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A Randomized Trial of Lesson Study with Mathematical Resource Kits: Analysis of Impact on Teachers’ Beliefs and Learning Community

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Large-Scale Studies in Mathematics Education

Part of the book series: Research in Mathematics Education ((RME))

Abstract

We report on a randomized, controlled trial of an intervention that had a significant impact on teachers’ and students’ mathematical knowledge: lesson study supported by mathematical resource kits (Lewis & Perry, under review). In lesson study, teachers engage in collaborative study-plan-act-reflect cycles centered around classroom research lessons. This report focuses on outcomes related to teachers’ beliefs and learning community, potentially important mediators of teachers’ continued effort to improve instruction. Groups of 4–9 educators (87 % elementary teachers) were randomly assigned to the intervention (lesson study with fractions resource kit) or one of two control conditions; resource kits were mailed out to groups, who locally managed their lesson study in scattered locations across the USA. HLM analyses indicate that the intervention significantly increased two of the six measures of teachers’ beliefs and teacher learning community–Expectations for Student Achievement and Collegial Learning Effectiveness. When examined as mediators of knowledge change in the overall sample, increases in Collegial Learning Effectiveness and Professional Community both significantly predicted teachers’ gain in fractions knowledge and increase in teachers’ collegial learning effectiveness significantly predicted students’ gain in fractions knowledge. Findings suggest the power of lesson study supported by mathematical resources to impact teachers’ beliefs likely to support teachers’ continued learning from practice over time. Findings also suggest the potential of scale-up strategies that couple high-quality mathematical resources with practice-based learning strategies such as lesson study, as a solution to the conundrum of faithful implementation of high-quality materials versus teacher “ownership” of professional learning.

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Appendix: Scales to Measure Teachers’ Beliefs and Teacher Learning Community

Appendix: Scales to Measure Teachers’ Beliefs and Teacher Learning Community

Stem: “Please indicate how well each of the following statements describes your attitude” (Rated on a 5-point scale ranging from 1 (“strongly disagree”) to 5 (“strongly agree.”)).

Expectations for student achievement (7 items; Alpha = .63 on pretest; .64 on posttest)

  • No matter how hard I try, some students will not be able to learn aspects of mathematics (reverse coded) (McLaughlin & Talbert, 2001).

  • My expectations about how much students should learn are not as high as they used to be (reverse coded) (McLaughlin & Talbert, 2001).

  • Students who work hard and do well deserve more of my time than those who do not (reverse coded) (McLaughlin & Talbert, 2001).

  • The attitudes and habits students bring to my classes greatly reduce their chances for academic success (reverse coded) (McLaughlin & Talbert, 2001).

  • There is really very little I can do to ensure that most of my students achieve at a high level (reverse coded) (McLaughlin & Talbert, 2001).

  • Most of the students I teach are not capable of learning material I should be teaching them (reverse coded) (McLaughlin & Talbert, 2001).

  • By trying a different teaching method, I can significantly affect a student’s achievement (CRC, 1994).

Using and promoting student thinking: (4 items; .63 at pretest and .68 at posttest)

  • I am able to figure out what students know about fractions (Project-developed).

  • I have some good strategies for making students’ mathematical thinking visible (Project-developed).

  • I can help students “catch up” who come to me lacking in math skills (Adapted from CRC, 1994).

  • When students are confused about fractions, I am able to provide good examples and explanations (Project-developed).

Interest in mathematics and inquiry stance (8 items; Alpha = .74 on pretest; .84 on posttest)

  • I enjoy teaching mathematics (Horizon Research, 2000).

  • I like solving mathematics problems (Project-developed).

  • Student mathematical thinking is fascinating to me (Project-developed).

  • I think of myself as a researcher in the classroom (Project-developed).

  • I am always curious about student thinking (Adapted from MSU, 2003).

  • I actively look for opportunities to learn more mathematics (Project-developed).

  • I am interested in the mathematics taught at many grade levels (Project-developed).

  • I would like to learn more about fractions (Adapted from LMT, 2007).

Research relevance for practice (4 items; .64 at pretest and .66 at posttest)

  • Educational research often provides useful insights for teaching (Project-developed).

  • In general, curriculum materials from other countries are not useful (Project-developed).

  • Most research is not relevant to my needs as a teacher (Project-developed).

  • I find it interesting to read about a variety of educational programs and ideas (Project-developed).

Collegial learning effectiveness (5 items; .62 on pretest and .63 on posttest; based on items adapted from CRC, 1994 and Horizon Research Inc., 2000.)

  • I have learned a lot about student thinking by working with colleagues.

  • Working with colleagues on mathematical tasks is often unpleasant (reverse coded) (Project-developed).

  • I have good opportunities to learn about the mathematics taught at different grade levels (Adapted from CRC, 1994).

  • I have learned a great deal about mathematics teaching from colleagues.

  • I find it useful to solve mathematics problems with colleagues (Project-developed).

Professional Community (6 items; .80 at pretest and .82 at posttest)

  • My colleagues and I regularly share ideas and materials related to mathematics teaching.

  • Mathematics teachers in this school regularly observe each other teaching classes as part of sharing and improving instructional strategies.

  • I feel supported by other teachers to try out new ideas in teaching.

  • There is a lot of discussion among teachers at this school about how to teach (Adapted from CRC, 1994; MSU, 2003).

  • I plan and coordinate with other teachers (MSU, 2003).

  • I don’t know how other teachers in this school teach (Adapted from CRC, 1994).

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Lewis, C.C., Perry, R.R. (2015). A Randomized Trial of Lesson Study with Mathematical Resource Kits: Analysis of Impact on Teachers’ Beliefs and Learning Community. In: Middleton, J., Cai, J., Hwang, S. (eds) Large-Scale Studies in Mathematics Education. Research in Mathematics Education. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-07716-1_7

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