, Volume 43, Issue 6–7, pp 965–977 | Cite as

A ‘task-centric approach’ to professional development: enhancing and sustaining mathematics teachers’ ability to implement cognitively challenging mathematical tasks

Original Article


In this article, we describe a task-centric approach to professional development for mathematics teachers in which teachers’ learning experiences are focused on the selection and implementation of cognitively challenging mathematical tasks. We examined teachers’ selection and implementation of cognitively challenging tasks at three points in time: before and after their participation in the professional development initiative and during a follow-up data collection 2 years later. Data included instructional tasks, samples of student work, and classroom observations, and were compared between the time points to identify changes in teachers’ task selection and implementation and to determine whether these changes were sustained over time. Results indicate that teachers increased and sustained their ability to select high-level instructional tasks and to maintain the level of cognitive demand during instruction. All teachers, however, did not exhibit this pattern. Portraits of teachers who continued to select and enact tasks at a high level are contrasted with those who did not, and factors are identified to account for teachers’ current practices.


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Copyright information

© FIZ Karlsruhe 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Duquesne UniversityPittsburghUSA
  2. 2.University of PittsburghPittsburghUSA

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