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Mathematics and Science Content Knowledge

In the evaluation of LSC professional development programs, ratings of the quality of mathematics and science content in the professional development was one of several factors that were applied to the measurement of overall program quality. Other aspects included:

  • quality of preparation of professional development providers
  • culture of the professional development program
  • helping teachers to become familiar with designated materials and appropriate pedagogy.

A regression analysis of these quality measurements was conducted (Shimkus & Banilower, 2004a) using hierarchical modeling, with time points nested within projects. Among the various dimensions of professional development, program ratings for professional development around content were typically lower than for other factors. However, similar to the other dimensions, ratings for deepening teachers' understanding of mathematics /science content increased substantially as the project matured. Only 42 percent of LSC programs in the Baseline Year received high ratings in the content dimension, while 73 percent of LSC programs received high ratings in Year Five.

Deepening Teachers' Understanding of Mathematics/Science Content,
by Project Age

Deepening Teachers' Understanding of Mathematics/Science Content

Challenges

In some cases, evaluators noted that teacher leaders charged with providing professional development were sometimes under-prepared to deepen teachers' content knowledge. In addition, LSC project directors may have underestimated the extent of teachers' needs in this area. Thus, a larger share of professional time may need to focus on content, or on embedding content into other professional development sessions.


The LSC Capstone Report: Lessons from a Decade of Mathematics and Science Reform
(PDF) [354 KB]