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Focused Mathematics Professional Development Results in Student Achievement Gains


The Alliance for the Improvement of Mathematics Skills -- PreK-16 (AIMS), funded fall 2002 by NSF, has four goals, one of which focuses on teacher professional development and its affects on student achievement. The partnership consists of two institutions of higher education and nine independent school districts (ISDs).

    The focus:

  • Did our research design produce student achievement results above those expected from no additional activity?

  • Did a focus on TEXTEAMS with teacher follow-up produce higher mathematics achievement?

  • Does the data support these assumptions?

Results from the first four years of focused professional development offered to the mathematics teachers of the partners have been examined. Offerings were based on the Texas Teachers Empowered for Achievement in Mathematics and Science (TEXTEAMS) and the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS). In addition to the workshops, the AIMS Mathematics Specialists have provided coaching, mentoring, lesson modeling, curriculum alignment, lesson planning, teaching strategies, and learning styles. Grade specific sessions have been offered to improve workshop application and adaptations.

Preliminary data indicates increases in the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) percentage passing as well as in actual numbers of students passing at the met standard percentage. Passing percentages from area districts and the region have been examined to determine the effects of the focus professional development. The panel recommendation passing percentages were collected to provide a common passing score basis for all years.

Comparisons of Year One and Year Four data indicates all partner districts increased in passing percentages ranging from 8% to 24% for the sum of all grades tested. Only two districts had decreases when examining individual grade level percentages. Individual details will be provided in tables. Each district's data allows the cohorts of students to be followed as they move from grade to grade. The overall trend appears to be increases in the numbers passing, the percent passing, or in both. Enrollment in Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, and all pre-calculus courses (pre-calculus, statistics, etc.) has increased. Because of the amount of data, details and data tables will be provided in the full paper.