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

Abstract

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.

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Funding

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

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Correspondence to Drew Polly.

Appendix A

Appendix A

Pre-Post-Teacher Practices Questionnaire

Name: ____________________________________________Grade________ Ethnicity__________

Years of experience in current grade level: ________ Gender ________ District ID ________ Indicate the frequency with which you think you utilize each of the following practices in your teaching by circling the number that corresponds with your response.

Practice Almost never Sometimes Half the time Most of the time Almost always
1 Students learn through doing exercises 1 2 3 4 5
2 Students work on their own, consulting a neighbor from time to time 1 2 3 4 5
3 Students use only the methods I teach them 1 2 3 4 5
4 Students start with easy questions and work up to harder questions 1 2 3 4 5
5 Students choose which questions they tackle 1 2 3 4 5
6 I encourage students to work more slowly 1 2 3 4 5
7 Students compare different methods for doing questions 1 2 3 4 5
8 I teach each topic from the beginning, assuming they don’t have any prior knowledge of the topic 1 2 3 4 5
9 I teach the whole class at once 1 2 3 4 5
10 I try to cover everything in a topic 1 2 3 4 5
11 I draw links between topics and move back and forth between topics 1 2 3 4 5
12 I am surprised by the ideas that come up in a lesson 1 2 3 4 5
13 I avoid students making mistakes by explaining things carefully first 1 2 3 4 5
14 I tend to follow the textbook or worksheets closely 1 2 3 4 5
15 Students learn through discussing their ideas 1 2 3 4 5
16 Students work collaboratively in pairs or small groups 1 2 3 4 5
17 Students invent their own methods 1 2 3 4 5
18 I tell students which questions to tackle 1 2 3 4 5
19 I only go through one method for doing each question 1 2 3 4 5
20 I find out which parts students already understand and don’t teach those parts 1 2 3 4 5
21 I teach each student differently according to individual needs 1 2 3 4 5
22 I tend to teach each topic separately 1 2 3 4 5
23 I know exactly which topics each lesson will contain 1 2 3 4 5
24 I encourage students to make and discuss mistakes 1 2 3 4 5
25 I jump between topics as the need arises 1 2 3 4 5
  1. This questionnaire was adapted from Swan, M. (2004). Designing and using research instruments to describe the beliefs and practices of mathematics teachers. Research in Education, 75, 58–70. Permission for use was obtained on May 29, 2009
  Goals Poor Fair Good Very well Excellent
1 How well can you collect student data? 1 2 3 4 5
2 How well can you analyze student data? 1 2 3 4 5
3 How well can you interpret student data? 1 2 3 4 5
4 How well can you plan instruction based on student data? 1 2 3 4 5
5 How well can you differentiate instruction based on student data? 1 2 3 4 5

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Polly, D., Wang, C., Martin, C. et al. The Influence of Mathematics Professional Development, School-Level, and Teacher-Level Variables on Primary Students’ Mathematics Achievement. Early Childhood Educ J 46, 31–45 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10643-017-0837-y

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Keywords

  • Elementary school
  • Mathematics
  • Formative assessment
  • Data-driven instruction
  • Assessment