study With Mathematical Resource Kits: Analysis of Impact on Teachers' Beliefs and Learning Community. In J.A. Middleton, J. Cai, and S. Hwang (Eds.), Design, Results, and Implications of Large-Scale Studies in Mathematics Education (pp. 133–158). New York: Springer.
Journal article, monograph, or newsletter
Lewis, C. (2015). What is Improvement Science? Do we Need it in Education?. Educational Researcher, 44(1), 54–61.
Lewis, C., and Perry, R. (2014). Lesson Study With Mathematical Resources: A Sustainable Model for Locally-Led Teacher Professional Learning. Mathematics Teacher Education and Development, 16(1): 1–15.
Lewis, C., and Perry, R. (2017). Lesson Study to Scale up Research-Based Knowledge: A Randomized, Controlled Trial of Fractions Learning. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 48(3), 261–299.
Lewis, C., Perry, R., Friedkin, S., and Roth, J. (2012). Improving Teaching Does Improve Teachers: Evidence From Lesson Study. Journal of Teacher Education, 63(5): 368–375.
** This project was submitted to and funded under Teacher Quality: Mathematics and Science Education in FY 2007.