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Planning district-wide professional development: insights gained from teachers and students regarding mathematics teaching in a large urban district. (English)
Sch. Sci. Math. 104, No. 1, 5 (2004).
Summary: This paper describes the mechanism used to gain insights into the state of the art of mathematics instruction in a large urban district in order to design meaningful professional development for the teachers in the district. Surveys of close to 2,000 elementary, middle school, and high school students were collected in order to assess the instructional practices used in mathematics classes across the district. Students were questioned about the frequency of use of various instructional practices that support the meaningful learning of mathematics. These included practices such as problem solving, use of calculators and computers, group work, homework, discussions, and projects, among others. Responses were analyzed and comparisons were drawn between elementary and middle school students’ responses and between middle school and high school responses. Finally, fifth-grade student responses were compared to those of their teachers. Student responses indicated that they had fewer inquiry-based experiences, fewer student-to-student interactions, and fewer opportunities to defend their answers and justify their thinking as they moved from elementary to middle school to high school. In the elementary grades students reported an overemphasis on the use of memorization of facts and procedures and sparse use of calculators. Results were interpreted and specific directions for professional development, as reported in this paper, were drawn from these data. The paper illustrates how student surveys can inform the design of professional development experiences for the teachers in a district. (ERIC)
Classification: D30 B50
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