Mathematics and Science Partnership Programs (MSP)

Principal Investigator(s): Meltem Alemdar
The overall goal of the MSP program is to improve classroom instruction and student achievement in math and science through professional development (PD).

Although program design varied by grant, the targeted population for the MSP programs is K-12 math and science teachers in high-need school districts. During the summer, these teachers typically attended a 2 or 3-week intensive series of professional development workshops. The PD often focused on teacher content knowledge, pedagogy, useful resources, and teaching strategies.

Methodology: To assess the impact of the professional development workshops offered through the MSP program, a mixed methods approach was utilized. The pre- and post-test model was utilized to capture and measure the content knowledge of participating teachers. Student achievement was measured using Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests (CRCT) scores for elementary/middle school teachers in science and mathematics and End-of-Course Tests (EOCT) scores for high school teachers in math and science. Classroom instruction was captured through teacher observations and teacher satisfaction was explored through customized surveys. Both formative and summative reports were provided to grant personnel to allow project leaders to make adjustments and changes throughout the years.

Findings: The impact of the MSP program on teacher knowledge and student achievement varied depending on the school district. Some districts had teachers with significant gains in content knowledge, while others did not. In general, data for one school district show that students of MSP teachers outperformed non-MSP teachers and the state, on average. The importance of collaboration for MSP teachers in Floyd and Macon counties became clear through our evaluations. Through the MSP, teachers were allowed time to develop lesson plans together and share resources. Focus groups conducted in Floyd County and surveys administered in Macon County show that teachers valued the time they were given to work together. One elementary school math teacher in Floyd County said: “I think the collaboration was a great part for me too because sometimes you don't get to speak to everybody in the county. You wonder, "are we the only ones doing it like this" you know or "is anybody else having trouble finding time to get the workshop model done or whatever?" So it's kind of comforting to know that even in the other schools they face the same problems that we do”. One middle school math teacher described the MSP program as “I mean MSP has been the end all be all for me as far as professional development”.