Standards Based Math Instruction in Upper Elementary

Eureka Elementary, a district run school located in California, is home to approximately 275 students of diverse backgrounds, including an influx of newcomers from Latin America and the Middle East. With historically low test scores in math, the coach team conducted several observations, gathering data to determine the root causes for our unacceptable performance on state measures. From those observations, the data showed a disconnect in instruction between the intended standard for the lesson and the task students were completing. The research supports the need to develop teacher pedagogical content knowledge, understanding of the common core standards, including the shifts, and best practices for adult learning in impacting change. To build our teams pedagogical content knowledge in math, understanding of standards and the shift in common core, our coach team implemented a six week cycle of professional development cycle using best practices from adult learning theory. Data collected throughout the PD series were analyzed including researchers observation and meeting notes, teacher lesson plans, and end of cycle reflection survey showed that there was a shift in teacher’s conceptual understanding of math and how those concepts build through the grades. Teachers reported that peer observations with structured debriefs, as well as, opportunities to solve math problems in collaboration with peers and content specialist had the highest impact on their learning.

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