Practice-Driven Professional Development (PDPD) Study
I am currently PI of the PDPD Study. Professional development (PD) is a direct attempt to improve the quality of instruction for teachers already in the classroom. Traditional PD is typically costly in terms of time and money, and efforts tend to be delivered as a one-size-fits-all approach. Furthermore, for teachers who adopt novel techniques such as flipped instruction, there may be few resources to support their efforts. This project seeks to develop a personalized, scalable PD approach that centers on and builds from algebra teachers’ practices and individual strengths. The project will focus its PD efforts on instructional actions that are tailored to teachers’ existing practice, can be readily adopted, and are easily accessible. The project team have termed such instructional actions high-uptake practices. The project will develop and field test PD materials to support algebra teachers at scale via these high-uptake practices.
In addition to developing the PD materials, the project team will research the efficacy of this PD model in terms of student learning outcomes and teacher instructional practices in approximately 60 algebra classrooms. The main data sources will include teacher observation data, teacher interviews and surveys, student pre/posttests, student surveys, and PD analytics. The research will characterize the immediate and longer term impacts of the PD on teachers’ instructional practices; and characterize the impact of teachers’ participation in the PD on students’ learning outcomes and engagement. The research questions include: 1) In what ways does teachers’ participation in the PD impact their instructional practices? 2) Do students of teachers who participate in the PD demonstrate differential growth in learning outcomes? 3) Do students of teachers who participate in the PD have increased rates of homework completion?; and 4) Do students of teachers who participate in the PD have increased engagement during individual work time? In meeting both our PD development and research aims, this project will contribute knowledge about the effectiveness of an incremental, practice-driven approach to PD and instructional change.
I am currently the PI on the NSF-Funded Flipped Mathematics Study (#1721025, $539,011) Using mixed-methods techniques, the study will look at the nature of the activities and interactions occurring in mathematics classrooms and assess their quality so that the researchers may distinguish high-quality from low-quality univocal discourse, high-quality from low-quality dialogic discourse, and high cognitive demand from low cognitive demand tasks. Working in 40 algebra classrooms — 20 implementing some form of flipped instruction and 20 serving as a non-flipped basis for comparison — the project will address the following research questions using a correlational design and multilevel modeling techniques: RQ1. What are salient factors entailed in flipped instruction in secondary algebra? RQ2. What associations, if any, exist among factors entailed in teachers’ implementation of flipped algebra instruction and students’ learning of algebra as measured on a state-mandated end-of-course assessment and on a concept-of-variable inventory?
Supporting Teachers of English Language Learners to Achieve Reform
STELLAR is a combination of several small studies (beginning with my dissertation study) aimed at understanding how to effectively teach mathematics with English learners. In my dissertation study I examined the curriculum materials teachers use with English learners. Following that study, I examined preservice teachers’ use of cognitively demanding tasks with English learners. Currently, I am examining the educative materials in algebra textbooks that aim to support teachers in teaching English learners. I hope to continue to move forward in this area in the coming years by examining ways to leverage students’ linguistic and cultural resources to support their mathematical and linguistic development.
The Two-Minute Teacher’s Guide is a set of online instructional resources that is meant to support teachers as they prepare their lessons. The videos are kept short so that they can fit into a teacher’s busy school day and they are designed with the recognition that teachers are not typically granted ample time to prepare. Nevertheless, by leaning on teachers’ existing practices and experience-based intuitions, the research-based suggestions provided by the Two-Minute Teacher’s Guide can go a long way.
Animating Preservice Teacher Noticing Project
This project evolved out of the Service, Teaching, and Research (STaR) Fellowship program. In this unfunded project, we created and examined an animation-based noticing assignment in elementary math methods courses. The assignment involved preservice teachers watching videos of elementary mathematics teaching and animating their noticings through a web-based animation program called GoAnimate (now called Vyond). We then examined the preservice teachers’ animated videos and written reflections. This project was novel in that we employed animation software as a means of capturing preservice teachers’ perspectives on classroom practice.
Quality Elementary Science Teaching (QuEST)
I was a Co-PI on the NSF-funded QuEST project (#1316683, $2,853,190). This project examined an innovative model of situated Professional Development (PD) and the contribution of controlled teaching experiences to teacher learning and, as a result, to student learning. The project is carrying out intensive research about an existing special PD summer institute (QuEST) that has been in existence for more than five years through a state Improving Teacher Quality Grants program. The project will do the following: (1) undertake more in-depth and targeted research to better understand the efficacy of the PD model and impacts on student learning; (2) develop and field test resources from the project that can produce broader impacts; and (3) explore potential scale-up of the model for diverse audiences. The overarching goals of the project are: (a) Implement a high-quality situated PD model for K-6 teachers in science; (b) Conduct a comprehensive and rigorous program of research to study the impacts of this model on teacher and student learning; and (c) Disseminate project outcomes to a variety of stakeholders to produce broader impacts.
Does it Work?
As a graduate student at the University of Georgia, I was a research assistant on the NSF-funded Does it Work? Project (#0633975, $999,958). Does it Work? investigated challenging questions about the effects of professional development on teacher learning, classroom practice and student achievement. The intent was to develop and refine methods for empirically examining the relationships among these variables. Research questions included: what do the teachers learn from InterMath experiences; if the teachers learn from InterMath, do their instructional practices change as a result; and if the teachers’ practices change, are there measurable changes in students’ achievement.