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MSPnet Partnership Papers: A Review

Partnerships are at the heart of the MSP program's implied theory of action, so it is to be expected that the "partnership-driven" key feature should receive some careful examination from MSP scholars. What kinds of partners should make up an MSP? What contributes to a successful partnership, and what do we mean by "success"? How are partnerships maintained in good health, and returned to health when trouble comes? What makes for sustainable partnerships? MSPnet's library contains studies of many kinds addressing these and other questions.

A search for "MSP Papers" and "Partnership-Driven" in mid-August, 2010 returned 68 items. One had been contributed in 2004, when most of the partnerships were still getting underway; 10 have been contributed so far in 2010 (as of Aug 19). The largest number of papers were contributed in the years 2005-8 (a total of 51 papers), and of these, 16 were presented at the MSP evaluation summits, the most important single source for such studies. The RETAs contributed several papers to these summits, and 8 others in addition. Counting the MSP Evaluation Summit papers and presentations to the Learning Network meetings, as of the end of January MSPs had contributed 31 conference presentations dealing at least in part with partnerships. Non-MSP conferences included AERA (4), NARST (2), AACTE, and American Society for Engineering Education. In addition, two papers in our library had appeared in peer-reviewed journals which allowed us to post them on the site.

The library entries for the most part are of three kinds: [1] papers exploring the literature and theory of partnerships, especially as they relate to systemic education reform; [2] papers that analyze specific elements of a partnership (e.g. the impact of STEM IHE faculty within a partnership, or the effects of participation in an MSP on STEM faculty); and [3] papers that examine the dynamics of whole MSPs, that is, taking into consideration all the major players and interactions within these large and complex efforts. Space does not allow a systematic review of all the pieces in this growing collection, but I want to mention a study or two in each category which I found particularly interesting. (NOTE: Appended to this little essay is a bibliography of the MSPnet library's holdings on this topic, including the abstracts, so that you can browse through the collection for items of particular interest to you.)

[1] Papers exploring the literature and theory of partnerships Several of the papers include literature reviews and theoretical frameworks. I found two of particular interest, however.

K-20 Partnerships: Literature Review and Recommendations for Research, by M. Clifford and S Millar

This report, produced for the SCALE project, is a very useful literature review of 74 studies of partnerships relating to K-20 education, from which the authors analyzed 36 in depth (the study explains their selection criteria). I find their report particularly useful for MSPs, especially those early in their development, or otherwise in a position to undertake careful research on their partnership, because their analysis identifies criteria necessary for such research if it is going to really enrich the field. They write, "While the sample size of this literature review places limits on the findings, the review provides evidence that research in this area is just beginning to describe the roles K-20 partnerships can play in student learning, teacher quality, and educational systems improvement, and is not well positioned to build associations between partnership processes, programs, and outcomes." They discuss methodological issues with the studies they examined, and outline several areas in which further research might be particularly useful. A paper complementary to Clifford and Millar's comes from a RETA project designed to explore models of partnership within the MSP program. This is Finding value and meaning in the concept of partnership by Kingsley and Waschak (presented at the MSP evaluation summit of 2005).

This paper is a good starting point for anyone reading about partnerships, or designing research of their own about their MSP. The authors used a method based on the Delphi process to explore what MSPs might mean by "partnership." They found 4 general conceptualizations of partnerships. Each is treated in the organizational literature, and each will generate its own culture, patterns of expectation, typical "deliverables," and methods for evaluating success. The two most common among participants in their study were the "process based" and "agreement based" models.
  • A process-based model, espoused by about 2/3 of the participants in the study, sees the partnership as emerging from "a collaborative working relationship in which each partner respects the expertise of the other. The partners plan together and work together to achieve mutual goals, sharing information and decision-making responsibilities."
  • An agreement-based partnership, articulated by around 1/3 of participants, is seen as "an agreement made by individuals on behalf of their respective organizations, to define joint goals that will likely improve science/math teaching and learning in the region and to commit resources toward reaching the common goal." "A mutual agreement among partners to achieve specific goals. Each organization has identified clear roles of responsibility and is accountable for carrying out these activities and responsibilities."

Two other models, very much in the minority in the study, were the entity-based, which conceptualizes a partnership as a relationship of discrete entities, each with its own mission, collaborating in an area in which their missions overlap. Finally, there was the venue-based model, which sees a partnership as providing the opportunity "to bring together individuals often with diverse multiple expertise and with similar interests to address issues of importance to the partners in their endeavor to enhance STEM initiatives."

[2] Papers that analyze specific elements of a partnership

Many of the entries in our library address how a partnership supports change of practice or self-conception in one or some of the constituencies, and they are all of interest. By far my favorite, however, is a little report on the Appalachian MSP, produced by Inverness Associates. While Inverness provides other reports on AMSP, I recommend as a starting place Appalachian Math Science Partnership: A multi-state umbrella partnership promoting local mathematics and science reform -- CLOSE UP PAPERS."

This consists of several "mini reports" on different aspects of the AMSP, and is informed by a deep understanding of the ins and outs of systemic reform, so that the brief reports are concrete, comprehensive, and yet theoretically grounded. Perhaps most interesting is the description of the ways that the Regional Coordinators facilitated partnership activities, and strengthened the partnerships (close-up I), and Close-up III, on the Partnership Enhancement Program: A Strategy for Supporting Locally Designed Partnerships, which describes an imaginative mini-grant program through which local partnerships could expand their impact in ways reflective of local needs and district cultures. I finished my first reading of this CLOSE-UP impressed and encouraged by the story, and wanting to hear more.

[3] Papers that examine the dynamics of whole MSPs These are necessarily less frequent than the papers in category [2], but it is to be hoped that they will grow in number as the years wear on, and the earlier cohorts finish their work. The study of the MSP of Southwest Pennsylvania is an excellent, not to say stimulating example. Math Science Partnership of SW PA: Measuring progress towards goals, by Pane et al., from the RAND monograph series.

This is a general study of the SWPA MSP, but starting on pg 53 there is a very interesting chapter on partnership development. The authors draw on the Kingsley and Waschak paper referred to in S1 above, and use it among other references to explore how the MSP developed, how it defined the successful development of a sustainable partnership, and how it had achieved some of the elements necessary for success. The project operationalized this goal in various ways, and the report (from 2009, so written while the project was still under way) addresses three: [a] the development of partnerships, [b] changes in institutional policies and practices, and [c] implementation of challenging courses, by means of the revision of IHE courses. The report tests the usefulness of the Kingsley-Waschak model, finding that the "process based" model is more or less the reigning understanding of partnership in SWPA, and then explores specific processes by which the partnership (and some component sub-sets) have emerged over the course of the project. This is an interesting and elegant study, and it is well worth reading the prior 52 pages to reach it! _____________________________________________________________
Below you will find a dynamically generated list of papers authored by the MSPs related to Partnerships:
hide abstracts

59 documents as of 01/19/2020

Michael Allen (2003). Eight Questions on Teacher Preparation: What Does the Research Say?. ECS, US Dept. Ed..
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Abstract: "What are the most effective strategies for educating and training the nation's teachers? For policymakers, teacher educators and others seeking clear answers to this question, the cacophony of claims and counterclaims by advocates of one approach or another -- selectively using only those research studies consistent with their point of view -- has made clarity elusive.

It was precisely the goal of the larger report from which this summary derives to review, thoroughly and dispassionately, the entire body of solid research on teacher preparation to ascertain what evidence the research truly provides and what its implications are for policy. The report is based on a review of 92 studies that were selected, using rigorous criteria, from a total of more than 500 originally considered. These studies were used to answer eight questions about teacher preparation that are of particular importance to policy and education leaders. The full report , available both online and in print, includes a detailed description of the findings and policy implications, as well as summaries of all 92 research studies reviewed. It also features a discussion of the use of research in policy decisions and makes a number of recommendations for improving teacher preparation research specifically and education research, in general."

Thomas Bailey (2005). Implications of Educational Inequality for the Future Workforce. Teachers College, Columbia University.
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Abstract: "Unless the educational level of African Americans and particularly Hispanics can be raised, over the next 20 years, when the economy will require an increasing number of workers with skills learned in college, the country will experience a significant growth in the population that has not graduated from high school... In the past, educational inequality was a problem primarily for those individuals who ended up with low levels of education; increasingly it will be a problem for everyone."
Deborah Loewenberg Ball, Joan Ferrini-Mundy, Jeremy Kilpatrick, R. James Milgram, Wilfried Schmid, Richard Schaar (2005). Reaching for Common Ground in K-12 Mathematics Education. Mathematical Association of America.
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Abstract: "The MAA (Mathematical Association of America) hopes to help encourage and facilitate constructive discourse between mathematicians and mathematics educators in order to seek common ground in their mutual efforts to improve K-12 mathematics teaching and learning. The success of two pilot meetings (one at NSF in December 2004 and a second at the MAA offices in June 2005) with two mathematicians (R. James Milgram and Wilfried Schmid), three mathematics educators (Deborah Loewenberg Ball, Joan Ferrini-Mundy and Jeremy Kilpatrick) and a moderator from the business community (Richard Schaar) demonstrated that such common ground does exist among individuals who are thought to be strongly aligned with different sides in what has come to be known as the 'Math Wars.' "

See the MAA website for follow-on articles and other related resources.
Paul E. Barton (2005). One-Third of a Nation: Rising Dropout Rates and Declining Opportunities. ETS Policy Information Center.
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Excerpt from ETS Press Release Feb 23, 2005:

"As Congress, governors, and state education officials turn their attention now to high school reform, a new report from ETS warns that little is being done to address rising dropout rates, declining earnings for dropouts in the job market, and reduced public investments in effective second-chance efforts.
Issued by ETS's Policy Information Center, the report, One-Third of a Nation: Rising Dropout Rates and Declining Opportunities, tracks dwindling high school completion rates throughout the 1990s, which persist today. The report also found clear evidence that more students are dropping out earlier, between ninth and 10th grades. Coupled with the finding of too few counselors and a steep decline in federal investment, from about $15 billion in the late 1970s to about $3 billion today, the outlook is not good."
Betsy Jane Becker, Mary M. Kennedy, Steve Hundersmarck (2003). Communities of Scholars, Research, and Debates about Teacher Quality. AERA Conference.
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Abstract: "Debates about the importance of different kinds of teacher qualifications have appeared off and on throughout the history of American education, and we are currently in a very intense "on" phase. ... we have witnessed one of the most intense and one of the most data-laden debates ever to appear in the history of educational debate. The characteristics of this debate raise important questions about the role of research in educational debate. As researchers, we like to think that research might actually settle some educational disputes by providing strong evidence about what our best options are. As policy advocates, we like to believe that research justifies our particular causes. But the debate over teacher qualifications makes it clear that research can be used by those on all sides of an argument and so raises questions about whether and what research really adds to policy debates, and about what role research can reasonably play in policy deliberations."
Rolf Blank, John Smithson, Andrew Porter (). Surveys of Enacted Curriculum. .
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This web site details how to use the SEC data and reporting tools for evaluation, improvement, and alignment.

"The Surveys of Enacted Curriculum (SEC) offer a practical method for collecting, reporting, and using consistent data on instructional practices and subject content taught in classrooms. Surveys are now available for English language arts and reading, mathematics, and science (K-12). The survey instruments and reporting tools provide an objective approach for schools, districts, and states to analyze instruction in relation to content standards."

Hugh Burkhardt, Alan H. Schoenfeld (2003). Improving Educational Research: Toward a More Useful, More Influential, and Better-Funded Enterprise. Ed. Researcher.
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Abstract: "Educational research is not very influential, useful, or well funded. This article explores why and suggests ways that the situation could be improved. Our focus is on the processes that link the development of good ideas and insights, the development of tools and structures for implementation, and the enabling of robust implementation in realistic practice. We suggest that educational research and development should be restructured so as to be more useful to practitioners and to policymakers, allowing the latter to make better-informed, less speculative decisions that will improve practice more reliably."
Gail Burrill, Neelam Kher (2005). PD3 - PCMI and Districts Partner to Design Professional Development:. MSP Evaluation Summit.
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Abstract: "IAS/PCMI has a 12-year history of providing a rich environment where mathematics educators and mathematics researchers meet as equals with a strong sense of shared purpose. The flagship event is an annual three-week Summer Session with individual programs for high school teachers, college faculty, mathematics education researchers, undergraduate and graduate students, and research mathematicians and an emphasis on cross program interaction. PCMI is designed to bring these practitioners together under one roof for three weeks of intensive lectures, collaborative studies, and interactions in both formal and informal settings. The activities of the summer session immerse the participants in mathematics and, for educators, provide a collaborative environment in which to reflect on their teaching practice."
Carol Butler Freeman, Steven Semken, Anton Lawson, Michael Oehrtman, Jamie Jensen, Christopher Schaufele (2007). How Old is The Earth? An Exploration of Geologic Time. NARST.
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Abstract: "Geologic time is fundamental to the study of the Earth and life sciences, but it is an abstract and difficult concept for students to master. We predict that placebased inquiry, in which students directly engage with authentic and meaningful local landscapes while interpreting physical evidence for geologic time, will be at least as effective as more orthodox expository methods in imparting geoscience content knowledge, such as the concept of geologic time. This outcome, coupled with the enhanced relevance and interest inherent in the method, would favor its use in naturally and culturally diverse settings such as the Southwest United States. As a preliminary test of the effectiveness of place-based inquiry, we designed and administered two 2-part inquiry lessons on relative and absolute geologic time, based on Arizona landscapes and rocks, to 52 in-service middleand high-school math and science teachers enrolled in an experimental graduate course in biology, geology, and mathematics. The teachers' knowledge of geologic time before and after the lessons was assessed using the Geoscience Concept Inventory, a valid and reliable survey. We analyzed pre-test and posttest means with a non-directional dependent samples t-test and reject the null hypothesis of no mean differences, t(49) = 5.35, p < .01. We conclude that there is a significant gain in the teachers' content knowledge related to geologic time before the inquiry lessons (Mean = 11.66, SD = 2.93) and after the inquiry lessons (Mean = 9.74, SD = 3.57). The teachers who participated in the class reported that the place-based lessons were particularly engaging and ranked them among their favorites for the experimental course. Place-based teaching methods in geoscience merit further study at the undergraduate and graduate level."
Jacob Clark Blickenstaff, Daniel M. Hanley (2007). Implementing and Evaluating Reformed Science Curricula for Higher Education and Professional Development Settings. NARST.
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Abstract: "This paper describes the implementation of new curricula in biology and geology with preservice teachers at several higher educational institutions and with inservice teachers at summer professional developments.

We present the impact of theses inquiry-based science curricula on:

1) Participants' content knowledge in science,

2) Participants' understanding and attitudes about inquiry-based science teaching and learning, and

3) Participants' understanding of their learning process (metacognition)."

Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy (2005). Rising Above The Gathering Storm: Energizing and Employing America for a Brighter Economic Future. The National Academies Press.
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Abstract: "In a world where advanced knowledge is widespread and low-cost labor is readily available, U.S. advantages in the marketplace and in science and technology have begun to erode. A comprehensive and coordinated federal effort is urgently needed to bolster U.S. competitiveness and pre-eminence in these areas so that the nation will consistently gain from the opportunities offered by rapid globalization, according to a new report from the National Academies."
AnneMarie M. Conley, Stuart Karabenick, Juliane Blazevski, Jeanne Friedel, David Pagni (2005). Beyond Achievement: Motivation-related Evidence from a Partnership Between a Targeted Project (TASEL-M) and a RETA (MSP-MAP). MSP Evaluation Summit.
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Abstract: "Our evaluation summit presentation will inform discussions about student learning and participation with data from the first year of our collaboration on student motivation and how it changes over time. In addition, we will discuss how early findings are influencing project design and professional development by showing how data are being presented to teachers in ways that encourage dialogue about change in practice."
Education Week (2003). Technology Counts 2003: Pencil's Down: Technology's Answer to Testing. Ed. Week.
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Abstract: This is the 6th annual report on technology by Education Week and it focuses on computer-based testing. School districts and states are increasingly turning to online testing to meet new requirements of such initiatives as the No Child Left Behind Act. Several states are already using or piloting this method raising several new issues about assessment. This report contains in depth articles on these issues and they include: A Law's Effect, 'Adaptive' Testing, Online Test Prep, Special Education Tools, Classroom Exams, A Changing Market, and Digital Grading. The report also includes sections with state profiles and state-by-state data on school computer use.
NOTE: This resource is published on the Education Week web site. The link above will take you to an abstract page. To view the full-text for this article, you will need to either sign-in to Education Week with the appropriate membership or purchase this article.
John Eggebrecht, Gay Stewart (2012). College Ready Curriculum Development Survey: Student and Teacher Beliefs. .
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Abstract: "College Ready participants have been encouraged to revise curriculum materials in ways that will better serve their students and be consistent with their instructional resources. To help guide decisions about the revision of curriculum, participants each year have been given the opportunity to survey their students readiness to learn. These surveys have addressed student beliefs about the nature of knowledge, the nature of science, and their role in learning. Teachers have also been given the opportunity to complete similar surveys that can inform curriculum development by investigating the accuracy of the teachers perception of student beliefs. Summaries of these comparisons are provided here for all courses for which both College Ready teachers and their students responded to the survey."
Joni Falk, Brian Drayton (2004). State Testing and Inquiry Based Science: Are They Complementary or Competing Reforms?. Journal of Educational Change.
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"The effect of district strategies for improving high-stakes test scores on science teachers' practice is explored in case studies of six middle schools in six Massachusetts districts. At each school, science teachers, curriculum coordinators, principals, and superintendents shared their strategies for raising scores, their attitudes towards the test, the changes that they were implementing in their curriculum and pedagogical approaches, and the effects that the test was having on staff and on students. Results from these case studies suggest that districts chose markedly different strategies for raising scores on high stakes tests, and that the approaches taken by districts influenced the nature of pedagogical and curriculum changes in the classroom. District strategies for raising scores that were complementary to the district's prior vision of science reform tended to cause less teacher resentment towards the test than strategies that departed from previously adopted goals. Differing effects on teachers in socioeconomically "advantaged," "middle," and "challenged" districts are discussed."

We have posted a working-paper version.
Final version published in: Journal of Educational Change 5:4 344-387, © 2004 Kluwer Academic Publishers
Final Publication is available at
or an electronic reprint will be sent on request to: Joni Falk

Joni Falk, Brian Drayton (2002). Cultivating a Culture of Inquiry. TERC.
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Abstract: This paper outlines a study conducted by Joni and Brian since 1998 exploring how middle school science teachers interpret and implement a shift to inquiry-based science.

"Our goal was to listen to teachers' voices, watch their practice, and explore the school and district context within which they are enacting their understanding of inquiry. We have found that one strong influence on teachers' enactment of inquiry-based science is the degree of coherence provided by the district's vision of this reform."

Joni Falk, Brian Drayton, Soo-Young Lee (2005). MSPnet: Nested Communities Interacting Online. MSP Evaluation Summit.
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"MSPnet is an electronic community of practice that provides the MSP program with a web-based, interactive electronic community of practice. Its goals are to:
  • Provide a vehicle for all NSF MSP projects to access and to share resources, emerging research, tools, best practices, obstacles, and strategies.
  • Provide each project with an interactive website that will allow for the sharing of resources as well as communication tools to enhance and sustain dialogue between constituents and partners at a distance.
  • Enhance the public's access to and knowledge of the MSP program.
  • Deepen the research and knowledge base on electronic communities of practice.
In order to design our web environment to accomplish these goals, we needed to undertake two kinds of analysis. First, we needed to develop a model of the community we were to serve. Second, we needed to design a web space that reflected our best understanding of the structure and needs of the MSP community. We fully expected that our initial analyses would enable us to serve the M SP community well, but that experience would provide us with indications for improvement, either in our understanding of the community, or in the tools designed to serve the community. In this paper, we briefly describe our community model, relate that to the resulting website design, and then examine data from the first year and a half of MSPnet's service, to reflect upon aspects of this large, innovative virtual community."
Christine Franklin, Gary Kader, Denise Mewborn, Jerry Moreno, Roxy Peck, Mike Perry, Richard Scheaffer (2007). Guidelines For Assessment And Instruction In Statistics Education (GAISE) Report: A Pre-K-12 Curriculum Framework. American Statistical Association.
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Abstract: The main objective of this document is to provide a conceptual Framework for K-12 statistics education. The foundation for this Framework rests on the NCTM Principles and Standards for School Mathematics (2000).
Kasi Fuller, Mark St. John, Michael Howard, Pamela Tambe (2004). Appalachian Mathematics Science Partnership (AMSP) 2003-2004 Evaluation Report. Inverness Research.
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"One of the roles of evaluation is to help conceptualize the project as an investment in educational improvement. This conceptualization must, of course, be congruent with the overall design characteristics of the initiative. That is, a project funded under the MSP initiative will look very different from, say, an State Systemic Initiative or a Local Systemic Change project. But the project must also be conceptualized in a way that makes sense for the local context it is working within. Hence all NSF funded projects represent an investment that bridges the gap between the NSF initiative design guidelines and the local capacities and needs that comprise the reality of the landscape within which the project must work.

In this report Inverness Research seeks to help both the NSF site visit team as well the project itself conceptualize the investment in a way that makes sense for the both initiative and the local reality. More specifically, they conceptualize partnership as a generative structure that supports the development of local working partnerships. The AMSP partnership is large -- 9 institutes of higher education and 51 school districts -- but the conceptualization here may nonetheless be useful for other MSPs." -- Mark St. John, July 2004.

Andy Hargreaves, Dean Fink (2005). The Energy of Change. Book Excerpt.
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Abstract: "Better quality education that will benefit all students and last over time, demands that we address the sustainability of innovation and change efforts. If the first challenge of change is to ensure it's desirable, and the second challenge is to make it doable, then the biggest challenge of all is to make it durable and sustainable."
Heather C. Hill, Brian Rowan, Deborah Loewenberg Ball (2005). Effects of Teachers' Mathematical Knowledge for Teaching on Student Achievement. American Educational Research Journal.
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Abstract: "Acting on the assumption that improved teacher knowledge will yield gains in student achievement, scholars and policy-makers have focused increasing attention and resources on improving teachers' mathematical knowledge for teaching. Content-focused professional development, mathematically-supportive curriculum materials, and redesigned pre-service preparation programs are all examples of this effort. However, few studies have empirically demonstrated that teachers' mathematical knowledge is related to student achievement, especially at the elementary level. Further, existing studies have neglected to explore key questions about how this relationship is constituted.

Using data from students, teachers, and schools participating in a large study of comprehensive school reform, and using novel measures that capture both common and specialized mathematical knowledge for teaching, we explore the degree to which teachers' mathematical knowledge contributes to gains in student achievement. We find a positive effect of teacher mathematical knowledge on first and third graders' gain scores. We investigate the linearity of this relationship, discuss other findings from our models, and suggest implications for policy, professional development, and further research."

Heather C. Hill, Stephen G. Schilling, Deborah Loewenberg Ball (2004). Developing Measures of Teachers' Mathematics Knowledge for Teaching. Elementary School Journal.
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Abstract: "In this article we discuss efforts to design and empirically test measures of teachers' content knowledge for teaching elementary mathematics. We begin by reviewing the literature on teacher knowledge, noting how scholars have organized such knowledge. Next we describe survey items we wrote to represent knowledge for teaching mathematics and results from factor analysis and scaling work with these items. We found that teachers' knowledge for teaching elementary mathematics was multidimensional and included knowledge of various mathematical topics (e.g., number and operations, algebra) and domains (e.g., knowledge of content, knowledge of students and content). The constructs indicated by factor analysis formed psychometrically acceptable scales."
N.R. Iverson (2005). Mathematics Professional Development That Focuses On Student Achievement: A Parallel Case Example. The Journal of Mathematics and Science: Collaborative Exploratio.
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Abstract: "The creation of a PreK-8 Mathematics Specialist credential provides an unprecedented opportunity for Virginia school leaders to improve student achievement in mathematics. If this opportunity is to yield hoped for outcomes, the professional development that supports shifts in teachers' understanding and practice will need to be far more focused, coherent, and job embedded than most current mathematics improvement efforts. This article examines four issues to address this challenge. First, it notes the depth of the changes in knowledge, skills, and beliefs that a substantive move toward National Council of Teachers of Mathematics reform driven and standards-based instruction will require. Next, it presents an integrated model for professional knowledge growth that considers both individual and organizational factors. Third, it examines the prevalence of both individual and organizational factors as described in a study contrasting professional development practices in high poverty Virginia elementary schools that varied markedly in their success in reducing the number of kindergarten children assessed as at risk for reading failure. Concurrently, it outlines features of professional development that support the implementation of effective mathematics improvement efforts. While the knowledge base required for effective reading instruction is different from the knowledge base needed to inculcate best instructional practice in mathematics, the approach to professional development efforts and the role of content specialists in supporting those efforts may provide insight that can help frame mathematics improvement efforts."
S.M. Johnson, J.H. Berg, M.L. Donaldson (2005). Who Stays in Teaching and Why: A Review of the Literature on Teacher Retention. NRTA.
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Abstract: "At a first-ever symposium for experts studying teacher recruitment and retention issues, NRTA: AARP's Education Community released a new publication, Who Stays in Teaching and Why? Prepared by The Project on the Next Generation of Teachers at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, the Literature Review considers research that provides insight into problems of teacher shortage and turnover, offers a comprehensive explanation for why some able teachers leave the classroom prematurely, and suggests current strategies for increasing retention rates. The publication also recommends where further study is needed to help stem the high attrition rates for new teachers."
Amadu J. Kaba (2005). Progress of African Americans in Higher Education Attainment: The Widening Gender Gap and Its Current and Future Implications. EPAA.
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Abstract: "This research argues that despite all of the obstacles that African Americans have confronted in the history of the United States, they have made substantial progress in higher education attainment from the 1970s to the beginning of the 21st century. It reveals that the rise in attainment of college and university degrees has resulted in a substantial increase in living standards and that African Americans are making important economic, social and political contributions to the United States. I present several reasons why black males are not performing as well as black females in higher education attainment. Analyses are also presented regarding the current and future implications of the growing gap between black males and black females."
Harvey Kantor, Robert Lowe (2004). Reflections on History and Quality Education. Ed. Researcher.
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Abstract: "This essay questions the commonly held assumption that schools today are worse academically than they were in the past. It argues that schools have seldom been chiefly interested in intellectual inquiry. Nor have they ever been committed to providing a quality intellectual education to all students. We argue that if history has anything to tell us about quality education today, it is not that we must try to recapture a lost age of academic excellence but that we cannot create truly excellent schools without addressing the inequities that have long been embedded in them or without understanding how those marginalized by the educational system have struggled to confront inequities."
Mary M. Kennedy (1999). Form and Substance in Mathematics and Science Professional Development. NISE Brief.
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Abstract: This Brief examines contentions about how teacher workshops should be organized "by reviewing studies of professional development that examine benefits to students. A major finding from this review is that program content - what is being taught, such as classroom management strategies or knowledge of how students learn specific school subject matter - is an important predictor of benefit to students. This finding should not be a surprise, but it is in light of the literature describing optimal professional developent, which does not address content as much as it addresses program form and structure."
J. Kim, J. Smithson, R. Blank, L. Crasco (2002). Survey Results of Urban School Classroom Practices in Mathematics and Science. Systemic Res..
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Abstract: This report summarizes the results of a study of eight USI school districts. "The purpose of the study was to look at the impact of the USI program on student achievement and the learning infrastructure in urban school districts." The portion of the study that focuses on the effects of professional development in actual classroom practice may be of particular interest to this community.

Ben Levin (2004). Making Research Matter More. EPAA.
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Abstract: "Interest in strengthening the impact and value of education research has been growing around the world. Here I outline a view of the nature of "impact" and point to instances where research has had a positive impact in education, but always within a larger social and political framework. A three element "model" of research impact is developed and used as the basis to assess current situations and to suggest steps that could be taken to support a fuller contribution to education and learning from research."
Lisa Towne, Jack M. Fletcher, and Lauress L. Wise, Editors , Committee on Research in Education, National Research Council (2004). Strengthening Peer Review in Federal Agencies that Support Education Research. The National Academies Press.
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Peer review is a method used to inform decision making by engaging experts in a critical evaluation of the merits of a product or proposal. It is most commonly known as a mechanism for judging the quality of proposals for research funding, or manuscripts submitted for publication in academic journals.

The focus of this report is on peer review as it is applied to the evaluation of proposals for federal funding of education research projects... A long-standing tool of science policy in the United States, peer review is widely recognized as the preferred method for judging the merits of proposals for research funding. Across the federal government, it is used in a variety of contexts and for a variety of purposes-- both scientific and political in nature. It is at once a tool with which scientific judgment is formalized and decisions about the allocation of scarce public resources are legitimized.

Deborah Loewenberg Ball, Heather C. Hill, Hyman Bass (2005). Knowing Mathematics for Teaching: Who Knows Mathematics Well Enough To Teach Third Grade, and How Can We Decide?. American Educator.
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Abstract: "There is general agreement that teachers' knowledge of the mathematical content to be taught is the cornerstone of effective mathematics instruction. But the actual extent and nature of the mathematical knowledge teachers need remains a matter of controversy. A new program of research into what it means to know mathematics for teaching--and how that knowledge relates to student achievement--may help provide some answers."
Nancy Love (2004). Taking Data to New Depths. Journal of Staff Development.
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Abstract: "There's a ton of data being collected. The trick is to know how to use it effectively."

"Schools are gathering more and more data, but having data available does not mean the data are used to guide instructional improvement. Many schools lack the process to connect the data they have with the results they must produce. The Using Data Project focuses on developing professional developers, administrators, and teachers who can lead a collaborative inquiry process and strengthen the collaborative culture of their schools or departments. The aim is to influence school culture to be one in which educators use data continuously, collaboratively, and effectively to improve teaching and learning mathematics and science."

Alexis Martin, Frieda McAlear, Allison Scott (2015). Path Not Found: Disparities in Computer Science Course Access in California High Schools. Level Playing Field Institute.
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Abstract: Twenty-first century careers and economic growth in the United States are increasingly dependent upon computing expertise. In California, the home of Silicon Valley, the economy is tied to the sustainability of its rapidly-growing technology sector. Unfortunately, diversity statistics among leading Silicon Valley technology companies indicate that the technology workforce is overwhelmingly white and male, while women and people of color are greatly underrepresented relative to their proportion of the population. With the changing racial landscape of the state and the nation, the lack of diversity within computing fields suggests there is a large pool of untapped talent which comprises a critical component of the future computing workforce. Given the rising demand for skilled computer science professionals in California, it is vital that the state's public schools provide all students with a solidfoundation in computer science coursework. However, Californias school system is failing to prepare its students--particularly low income students and students of color--for the technology jobs of the future. Path Not Found exposes one of the foundational causes of underrepresentation in computing: disparities in access to computer science courses in California's public high schools. The Level Playing Field Institute conducted analyses to disaggregate current computer science offerings by student demographic variables. This report illuminates vast disparities in access to computer science courses in California public high schools by race, socioeconomic status, and linguistic background, and finds that computer science courses are offered at consistently higher rates in schools with student populations that are already disproportionately represented in the computing sector.
Teresa Neidorf, Marilyn Binkley, Maria Stephens (2006). Comparing Science Content in the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) 2000 and Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) 2003 Assessments. NCES.
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Abstract: "This report describes a study that was undertaken to compare the content of two fourth- and eighth-grade assessments in science: the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) and the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS). The report provides information that will be useful for interpreting and comparing the results from the two assessments, based on an in-depth look at the content of the respective frameworks and assessment items. The report draws upon information provided by the developers of the assessments, as well as data obtained from an expert panel convened to compare the frameworks and items from the two assessments on various dimensions."
Penny Nolte, Douglas Harris (2006). VMP Evaluation Findings Related to Changes in Teaching Practice, Drawn from Qualitative Focus Group Data. MSP Evaluation Summit II.
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Abstract: "Building on the needs assessment format used by the Vermont Mathematics Partnership (VMP) in designing its professional development (PD) strategy with participating schools, annual focus groups involving teachers and staff across grade levels, specialization, and PD experiences have been conducted by the evaluators as an integral part of the evaluation. These rich qualitative data sources not only serve to document the participants' views and experiences, but help to make visible the systemic changes taking place as a result of VMP. The gatherings also provide a forum for sharing information and outcomes with participants, and to identify sites where further targeted focus forums or in-depth interviews are warranted.

Our analysis compares transcripts from the earliest needs assessments and focus groups with the gatherings held subsequently. The NVivo software we are using to track the themes found is unique in providing aid for analysis through a "live matrix" table view that allows us to link back to the original source documents - full text transcripts - in order to understand the patterns that reveal a web of influences at work."
Office of Inspector General, Response by MSP/EHR (2004). Audit of NSF's Math and Science Partnership Program and MSP/EHR's response to the report. NSF.
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The Office of the Inspector General recently conducted an audit of the MSP program in order to determine whether the MSP award recipients have effective evaluation processes in place, and to determine NSF's plan to evaluate the overall performance of the MSP program.

The full report as well as the response offered by the Directorate of EHR and the MSP Program has been made available by NSF.

Brief excerpt from MSP/EHR response:

"...perhaps the most important point to be made is that elements in a project's evaluation plan that are perceived by the Audit Team as "missing" are not always indicative of a flaw in evaluation planning, but rather of the evolving project design that emanates for its R & D nature." (p.22)

We hope that this statement as well as other assertions made by the Audit Team and by NSF will serve to stimulate a rich discussion among MSPnet Hub members.

Join the Discussion on Evaluating the MSPs

Table of Contents

Expectations for MSP Project and Program Evaluation2
Objective, Scope, and Methodology3
Results of Audit6
NSF Needs to Provide MSP Project Evaluation Guidance7
Agency Response and OIG Comments12
NSF Needs to Make Evaluating the MSP Program a Priority14
Agency Response and OIG Comments15
A. Agency Response16

ML Plecki, AM Elfers, H Loeb, A Zahir, MS Knapp (2005). Teacher Retention and Mobility: A Look Inside and Across Districts and Schools in Washington State. CSTP.
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Abstract: "This report examines teacher retention and mobility in Washington's teaching force at state, district, and school levels during a recent five-year period (1998-99 and 2002-03). First, we provide data about overall retention patterns across the state. We then turn our attention to a more intensive look at 20 districts. The 20 districts selected represent the range of district size, poverty level and regions of the state, and include many of the largest districts. The 20 districts represent nearly 30 percent of the state's teaching force (14,286 classroom teachers) and over a quarter of the state's students (276,641 students). For these 20 districts, we present a school-by-school examination of teacher mobility, comparing patterns among districts and also looking inside districts. We examine retention and mobility in relation to student demographics, measures of student learning in reading and mathematics, and other school and district characteristics."
RAND Mathematics Study Panel, Deborah Loewenberg Ball, Chair (2003). Mathematical Proficiency for All Students: Toward a Strategic Research and Development Program in Mathematics Education. RAND.
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Abstract: This extensive report proposes a long-term strategic research and development program that focuses on raising mathematical proficiency and removing inequalities. It may be of particular interest and usefulness to those projects involved in K-12 math reform.

Abstract: "This report grew out of concerns about the weak levels of mathematical proficiency among U.S. citizens and the inequities in the achievement of students of different ethnic, cultural, and social groups. Debates concerning the value of specific curricula, requirements for teacher knowledge, and standards that students should meet are poorly informed because research evidence is lacking. ...The program addresses issues directly related to teaching and learning by focusing on three domains: developing teachers' mathematical knowledge for teaching; teaching and learning mathematical practices--the mathematical know-how that characterizes expertise in learning and using mathematics; and teaching and learning algebra in grades K-12."

Kimberley Raue, Joy Frechtling, Xiaodong Zhang, Gary Hedges (2005). Teacher Change in High School Science: Findings from the First Three Years of the Vertically Integrated Partnerships (VIP) K-16. MSP Evaluation Summit.
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Abstract: "[T]his paper reports on findings from the first three years of implementation within Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS), specifically changes in teachers' instructional practices and attitudes, as well factors that have facilitated or hindered teacher change. Additionally, VIP has strongly promoted science as inquiry, the ability of students to use "scientific reasoning and critical thinking to develop their understanding of science," which is a reflection of national standards (National Science Teachers Association, 2004; National Research Council, 1996; American Association for the Advancement of Science, 1993). An emphasis on inquiry-based instruction has been infused throughout VIP-supported activities, and given its importance within VIP, as well as in standards-based educational reforms more generally, particular attention is paid to its implementation and differing conceptions of inquiry-based teaching within the VIP community.

Data are drawn primarily from two sources: 1) pre- and post-program surveys of VIP's Biology Cohort and 2) classroom observations of a sample of VIP's Matter and Energy/Earth Space Systems Cohort. Data collected through other means, such as teacher evaluations of VIP-sponsored conferences and summer institutes, a focus group of Biology Cohort teachers, and a survey of Master Science Teachers (MSTs) reinforce findings from the survey and observations. The discussion of inquiry and factors influencing teacher change has broad applicability to other projects embarking on educational reform."
Lauren B. Resnick (Ed.) (2005). Teaching Teachers: Professional Development To Improve Student Achievement. AERA Research Points.
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Abstract: "Good teachers form the foundation of good schools, and improving teachers' skills and knowledge is one of the most important investments of time and money that local, state, and national leaders make in education. Yet with the wide variety of professional development options available, which methods have the most impact on student learning? "
Promoting Rigorous Outcomes in Mathematics and Science Education (2006). Research Report - Knowing Mathematics: What We Can Learn from Teachers. PROM/SE Research Report.
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Abstract: The report highlights data collected from over 4,100 K-12 teachers in nearly 60 participating school districts in Michigan and Ohio. PROM/SE surveyed K-12 mathematics teachers about their knowledge of mathematics for teaching and how they acquired it. Key findings reveal significant differences among grade bands and in participating districts in teachers' feelings of preparedness to teach nearly 50 mathematics topics. Data reveal that elementary and middle school teachers do not feel well prepared to teach higher math topics which most likely impacts their ability to lay critical foundations for their students' later, higher math success. Long-term and systematic solutions for K-12 districts, professional development, and teacher preparation programs are discussed. Key recommendations for districts are provided, including: recognizing that teachers need professional development that focuses on specific topics in the mathematics school curriculum to offer them a deep understanding of these topics; assigning the most mathematically sophisticated teachers to foundational high school courses such as first year algebra; and creating induction programs for beginning teachers that emphasize the teaching of specific mathematics content.
Richard Rothstein, Tamara Wilder (2005). The Many Dimensions of Racial Inequity. Teachers College, Columbia University.
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Abstract: "Black-white inequality persists across the many institutions of American society, reflecting racial differences in education, health, economic security, and civic and cultural life. We estimate black-white differences in a variety of domains; to compare disparate measures, we adopt some very approximate statistical assumptions that permit us to describe the experiences of the average African-American and the average non-Hispanic white as their percentile rankings in a national distribution... None of these percentile rankings should be taken as precisely estimated. But the patterns they reflect reveal an underlying inequality that persists across many domains of American society. Because causal relationships between these various domains are often multi-directional, it is likely that black-white inequality can be substantially reduced only by sustained policy attention to many, if not all of these domains simultaneously."
Lee S. Shulman (2005). Seek Simplicity ...and Distrust It. The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.
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Abstract: "Alfred North Whitehead's dictum about the virtues and dangers of simplicity helps explain why we are confused about what kind of evidence should be used to guide education policy. We often have lots of evidence to choose from; the problem is making sense of it and drawing the right lessons."
Gary Silverstein, Robyn Bell, Joy Frechtling, Atsushi Miyaoka (2005). MSP MIS Summary Data for Comprehensive and Targeted Partnership Projects: 2000-03 and 2003-04 School Years. WESTAT for NSF.
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Abstract: The Math and Science Partnership (MSP) Management Information System (MIS) is designed to obtain annual information from each MSP-funded project. This information can be used to describe the implementation and impact of the overall MSP program and to monitor the progress of individual MSP awards. This report summarizes the initial findings for 34 Cohort 1 and 2 MSP projects for the 2002-03 and 2003-04 school years and provides evidence that projects are laying the groundwork for significant changes in their participating educational institutions. Most notably, projects are making progress in establishing the kinds of partnerships envisioned by NSF. The unique feature of these partnerships, the involvement of disciplinary faculty in the reform efforts, is in place and growing. The number of teachers and students involved in participating K-12 schools is also increasing--and data suggest that projects are, in fact, addressing the needs of urban and rural students with significant needs.
John Smithson, Rolf Blank (2006). Indicators of Quality of Teacher Professional Development and Instructional Change Using Data From Surveys of Enacted Curriculum: Findings from NSF MSP-RETA Project. MSP Learning Network Conference, January 2006.
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Abstract: In 2002, an MSP-RETA project grant was awarded to the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) to conduct an empirical study of the quality of professional development provided through MSP supported projects that would test new survey-based tools for analyzing the effectiveness of teacher professional development. A team led by CCSSO with partners at American Institutes for Research and the Wisconsin Center for Education Research conducted the study. The present paper describes findings from the study team's longitudinal analysis of data from Surveys of Enacted Curriculum with teachers of math and science in four MSP grantee sites. Data were collected from teachers at two points in time -- in year one (spring 2003) prior to the start of MSP professional development activities, and in year three (spring 2005) following two years of MSP activities. The study included teachers in MSP-supported professional development opportunities (treatment group) and other math and science teachers in the target districts (control group). Details concerning the study rationale based on prior research and the study design are outlined in the Year 2 Study Report (CCSSO, 2004).

Research Questions
To assist NSF and the Math-Science Partnerships toward the goal of improving methods of evaluating the professional development models for improving teacher knowledge and skills, the study team designed a three-year empirical study to demonstrate and test an objective, reliable methodology for measuring the quality of professional development activities. The study data are being analyzed to measure the effects teacher professional development opportunities on improving the quality of instruction in mathematics and science education. More specifically, the study has three main research questions: To what extent is the quality of the professional development supported by MSP activities consistent with research-based definitions of quality? What effects do teachers' professional development experiences have on instructional practices and content taught in math and science classes? Are high-quality professional development activities more likely than lower-quality activities to increase the alignment of instructional content with state standards and assessments?
James P. Spillane, Eric Camburn (2006). The Practice of Leading and Managing: The Distribution of Responsibility for Leadership and Management in the Schoolhouse. DRAFT, presented at AERA.
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Abstract: "In this paper, we take a distributed perspective to examine how the work of leading and managing the schoolhouse is distributed across people. Beginning with the leader-plus aspect of a distributed perspective, the paper examines which school actors take on leadership and management work. Comparing and contrasting different types of leadership/management activities, we argue that individuals who take responsibility for the work depends on the activity-type. By examining how leadership is distributed, we show that co-performance of leading and managing activities are not unusual in schools."
SRI International (1998). Technology and Education Reform. SRI.
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Abstract: This research project conducted by SRI International presents case studies of schools where school staff were active participants in incorporating technology to support education reform. At the nine case study sites, technology serves the goals of education reform by contributing to student learning through involvement with authentic, challenging tasks, new roles for students and teachers, professionalization of teachers, and the creation of a culture that supports learning both in the classroom and beyond the school walls.

Gail L. Sunderman, Christopher A. Tracey, Jimmy Kim, Gary Orfield (2004). Listening to Teachers: Classroom Realities and No Child Left Behind. Harvard Civil Rights Project.
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Abstract: "When it comes to understanding what teachers think they need to improve their schools, these findings point us in some important directions. Teachers need more resources, but they believe these resources should be for curricular and instructional materials aligned with state standards. They want more time to collaborate with other teachers more than they want additional professional development time. And they want to have experienced administrators in their schools, to work with experienced teachers, and to have more involvement of parents. Their support for directing resources to the curriculum and for experienced staff is far greater than their support for accountability reforms or their desire to teach better performing students."
Charles T. Clotfelter, Helen F. Ladd, Jacob L. Vigdor (2012). The Aftermath of Accelerating Algebra: Evidence from a District Policy Initiative. National Center For Analysis Of Longitudinal Data In Education R.
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Abstract: "In 2002/03, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools initiated a broad program of accelerating entry into algebra coursework. The proportion of moderately-performing students taking 8th grade algebra increased from less than half to nearly 90%, then reverted to baseline levels, in the span of just six age cohorts. We use this policy-induced variation to infer the impact of accelerated entry into algebra on student performance in math courses as students progress through high school. Students affected by the acceleration initiative scored significantly lower on end-of-course tests in Algebra I, and were either no more likely or significantly less likely to pass standard follow-up courses, Geometry and Algebra II, on a college-preparatory timetable. We also find that the district assigned teachers with weaker qualifications to Algebra I classes in the first year of the acceleration, but this reduction in teacher quality accounts for only a small portion of the overall effect."
Cindy M. Walker, Jacqueline Gosz, DeAnn Huinker (2005). Measuring the Effect of the Milwaukee Mathematics Partnership on Student Achievement. MSP Evaluation Summit.
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Abstract: "...Part of the evaluation of the Milwaukee Mathematics Partnership (MMP) focused on trying to capture some of the school level variability in variables that are not under the control of the MMP, with the thought that any increase in student achievement in mathematics is ultimately affected by differences in how the model of professional development is being implemented in each of the respective schools. The primary purpose of this paper is to determine whether reported differences in these variables are related to differences in student achievement gains in mathematics. For example, is there a greater increase in student achievement in mathematics in schools that report discussing mathematics more often or for schools with a collaborative and supportive LT? A secondary purpose of this paper is to compare and contrast the two aforementioned accountability systems, status based and value-added, in terms of assessing the effectiveness of a large-scale educational reform such as the Milwaukee Mathematics Partnership (MMP). These two methods will be compared in terms of outcomes and viability of application. Finally issues specific to the MMP that have been encountered in attempting to implement a system of accountability will be addressed. These issues are vitally important because they threaten the validity of any conclusions that may be drawn in terms of the impact of the MMP on increasing student achievement in mathematics."
Iris R. Weiss, Joan D. Pasley, P. Sean Smith, Eric R. Banilower, Daniel J. Heck (2003). Looking Inside the Classroom: A Study of K-12 Mathematics and Science Education in the United States. Horizon Research.
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Abstract: "This report details findings from observations of and interviews with 364 science and mathematics teachers in schools across the United States. Areas addressed include: how science and mathematics are portrayed, the intellectual engagement of students in lessons, the accuracy of science and mathematics content, teacher questioning strategies, and factors that determine teachers' choice of content and instructional strategies. The report also includes technical detail on study methodology and several appendices with descriptions of individual lessons."
Harold Wenglinsky (2004). Closing the Racial Achievement Gap: The Role of Reforming Instructional Practices. EPAA.
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Abstract: "No Child Left Behind calls for schools to close the achievement gap between races in math and reading. One possible way for schools to do so is to encourage their teachers to engage in practices that disproportionately benefit their minority students. The current study applies the technique of Hierarchical Linear Modeling to a nationally representative sample of 13,000 fourth graders who took the 2000 National Assessment of Educational Progress in mathematics to identify instructional practices that reduce the achievement gap. It finds that, even when taking student background into account, various instructional practices can make a substantial difference."
John Wirt, Richard Tobin, Anindita Sen, Patrick Rooney, Stephen Provasnik, Susan Choy (2003). The Condition of Education 2003. NCES.
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Abstract: Abstract: "The Condition of Education summarizes important developments and trends in education using the latest available data. The report, which is required by law, is an indicator report intended for a general audience of readers who are interested in education. The indicators represent a consensus of professional judgment on the most significant national measures of the condition and progress of education for which accurate data are available. The 2003 print edition includes 44 indicators in six main areas: (1) enrollment trends and student characteristics at all levels of the education system from elementary education to adult learning; (2) student achievement and the longer term, enduring effects of education; (3) student effort and rates of progress through the educational system among different population groups; (4) the contexts of elementary and secondary education in terms of courses taken, teacher characteristics, and other factors; (5) the contexts of postsecondary education; and (6) societal support for learning, including parental and community support for learning, and public and private financial support of education at all levels."

This is a very lengthy report but it may be accessed in smaller pieces (all PDF files) making it easier to read and faster to download.

Osman Yasar, Ed Chi, Jeff Mikols, Susana Navarro, Joan Ferrini-Mundy (2003). Congressional Hearing on Implementation of the Math Science Partnership Program: Views from the Field. House Science Committee.
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Abstract: On Thursday, October 30, 2003 the Subcommittee on Research of the House Science Committee held a hearing to discuss the implementation of the Math Science Partnership (MSP) Program at the National Science Foundation (NSF). The MSP Program, part of President Bush's No Child Left Behind initiative, was authorized by the House in the NSF Authorization Act, which was signed into law in December 2002. The program provides grants to partnerships of universities and school districts (and sometimes businesses) to improve K-12 math and science education. This hearing was the Congress's first look at how this major new initiative is working.
Hearing Transcript (html)
Dr. Osman Yasar, lead researcher for the Targeted MSP award at the State University of New York (SUNY) Brockport.
Mr. Ed Chi, Science Teacher at Brighton School District in New York.
Mr. Jeff Mikols, Math Teacher, at Rochester City School District in New York.
Dr. Susana Navarro, lead researcher for the Comprehensive MSP award at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP).
Dr. Joan Ferrini-Mundy, lead researcher for the Comprehensive MSP grant at Michigan State University.
Robert K. Yin, Darnella Davis (2006). State-Level Education Reform: Putting All The Pieces Together. Systemide Efforts to Improve Student Achievement.
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Abstract: This report draws from a study of statewide reform in mathematics and science education in eight states. These states were chosen for this study because their reform efforts were extensive and had spanned at least 10 years of support from the National Science Foundation's Statewide Systemic Initiative (NSF-SSI), with those awards in part made in recognition of the states' broader reform progress.

This chapter's goal is to gain insight into: a) the panoply of policy levers and methods available to state officials in conducting reform, b) state-level reform in its entirety, and not just c) the portion supported by an external initiative such as the NSF-SSI. The chapter first assesses the reform achieved by the eight states and then discusses the forces that appeared important in the reform process. The latter discussion concludes by interpreting the role of the NSF-SSI within the broader reform process.

Yong Zhao, Joe Byers, Steve Sheldon, Kevin Pugh (2003). Conditions for Classroom Technology Innovations. TCRecord.
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This article reports on a study of classroom technology integration. The main purpose of the study was to empirically address the questions of "why don't teachers innovate when they are given computers?" and "why don't teachers integrate computers in their teaching in more meaningful ways?" The authors followed a group of K-12 teachers who were recipients of a technology grant program and were attempting to integrate technology-rich projects into their classrooms. The study found eleven salient factors that significantly impact the degree of success of classroom technology innovations are found each of which can be placed in one of three interactive domains, the teacher, the innovation, and the context. The authors discuss these factors in detail and suggest approaches for successful technology integration into classrooms.

Yong Zhao, Paul Conway (2002). What's In, What's Out & An Analysis of State Educational Technology Plans. TCR.
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This popular article (rated by TCRecord as its most popular article of 2001) analyzes visions behind state technology plans.

Abstract: "There are four important dimensions of educational technology: technology, students, teachers, and educational goals. How each of the aspects is viewed and presented in the technology plans influences decisions on hardware and software purchases, strategies for teacher professional development, formulation of teaching objectives, as well as development of learning opportunities for students. Our analysis concentrated on views of these dimensions, specifically on the views endorsed and ignored by the technology plans."

The Condition of Education 2006 (2006). National Center for Education Statistics.
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Abstract: "The Condition of Education 2006 summarizes important developments and trends in education using the latest available data. The report presents 50 indicators on the status and condition of education and a special analysis on international assessments. The indicators represent a consensus of professional judgment on the most significant national measures of the condition and progress of education for which accurate data are available. The 2006 print edition includes 50 indicators in five main areas: (1) participation in education; (2) learner outcomes; (3) student effort and educational progress; (4) the contexts of elementary and secondary education; and (5) the contexts of postsecondary education. The report finds, for example, that U.S. 15-year-olds had lower average scores in mathematics and science literacy than most of their international peers from Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)-member countries that participated in the 2003 survey. While results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress show steady improvement in mathematics scores for 4th- and 8th-graders and science scores have improved for 4th-graders, science literacy was lower in 2005 than in 1996 at grade 12."
What Experience Has Taught Us About Collaboration (2004). The Eisenhower Network.
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"This document is intended as a primer on collaborative work. It reflects the cumulative knowledge of the 10 members of the federally mandated Eisenhower Regional Mathematics and Science Education Consortia Program, for whom these lessons are lived experiences. ...From the current joint NSF/ED Mathematics and Science Partnerships initiative to the future Comprehensive Assistance Centers, a new generation of programs is about to emerge for whom collaborative work must become a way of life. These programs can shorten their learning curve and boost their effectiveness by drawing on the understandings of those who came before them.

This report explores the process by which the consortia have developed from new projects of unknown value into effective facilitators of school improvement. The report begins with a brief look at the ways in which collaboration is characterized in the literature and in the consortia's work. It then moves to a discussion of strategies and steps for building effective collaborative relationships. Finally, the report explores several "deep structure" issues (Crowson & Boyd, 1996) that present the most challenging and deeply resistant barriers to collaborative work."

Note: This publication is the first of a planned series of four. The remaining topics are professional development, intensive services, and dissemination. The purpose of the Eisenhower Regional Consortia program is to help improve the nation's mathematics and science education through the provision of a multitude of services, including technology, curriculum and instructional resources, professional development, dissemination, and forums for communication.