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Discussion: From Professional Development to Student Outcomes

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posted by: Mack McCary on February 17, 1998 at 7:35AM
subject: link betw. prof. dev. & outcomes depends on the tools
I am co-Pi with Susan Friel and Bob Cullen of a K-8 systemic change
initiative in math in rural northeastern North Carolina. In response to
the first question, can student outcomes be tied to professional
development, my first thought is "It depends on how you measure student
outcomes." One of the problems we are encountering with high stakes
testing is that those measures often do not tell us whether children are
improving in their reasoning ability and conceptual understanding of
mathematics. We've seen instances where a traditional teacher who made
little change in instructional methods, but did a good job of alignment
and covering the curriculum, did well on state tests. Beyond issues of
implementation, ie. did the training result in any changes in pedagogy,
my first question is to examine the student assessment measures to
determine whether they can reveal improvements in mathematical reasoning
and understanding.

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