Collaborative Research: Transforming Undergraduate Mathematics Teacher Preparation Programs using the Professional Development: Research, Implementation, and Evaluation Framework

Grants and Contracts Details


This Institutional and Community Transformation Level 2 project proposes to use the Professional Development: Research, IMplementation, and Evaluation framework (PrimeD; Rakes et al., 2017a; Saderholm et al., 2017) to structure mathematics teacher preparation programs at four institutions. This design-based research will follow a multi-group treatment-only longitudinal, triangulation mixed methods design. The study examines the hypothesis that by providing a common frame of reference for quality teaching in secondary mathematics teacher preparation, PrimeD implementation will strengthen linkages to practice, and enhance the degree to which field experiences inform the preparation program. The study will examine preparation program and participant outcomes. Four higher education institutions will collaborate to study the promise of applying the PrimeD framework to secondary mathematics teacher preparation: UMBC, UCF, UK, and BC. The study will follow three cohorts, a new cohort beginning each year. For each cohort, the first year will be the participant student teaching year, followed by their first years of teaching throughout the life of the grant. In Year 4, a new cohort of teacher candidates will not be formed, but data will continue to be collected from the previous 3 cohorts. Intellectual Merit. Strengthening the knowledge and skills of STEM teachers is nationally recognized as a highest priority action (NRC, 2007, 2010). Teacher preparation programs are considered one of the greatest leverage points for long-term improvement in teacher performance and retention of effective teachers (Darling- Hammond, 2000; Ginsberg & Rhodes, 2003; U.S. Department of Education, 2018). Current research about teacher preparation, however, does not provide evidence to support conclusions about the characteristics that make teacher preparation effective (NRC, 2010). Teacher preparation programs struggle to meet their potential because their components are often fragmented, leading to artificial divisions between various types of knowledge, theory, and practice (Ball, 2000). An important way to address such fragmentation is to provide a common frame of reference for quality teaching (McKay & Silva, 2015). Developing strong linkages to practice within a teacher preparation program and allowing field experiences to inform the program is fundamental for ideas to be transformed into relevant tools and initiatives (Yeager et al., 2013). The PrimeD framework was designed to provide a coherent structure to PD activities that directly address the type of fragmentation often found in teacher preparation programs. PrimeD organizes PD into four phases (design, implementation, evaluation, & research) that are cyclic and iterative. PrimeD is a flexible framework that allows a program to address both the systemic and individual challenges found in teacher preparation (Rakes et al., 2017a). Using networked improvement communities (NICs; Bryk et al., 2011, 2015; Martin & Gobstein, 2015), PrimeD positions participants as researchers in their own classrooms to investigate well-defined problems of practice and to report those findings and refine their classroom innovations in PD sessions. The use of NICs to cycle between classroom implementation and whole group engagement (PD sessions) is a key feature of PrimeD that will help teacher candidates make stronger connections between field experiences and theories learned in their coursework, as recommended by Gainsburg (2012). By applying PrimeD, the proposed study frames teacher preparation as PD, consistent with Bangel et al. (2006) and Pollock et al. (2016). Principles to Actions (NCTM, 2014) and the Standards for Preparing Teachers of Mathematics (AMTE, 2017) will serve as guiding structures of research-based best practice as the PrimeD framework is implemented. Broader Impact. The project will impact more than 150 new secondary mathematics teachers and produce long-term improvement in each preparation program. The organization of NICs within and between teacher preparation programs in this project will enhance the connections and support with which participants enter the field. Because NICs are tightly focused on specific problems and challenges, the potential is high for new teachers to exit the program with highly focused professional growth plans. The research will provide crucial information for enhancing secondary mathematics teacher preparation programs at other institutions as well as enhancing other content programs at each participating institution, especially with regard to enhancing reliability and validity across programs. Results from this project are anticipated to provide a strong foundation for subsequent studies of how such teaching practices affect secondary student outcomes.
Effective start/end date7/1/206/30/25


  • National Science Foundation: $756,242.00


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