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Supporting instructional improvement at scale: The role of teacher professional development programs and mathematics curriculum materials
Mälardalen University, School of Education, Culture and Communication, Educational Sciences and Mathematics. (M-TERM)ORCID iD: 0000-0003-2964-6297
2016 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

We are currently witnessing an increase of international interest in mathematics education, fueled partly by the growing concerns of students’ declining results, but also by changed perceptions of what mathematics students should master. In response, many initiatives have appeared in order to move away from traditional to more inquiry based approaches to teaching. Though several small-scale studies have contributed much to our understanding on how to support teachers in this work, there is still a lack of research conducted on a larger scale. Therefore, the aim of this thesis is to add to our knowledge of how to support instructional improvement at scale. This is done by focusing on two common approaches to support mathematics teachers’ development of reform based practices: teacher professional development [PD] programs and curriculum materials. The thesis builds on four papers which are all connected to a project aiming at improving the mathematics instruction in a large Swedish municipality. The project includes a PD-program for almost 400 elementary teachers and the mathematics curriculum materials that teachers are using play a central role in the program. The first two papers focus on curriculum materials either by using surveys to compare teachers’ views of the support offered in the materials and their reported mathematics instruction, or by conducting textbook analyses to characterize how some commonly used materials communicate about, for example, goals of lessons. The results demonstrate that teachers using different materials experience different levels of support from them and also show variations in their reported instruction. These differences are further reflected in the textbook analyses which show that the materials offer teachers various support, for example regarding how they communicate about goals. The last two papers focus on teacher PD-programs either by comparing the effects of two programs on student achievement, or by using surveys to examine teachers’ views of one of the programs and its impact on their reported instruction. The results indicate that the two PD-programs have affected students’ achievement in different ways, demonstrating both decline and improvement. Even within the programs differences are revealed between students at the primary and secondary levels. These variations are further present in the teacher surveys, where the results show differences between teachers from different grade-levels. By drawing on the literature review and the results of the papers, the thesis ends with a discussion of possible elaborations of a widely used core conceptual framework for studying teacher PD.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Västerås: Mälardalen University , 2016.
Series
Mälardalen University Press Licentiate Theses, ISSN 1651-9256 ; 231
Keyword [en]
large-scale teacher professional development, core conceptual framework, mathematics curriculum materials, student achievement, mathematics instruction
National Category
Didactics
Research subject
Didactics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-31441ISBN: 978-91-7485-265-3 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mdh-31441DiVA: diva2:921655
Presentation
2016-06-08, Kappa, Mälardalens högskola, Västerås, 13:15 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2016-04-21 Created: 2016-04-20 Last updated: 2016-05-03Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. MATHEMATICS TEXTBOOKS’ IMPACT ON CLASSROOM INSTRUCTION: EXAMINING THE VIEWS OF 278 SWEDISH TEACHERS
Open this publication in new window or tab >>MATHEMATICS TEXTBOOKS’ IMPACT ON CLASSROOM INSTRUCTION: EXAMINING THE VIEWS OF 278 SWEDISH TEACHERS
2015 (English)In: Studies in Subject Didactics 10. Nordic Research in Mathematics Education - Proceedings of NORMA14, 2015, 215-225 p.Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

For mathematics teachers to achieve an instruction where students have the opportunity to develop different mathematical competencies is difficult without access to adequate support. The most commonly used supportive tools are by far mathematics textbooks. However, in Sweden, there is very little research available on the characteristics of these materials. In this paper we aim to examine the relationship between teachers’ (K–6) perceived support from the curriculum materials and their mathematics instruction, looking for patterns associated with commonly used textbooks. Our analysis of teachers’ responses to a questionnaire (n=278) showed major differences regarding perceived support for teachers using different textbooks. This pattern was also evident when the teachers were to report about their mathematics instruction.

National Category
Educational Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-31447 (URN)978-952-5993-17-2 (ISBN)
Conference
Nordic Research in Mathematics Education - Proceedings of NORMA14, Turku, June 3-6, 2014. Turku, Finland
Available from: 2016-04-21 Created: 2016-04-21 Last updated: 2016-12-27Bibliographically approved
2. Designing elementary mathematics curriculum programs to accommodate a flexible use by a range of teachers
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Designing elementary mathematics curriculum programs to accommodate a flexible use by a range of teachers
Show others...
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
National Category
Educational Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-31448 (URN)
Available from: 2016-04-21 Created: 2016-04-21 Last updated: 2016-04-21Bibliographically approved
3. Two large-scale professional development programs for mathematics teachers and their impact on student achievement
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Two large-scale professional development programs for mathematics teachers and their impact on student achievement
(English)In: International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education, ISSN 1571-0068, E-ISSN 1573-1774Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
National Category
Educational Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-31449 (URN)10.1007/s10763-016-9750-x (DOI)000410769000006 ()2-s2.0-84969786552 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2016-04-21 Created: 2016-04-21 Last updated: 2017-11-23Bibliographically approved
4. Large-scale professional development and its impact on mathematics instruction: Differences between primary and secondary grades
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Large-scale professional development and its impact on mathematics instruction: Differences between primary and secondary grades
2017 (English)In: ICT in mathematics education: The future and the realities. : Proceedings of MADIF10. The tenth research seminar of the Swedish Society for Research in Mathematics Education  / [ed] J. Häggström, E. Norén, J. van Bommel, J. Sayers, O. Helenius & Y. Liljekvist, Göteborg: SMDF/NCM , 2017, 57-66 p.Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Göteborg: SMDF/NCM, 2017
National Category
Educational Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-31450 (URN)
Conference
Tenth research seminar of the Swedish Society for Research in Mathematics Education, MADIF 10. Sweden: Karlstad, 26-27 January 2016
Available from: 2016-04-21 Created: 2016-04-21 Last updated: 2017-11-23

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