This study of early-career teachers identified a significant relationship between upper-elementary teachers' mathematical content knowledge and their students' mathematics achievement, after controlling for student- and teacher-level characteristics. Findings provide evidence of the relevance of teacher knowledge and perceptions for teacher preparation and professional development programs.
Patricia F. Campbell, Masako Nishio, Toni M. Smith, Lawrence M. Clark, Darcy L. Conant, Amber H. Rust, Jill Neumayer DePiper, Toya Jones Frank, Matthew J. Griffin, and Youyoung Choi
Harold L. Shoen, Kristen J. Cebulla, Kelly F. Finn, and Cos Fi
We report results from a study of instructional practices that relate to student achievement in high school classrooms in which a standards-based curriculum (Core-Plus) was used. We used regression techniques to identify teachers' background characteristics, behaviors, and concerns that are associated with growth in student achievement and further described these associations via graphical representations and logical analysis. The sample consisted of 40 teachers and their 1,466 students in 26 schools. Findings support the importance of professional development specifically aimed at preparing to teach the curriculum. Generally, teaching behaviors that are consistent with the standards' recommendations and that reflect high mathematical expectations were positively related to growth in student achievement.
James E. Tarr, Robert E. Reys, Barbara J. Reys, Óscár Chavez, Jeffery Shih, and Steven J. Osterlind
We examine student achievement of 2533 students in 10 middle schools in relation to the implementation of textbooks developed with funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) or publisher-developed textbooks. Using hierarchical linear modeling (HLM), curriculum type was not a significant predictor of student achievement on the Balanced Assessment in Mathematics (BAM) or TerraNova Survey (TNS) after controlling for student-level variables. However, the Standards-Based Learning Environment (SBLE) moderated the effect of curriculum type. Students were positively impacted on the BAM by NSF-funded curricula when coupled with either Moderate or High levels of SBLE. There was no statistically significant impact of NSF-funded curricula on students in classrooms with a Low level of SBLE, and the relationship between publisher-developed textbooks and SBLE was not statistically significant. Moreover, there was no significant impact of either curriculum type when coupled with varying levels of SBLE on the TNS as the dependent measure.
Daniel F. McGaffrey, Laura S. Hamilton, Brian M. Stecher, Stephen P. Klein, Delia Bugliari, and Abby Robyn
A number of recent efforts to improve mathematics instruction have focused on professional development activities designed to promote instruction that is consistent with professional standards such as those published by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. This paper describes the results of a study investigating the degree to which teachers' use of instructional practices aligned with these reforms is related to improved student achievement, after controlling for student background characteristics and prior achievement. In particular we focus on the effects of curriculum on the relationship between instructional practices and student outcomes. We collected data on tenth-grade students during the 1997–98 academic year. Some students were enrolled in integrated math courses designed to be consistent with the reforms, whereas others took the more traditional algebra and geometry sequence. Use of instructional practices was measured through a teacher questionnaire, and student achievement was measured using both the multiple-choice and open-ended components of the Stanford achievement tests. Use of standards-based or reform practices was positively related to achievement on both tests for students in integrated math courses, whereas use of reform practices was unrelated to achievement in the more traditional algebra and geometry courses. These results suggest that changes to instructional practices may need to be coupled with changes in curriculum to realize effects on student achievement.
Julie E. Riordan and Pendred E. Noyce
Since the passage of the Education Reform Act in 1993, Massachusetts has developed curriculum frameworks and a new statewide testing system. As school districts align curriculum and teaching practices with the frameworks, standards-based mathematics programs are beginning to replace more traditional curricula. This paper presents a quasi-experimental study using matched comparison groups to investigate the impact of one elementary and one middle school standards-based mathematics program in Massachusetts on student achievement. The study compares statewide standardized test scores of fourth-grade students using Everyday Mathematics and eighth-grade students using Connected Mathematics to test scores of demographically similar students using a mix of traditional curricula. Results indicate that students in schools using either of these standards-based programs as their primary mathematics curriculum performed significantly better on the 1999 statewide mathematics test than did students in traditional programs attending matched comparison schools. With minor exceptions, differences in favor of the standards-based programs remained consistent across mathematical strands, question types, and student sub-populations.
Aimee J. Ellington
The findings of 54 research studies were integrated through meta-analysis to determine the effects of calculators on student achievement and attitude levels. Effect sizes were generated through Glassian techniques of meta-analysis, and Hedges and Olkin's (1985) inferential statistical methods were used to test the significance of effect size data. Results revealed that students' operational skills and problem-solving skills improved when calculators were an integral part of testing and instruction. The results for both skill types were mixed when calculators were not part of assessment, but in all cases, calculator use did not hinder the development of mathematical skills. Students using calculators had better attitudes toward mathematics than their noncalculator counterparts. Further research is needed in the retention of mathematics skills after instruction and transfer of skills to other mathematics-related subjects.
Patricia F. Campbell and Nathaniel N. Malkus
A three-year study found that those responsible for coaching math teachers positively affected student academic progress in grades 3, 4, and 5. Read why this effect took time to emerge.
Lyle R. Smith
Each of 20 high school algebra teachers taught a lesson on direct variation to one first-year algebra class. The students (N=455) had not previously been taught this topic in class. Before the lessons were taught, each teacher was given a list of lesson objectives. Immediately after each lesson, a posttest that focused on the lesson objectives was administered. The teachers were not shown the posttest before they taught their lessons. Correlations were found between the mean posttest scores for the classes and several variables pertaining to teacher discourse.
Theodore A. Eisenberg
This study investigated the relationship between a teacher's knowledge of algebra and student performance. Twenty-eight Algebra I teachers and their 807 students took part in the study. Regression analysis was used to predict for each teacher an “expected” score for teaching algebraic concepts and skills. The difference between the observed score and the expected score was called “teacher effect.” The effect scores (one for algebraic concepts, the other for skills) were correlated with the teacher's knowledge of the real number system and other related algebraic structures, length of service, college mathematics grade point average, and the number of postcalculus courses taken. The only significant correlation obtained was between the teacher's knowledge of algebraic structures and the number of postcalculus courses.
Helene J. Sherman and Thomas Jaeger
The curriculum and evaluation standards for School Mathematics (NCTM 1989) and the Professional Standards for Teaching Mathematics (NCTM 1991) have served as both stimuli for, and responses to, numerous formal and informal programs, conferences, and conversations calling for educational reform and improvement in mathematics teaching. After all the plans are drawn and all the objectives are written, however, reform is most likely to occur and make a lasting difference when teachers are aware of the need for improvement, have a voice in planning it, and derive a real sense of professional satisfaction from implementing the instructional changes.