First stab at a research question

Well, I’m not sure this really gets at what I was hoping to, but it’s a start.  If you don’t know, we are going through a curriculum renewal here in SK that has drastically changed both the philosophy of our math curricula as well as it’s organization.  Math PD (and math in general) is top priority in many many places.  This is of course heavily political, and not quite as altruistic as would be nice, but hey, at least math is getting some attention.  I think a huge problem we are going to face is (are facing) is teachers simply teaching the new curriculum the old way.  So, here is my attempt at looking into what PD will best support teachers through curriculum renewal.  Help!

Research Question – What are the common qualities of mathematics professional development that teachers rank as most effective?

Sub-question a)    Does participating in what they consider to be “effective” professional development cause teachers to be more likely to make changes in their classroom practice?

Sub-question b)   Does participating in “effective” professional development have an effect on student learning in the classrooms of participating teachers?

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2 thoughts on “First stab at a research question

  1. Fascinating- and I’d love to hear your hypotheses and conclusions! I also wonder to what extent the characteristics that define effective PD are dependent on what is being developed; are there a different set of best practices for building teacher skill vs. boosting their content knowledge vs. reframing their mindsets about something like SBG?

    This may be a philosophical question, but I’m wondering whether measuring PD’s effectiveness based on teacher perception is backwards. Shouldn’t the deciding factor of whether PD is effecitve be a positive change in student outcomes– or if those can’t be easily measured (as in the case of anything not on a standardized test), a change in teacher practice? How certain are you that PD is actually making any difference when teachers think it is? I could imagine, for example, a session that teachers found really distasteful because it presented ideas so dramatically different from their current practice, but that sat in the back of their minds and led to gradual changes months down the road.

    Just curious 🙂

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