Practical Measures, Routines, & Representations for Improving Instruction
Implementing instructional improvement strategies in school districts and other educational organizations that target the core of mathematics teaching and learning is incredibly challenging work. It requires significant learning on the part of all role groups involved (e.g., teachers, coaches, school leaders, central office leaders). One challenge concerns the fact that there are few tools practitioners can use to engage in frequent, systematic, disciplined inquiry regarding the implementation of particular strategies in and across various contexts.
In response, in this project, we are collaborating with our school district partners to develop a system of practical measures (Bryk, Gomez, Grunow, & LeMahieu, 2015; Yeager, Bryk, Muhich, Hausman, & Morales, 2013), routines for using the measures, and representations of the measures to support the implementation of instructional improvement strategies in middle-grades mathematics. Practical measures are designed to provide practitioners with frequent, rapid feedback that enables them to assess and improve their practices. They are in contrast to research measures, which tend to be laborious to administer and thus unable to inform implementation on a rapid basis, and accountability measures, which tend to be broad in scope and thus unable to pinpoint where to take action.
The measures, routines, & representations
We are currently developing a suite of practical measures that provide information about students' experiences of high-leverage aspects of middle-grades mathematics instruction and the quality of supports for teachers to improve their classroom practices. We have developed student surveys providing information about students' experiences of small-group and whole-class discussion and the launch of (introduction to) a task. We have also developed a tool assessing the rigor of mathematical tasks prior to implementation. An assumption of this work is that these tools will not, by themselves, lead to instructional improvement. Current research focuses on the potential of embedding them in ongoing professional learning for various role groups, including the potential of different routines and representations for supporting different role groups to interpret and act on the basis of the resulting data. You can learn more about our work here.
We intend to continue to collaborate with practitioners and researchers in this work. You can learn more about our current collaborators and consultants here and about our research team here. If you'd like to join us in this work, we would love to learn with you! Begin by accessing the measures below.
This work has been funded by a Spencer Foundation Research-Practice Partnership grant and the National Science Foundation (Grants No. DRL-1119122 and No. DRL-1620851).