Eric.ed.gov – Understanding Complex Instructional Change: Classroom Observations of Math in Common Districts

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Although mathematics standards have changed dramatically in recent years, teaching mathematics is as complex as it has always been. Some would argue that mathematics teaching has become even more complex, with the implementation of the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics (CCSS-M) (NGA Center & CCSSO, 2010), as teachers are being asked to make significant shifts in their instruction. The Math in Common (MiC) initiative was launched to support CCSS-M implementation in grades K-8 in 10 California school districts. As part of its evaluation of MiC, WestEd conducted classroom observations in participating MiC districts to document K-8 teachers’ instructional shifts related to the CCSS-M. The research staff visited elementary and middle school classrooms in nine MiC school districts, during the 2015-16, 2016-17, and 2017-18 academic years, to observe and analyze mathematics lessons, using an observation protocol adapted for this project. Participants from MiC teams often joined the authors during the observations and debriefed afterwards. This report describes additional analyses of observation data on eight dimensions of classroom mathematics instruction. These analyses are drawn from the complete set of classroom observation data: 201 lesson observations, representing more than 130 hours of observation over three years. The authors begin the report by describing their classroom observation protocol and the dimensions of classroom instruction that was observed using this protocol. The authors then present findings on the instructional variability that they saw across classrooms and districts. Next, drawing on classroom transcripts and observation data, they discuss what highly rated classrooms looked like across the various dimensions that they observed, and how administrators and others can support this sort of CCSS-M–aligned instruction. The report concludes with several recommendations for conducting effective classroom observations. The primary goal with this report is to share with teachers and administrators what the authors have learned about how particular elements of CCSS-M–aligned instruction look and feel when implemented effectively in the classroom. They also wish to stimulate discussion in the field about what kinds of information can best help educators understand standards implementation, and to share emerging insights from our experience trying to measure shifts in mathematics instruction.

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Troels Gannerup Christensen

Jeg er ansat som lektor hos Læreruddannelsen i Jelling, hvor jeg underviser i matematik, specialiseringsmodulet teknologiforståelse, praktik m.m. Jeg har tidligere været ansat som pædagogisk konsulent i matematik og tysk hos UCL ved Center for Undervisningsmidler (CFU) i Vejle og lærer i udskolingen (7.-9. klasse) på Lyshøjskolen i Kolding. Jeg er ejer af og driver bl.a. hjemmesiderne www.lærklokken.dk og www.iundervisning.dk, ggbkursus.dk og er tidligere fagredaktør på matematik på emu.dk. Jeg går ind for, at læring skal være let tilgængelig og i størst mulig omfang gratis at benytte.

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