Early Childhood Education Journal

, Volume 46, Issue 1, pp 31–45 | Cite as

The Influence of Mathematics Professional Development, School-Level, and Teacher-Level Variables on Primary Students’ Mathematics Achievement

  • Drew PollyEmail author
  • Chuang Wang
  • Christie Martin
  • Richard Lambert
  • David Pugalee
  • Catherina Middleton


This study examined the influence of a professional development project about an internet-based mathematics formative assessment tool and related pedagogies on primary teachers’ instruction and student achievement. Teachers participated in 72 h of professional development during the year. Descriptive statistics and multivariate analyses of variance of the 300 teachers and data from 5300 students indicated that, in some of the participating districts, students whose teachers participated in professional development outperformed students in control classrooms. Multi-level analyses of student achievement indicated that teachers who used the formative assessment tool more had students who scored statistically significantly higher gain than students whose teachers did not use the tool as frequently. The findings call for subsequent studies that examine how teachers specifically use formative assessment data to make instructional decisions, and the influence of those decisions on student achievement.


Elementary school Mathematics Formative assessment Data-driven instruction Assessment 



This project is supported by a Mathematics Science Partnership grant from the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction.


  1. American Psychological Association Work Group (APA). (1997). Learner-centered psychological principles: A framework for school reform and redesign. Washington, DC: Author. Google Scholar
  2. Bandura, A. (1986). Social foundations of thought and action. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  3. Black, P., & Wiliam, D. (1998a). Assessment and classroom learning. Assessment in Education, 5, 7–71.Google Scholar
  4. Black, P., & Wiliam, D. (1998b). Inside the black box: Raising standards through classroom assessment. Phi Data Kappan, 80(2), 139–148.Google Scholar
  5. Borko, H. (2004). Professional development and teacher learning: mapping the terrain (PDF). Educational Researcher, 33(8), 3–15.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Boston, M. D., & Smith, M. S. (2009). Transforming secondary mathematics teaching: Increasing the cognitive demands of instructional tasks used in teachers’ classrooms. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 40(2), 119–156.Google Scholar
  7. Briley, J. S. (2012). The relationships among mathematics teaching efficacy, mathematics self-efficacy, and mathematical beliefs for elementary pre-service teachers. Issues in the Undergraduate Mathematics Preparation of School Teachers, 5, 1–10.Google Scholar
  8. Brown, A. B. (2012). Non-traditional preservice teachers and their mathematics efficacy beliefs. School Science and Mathematics, 107, 237–245.Google Scholar
  9. Bruce, C. D., Esmonde, I., Ross, J., Dookie, L., & Beatty, R. (2010). The effects of sustained classroom-embedded teacher professional learning on teacher efficacy and related student achievement. Teaching and Teacher Education: An International Journal of Research and Studies, 26(8), 1598–1608.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Caprara, G. V., Barnabelli, C., Steca, P., & Malone, P. S. (2006). Teachers’ self-efficacy beliefs as determinants of job satisfaction and students’ academic achievement: A study at the school level. Journal of School Psychology, 44(6), 473–490.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Carpenter, T., Fennema, E., & Franke, M. L. (1996). Cognitively guided instruction: A knowledge base for reform in primary mathematics instruction. The Elementary School Journal, 97(1), 3–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Cohen, J. (1992). A power primer. Psychological Bulletin, 112, 155–159.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Common Core State Standards Initiative (CCSSI). (2011). Common Core State Standards-Mathematics. Retrieved from
  14. Cramer, D., & Howitt, D. L. (2005). The SAGE dictionary of statistics: A practical resource for students in the social sciences (3rd Ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  15. Didax (2012). AMC anywhere. Retrieved from
  16. Domsch, G. D. (2009). A study investigating relationships between elementary principals’ and teachers’ self-efficacy and student achievement. (Doctoral dissertation, Saint Louis University).Google Scholar
  17. Garet, M., Porter, A., Desimone, L., Briman, B., & Yoon, K. (2001). What makes professional development effective? Analysis of a national sample of teachers. American Educational Research Journal, 38(4), 915–945.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Goddard, R. D., Hoy, W. K., & Hoy, A. W. (2000). Collective teacher efficacy: Its meaning, measure, and impact on student achievement. American Educational Research Journal, 37(2), 479–507.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Guskey, T. R. (2002). Does it make a difference? Evaluating professional development. Educational Leadership, 59(6), 45–51.Google Scholar
  20. Hattie, J. (2011). Visible learning for teachers: Maximizing impact on learning. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  21. Henningsen, M., & Stein, M. K. (1997). Mathematical tasks and student cognition: Classroom-based factors that support and inhibit high-level mathematical thinking and reasoning. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 28(5), 524–549.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Higgins, J., & Parsons, R. (2009). A successful professional development model in mathematics: A system-wide New Zealand case. Journal of Teacher Education, 60(3), 231–242.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Huinker, D. & Freckmann, J. (2009). Linking principles of formative assessment to classroom practice. Wisconsin Teacher of Mathematics, 60(2), 6–11.Google Scholar
  24. Institute for Educational Sciences. (2009). Using student achievement data to support instructional decision making. Retrieved from
  25. Joyner, J., & Muri, M. (2011). Informative assessment: Formative assessment to improve mathematics achievement, grades K-6. New York: Math Solutions.Google Scholar
  26. Khan, S. (2012). The relationship between teachers’ self-efficacy and students’ academic achievement at secondary level. Language in India, 12(10), 436–449.Google Scholar
  27. Loucks-Horsley, S., Love, N., Stiles, K. E., Mundry, S., & Hewson, P. W. (2009). Designing professional development for teachers of science and mathematics (3rd edn.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.Google Scholar
  28. Math Perspectives. (2013). Assessing mathematics concepts anywhere (AMC anywhere). Retrieved from
  29. National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES). (2000). Pursuing excellence: Comparisons of international eighth-grade mathematics and science achievement from a U.S. perspective, 1995 and 1999. Retrieved from
  30. National Center for Educational Statistics. (2015). Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study. Retrieved from:
  31. National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) (2014). Principles to action: Ensuring mathematical success for all. Reston, VA: Author.Google Scholar
  32. National Partnership for Excellence and Accountability in Teaching (NPEAT). (2000). Revisioning professional development: What learner-centered professional development looks like. Oxford, OH: Author.Google Scholar
  33. National Research Council. (2001). Adding it up: Helping children learn mathematics. In J. Kilpatrick, J. Swafford & B. Findell (Eds.), Mathematics learning study committee, center for education, division of behavioral and social sciences and education. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.Google Scholar
  34. Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). (2012). Programme for international student assessment, United States. Retrieved from
  35. Papadakis, S., Kalogiannakis, M., & Zaranis, N. (2016). Improving mathematics teaching in kindergarten with realistic mathematical education. Early Childhood Education Journal. doi: 10.1007/s10643-015-0768-4.Google Scholar
  36. Polly, D., & Hannafin, M. J. (2010). Reexamining technology’s role in learner-centered professional development. Educational Technology Research and Development, 58(5), 557–571. doi: 10.1007/s11423-009-9146-5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Polly, D., & Hannafin, M. J. (2011). Examining how learner-centered professional development influences teachers’ espoused and enacted practices. Journal of Educational Research, 104, 120–130.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Polly, D., Martin, C. S., Wang, C., Lambert, R. G., & Pugalee, D. K. (2016). Primary grades teachers’ instructional decisions during online mathematics professional development activities. Early Childhood Education Journal, 44(3), 275–287. doi: 10.1007/s10643-015-0711-8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Raudenbush, S. W., & Bryk, A. S. (2002). Hierarchical linear models: Applications and data analysis methods. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  40. Richardson, K. (1999). Developing number concepts, book 1: Counting, comparing, and pattern. New York: Dale Seymour.Google Scholar
  41. Russell, S. J. (2012). CCSSM: Keeping teaching and learning strong. Teaching Children Mathematics, 19(1), 50–56.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Shidler, L. (2009). The impact of time spent coaching for teacher efficacy on student achievement. Early Childhood Education Journal, 36(5), 453–460.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Sirin, S. R. (2005). Socioeconomic status and academic achievement: A meta-analytic review of research. Review of Educational Research, 75(3), 417–453.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Swan, M. (2007). The impact of task-based professional development on teachers’ practices and beliefs: A design research study. Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education, 10(4–6), 217–237.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Thames, M. H. & Ball, D. L. (2010). What mathematical knowledge does teaching require? Knowing mathematics in and for teaching. Teaching Children Mathematics, 17(4), 220–225.Google Scholar
  46. Tschannen-Moran, M., & Woolfolk Hoy, A. (2001). Teacher efficacy: Capturing an elusive construct. Teaching and Teacher Education, 17, 783–805.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. U.S. Department of Education. (2008). The final report of the national mathematics advisory panel. Retrieved from
  48. Wiliam, D. (2007). What does research say the benefits of formative assessment are? National council of teachers of mathematics research brief. Retrieved from
  49. Wiliam, D., & Thompson, M. (2007). Integrating assessment with instruction: What will it take to make it work?”. In C. A. Dwyer (Ed.), The future of assessment: Shaping teaching and learning. Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Drew Polly
    • 1
    Email author
  • Chuang Wang
    • 1
  • Christie Martin
    • 1
  • Richard Lambert
    • 1
  • David Pugalee
    • 1
  • Catherina Middleton
    • 1
  1. 1.UNC CharlotteCharlotteUSA

Personalised recommendations