Providing On-going Support for STEM Teachers Joan D. Pasley Horizon Research, Inc. Successful K-12 STEM Education: Identifying Effective Approaches in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Recommendations for schools and districts: • Enhance the capacity of K-12 teachers. • Create school conditions that appear to support student achievement. Purpose of this Session 1. What do we know about effective professional development to enhance the capacity of K-12 STEM teachers? 2. What “conditions” support effective STEM teaching and learning? MSP Knowledge Management and Dissemination Project Goal: To synthesize knowledge generated through the Math and Science Partnerships and integrate it into the broader knowledge base for education reform – – – – Deepening Teacher Content Knowledge Teachers as Intellectual Leaders Involvement of STEM faculty Professional Learning Communities • What do we know about effective professional development to enhance the capacity of K-12 STEM teachers? • Think about the most effective professional development you’ve offered or attended. What were the factors that made the experience effective? • Discuss with others at your table. How many of you discussed the following? • On-going, sustains focus over time • Content-focused • Models effective practice, including active learning experiences • Provides opportunities for teachers to apply what they are learning to their own practice • Engages teachers in communities of learners What do we know? • Professional development design and implementation is complex, with many decisions to make. • Decisions are interrelated. • Our eyes are always bigger than our stomachs – we always want to do more in professional development than we are able to do. Simplified Logic Model for Professional Development Professional Development Teacher Knowledge and Skills Teaching Practice Student Outcomes Teacher content knowledge matters… Professional Development Teacher Content Knowledge Teaching Practice For teaching practice: •Selecting content to emphasize •Selecting instructional strategies and sequence •Selecting assessment tasks •Implementing curriculum materials Student Outcomes Teacher content knowledge matters… Professional Development Teacher Content Knowledge Teaching Practice Students of teachers with stronger content knowledge have higher achievement scores than other students, in particular on measures of conceptual understanding. Student Outcomes So if TCK matters… What do we know about deepening teacher content knowledge? Facets of Teacher Content Knowledge • Disciplinary content knowledge • Pedagogical content knowledge • Ways of knowing content MSP KMD Review of Research • Identified more than 1000 “studies” on PD to deepen teacher content-related knowledge MSP KMD Review of Research • However, approximately 90% of the studies were screened out because: – They were advocacy or opinion pieces, not research, and/or – They were studies of pre-service teachers only, and/or – They did not include a measure (quantitative or qualitative) of teacher content knowledge. MSP KMD Review of Research • Applied standards of evidence to 65 studies of professional development, those that were not simply opinion or advocacy pieces and actually measured teacher content knowledge. Based on the Evidence: An Effective PD Program… • Duration: Multi-year, ongoing, with substantial number of contact hours • Collective participation: Involves all teachers within each school • Job-embedded with active learning opportunities, with evaluation/assessment feedback. • Focus on content, student-learning, and instruction: – Disciplinary content – How students learn – Specific teaching practices • Research studies typically looked at the effectiveness of multiple professional development elements as a set, so we don’t know how much particular components of an intervention contributed to the gains. An Emerging Consensus Effective PD: • Focuses on content knowledge and how students learn content • Involves a substantial number of hours • Sustains focus over time • Models effective practice, including active learning experiences • Engages teachers in communities of learning • Involves active participation of school leaders Recent Study A randomized controlled trial tested characteristics of PD, including… • Substantial number of contact hours over a full-year duration, including summer institutes, academic year seminars and in-school coaching • Focus on developing teachers’ mathematics content and pedagogical content knowledge • Collective participation of teachers in a school The study findings indicated no statistically significant impact on student achievement after two years. What research tells us • Available research points to some elements of effective PD, but does not provide sufficient guidance about how to design and implement PD for particular purposes in particular kinds of situations. Filling the gap • “Sensible propositions” can provide additional guidance and serve as hypotheses for research. • MSP-KMD project developed a methodology for collecting and vetting practice-based insights. Disciplinary Content Knowledge Research suggests that: teachers can deepen their understanding of disciplinary content by working on challenging problems at an advanced level. Disciplinary Content Knowledge Expert practitioners caution that: Teachers need to see the connection between how they are encountering the content at an advanced level, and how the topic appears in the gradelevel content. Disciplinary Content Knowledge Expert practitioners caution that: • Developing deep conceptual understanding takes time; teachers need multiple opportunities to explore new ideas. Research suggests that teachers can deepen their understanding of disciplinary content and their pedagogical content knowledge by experiencing the student materials as learners. Expert practitioners highlight the need to: • Be careful that the content doesn’t get lost. Teachers need to learn the content AND learn how the activities are intended to help students develop their understanding. Expert practitioners highlight the need to: • Go beyond modeling effective pedagogy; professional development should allow time for facilitators to explicitly discuss the pedagogy that was modeled. Research suggests that: • teachers be encouraged to implement student instructional materials as intended. Lesson Quality is Associated with Adherence to District-Designated Materials Percent of Lessons Receiving High Ratings 100 80 55 60 46 40 20 11 0 Low Medium High Adherence 39 Pedagogical Content Knowledge Research suggests that: examining student work can help teachers to understand student thinking. Expert practitioners suggest: • Not any student work will do; student work samples should be rich enough to illustrate their thinking and include the full range of student ideas about the mathematics. Expert practitioners highlight the need for: • Teachers to first analyze a carefully crafted set of student work before analyzing their own students' work. • Analysis of student work to focus on what students understand, not just what they do not understand. • Research suggests the need for schoolbased and/or job-embedded professional development for STEM teachers. • Specifically, participation in PLCs has been linked to increased teacher confidence and positive changes in teachers’ instructional practices. Expert practitioners suggest: • STEM PLCs should not be expected to address all of the needs for teachers’ continuing education. Expert practitioners suggest: • STEM PLCs may be more amenable to some professional development purposes than others. Expert practitioners suggest: • Skilled facilitation is important to the success of STEM PLCs. Expert practitioners suggest: • Protocols and tools can increase the likelihood that a STEM PLC will be successful. Expert practitioners suggest: • High quality PD materials save time and effort in designing PD, and provide scaffolding for novice PD providers. • Expert practitioners (and common sense) highlight: – the need to select approaches that fit your particular context – the fact that no design will work without good implementation Simplified Logic Model for Professional Development Policies Aligned with the Vision Professional Development Teacher Knowledge and Skills Principal Support Teaching Practice Appropriate Instructional Materials Student Outcomes • As individuals, complete the reflection form considering (1) whether the system in a designated district reflects each of the listed attributes and (2) how easy/difficult the attribute would be to fix if not in place. • Discuss at your table Lessons from the MSP Case Studies • Design and implement professional development that is both feasible and likely to be effective with the teachers in the particular context. Designing Feasible, Effective PD • Choose interventions that both address perceived needs explicitly and are likely to contribute to long-term improvements by focusing on more entrenched issues. • Recognize the pros and cons when considering incentives for teacher participation in professional development. • Have a plan for addressing varying levels of teacher knowledge and skills. • Provide support for application of enhanced teacher content knowledge to the classroom. • Consider how to engage a range of important stakeholders whose support is important for efforts to deepen teacher content knowledge. Engaging Key Stakeholders • Identify the stakeholders whose understanding and support will be crucial for the work to be sustained. • Involve stakeholders in activities that help develop a shared vision around deepening teacher content knowledge. • Anticipate that changes in stakeholders may create new opportunities and/or barriers to sustainability. • Help ensure that key policies in the system are aligned with the vision underlying the reform efforts. Aligning Key Policies • Identify the most pertinent and influential policies and align interventions with those policies. • Work to align institutional policies with the program vision. • Help teachers deal with unaligned policies. Data-Driven Decision-making • Use data to inform decisions about selecting, implementing, and adapting interventions. • Use data to ensure an acceptable level of quality during implementation and scale-up, and to encourage support for system change. • Work to develop capacity and infrastructure to strengthen teachers’ content knowledge and pedagogical skills. Developing Capacity and Infrastructure • Consider from the get-go how to develop capacity for long-term sustainability. • Plan for succession of program leaders. • Identify and develop the infrastructure needed for the work to be sustained.