The four-and-one-half year Colorado Mathematics Middle School Teacher
Enhancement Project (COMMSTEP) supports 330 teachers in 44 Colorado schools
for professional development and implementation of standards-based
instruction and assessment through the use of exemplary NSF-funded middle
school instructional materials in mathematics. This Local Systemic Change
through Teacher Enhancement in Mathematics, Grades 7-12, project builds
upon the successful work of the Colorado Statewide Systemic Initiative and
TEAM 2000, a high school Teacher Enhancement project.
Middle schools whose students attend high schools implementing the
Interactive Mathematics Program as part of Colorado's TEAM 2000 project
serve as COMMSTEP primary target schools. Major components of the project
include (1) examination and selection of materials, choosing from among
Connected Mathematics Program (CMP), MathScape: Seeing and Thinking
Mathematically, and Mathematics in Context; (2) annual summer institutes;
(3) monthly or quarterly school-year workshops; and (4) monthly meetings
with COMMSTEP teacher mentors and on-line telecommunications support.
Over the life of the project, the entire mathematics faculties in
partnering middle schools participate in COMMSTEP. Sixth-grade teachers
attend a two-week summer institute followed by nine monthly school-year
workshops, and fully implement their school's chosen instructional
materials during their first year of participation. Seventh- and
eighth-grade teachers phase in their school's materials over a two-year
period. These teachers attend one-week summer institutes followed by four
quarterly school-year workshops for two years. All middle grades teachers
receive two years of workshop and mentor support.
In addition to the required LSC core evaluation, the project collects two
other important kinds of data: (1) student achievement data and (2) data
that describes district capacity to support high quality mathematics
curriculum and teaching (e.g., district capacity to support reform-oriented
classroom practices), comparing COMMSTEP schools/districts with other
Summary of major activities and accomplishments
- COMMSTEP's Project Director enrolled 330 teachers from 44 Colorado
middle schools during Spring 2000.
- COMMSTEP's 1999 Summer Institute was held June 14-25, 1999.
|June 14-18, 1999
||51 sixth-grade teachers
(45 for CMP & 6 for MathScape)
|June 21-25, 1999
||47 sixth-grade teachers
(41 for CMP & 6 for MathScape)
61 seventh- & eighth-grade teachers
(40 for CMP & 21 for MathScape)
|June 24, 1999
- COMMSTEP conducts monthly workshops throughout the school year.
Workshops are conducted on Wednesday and repeated the following Saturday.
September workshops focused on patterns and models across grade levels.
October workshops focused on effective use of collaborative groups and
||28 sixth-grade teachers, 20 seventh-grade
teachers & 17 eighth-grade teachers
||16 sixth-grade teachers, 11 seventh-grade
teachers & 13 eighth-grade teachers
||30 sixth-grade teachers
||9 sixth-grade teachers
- COMMSTEP's Leadership Team has regular monthly meetings with
additional meetings scheduled as needed.
- COMMSTEP's Advisory Board has been finalized. The Board will hold
its first meeting March 2-3, 2000.
- COMMSTEP received supplemental funding from the Denver-based Rose
Community Foundation allowing the project to increase the number of teacher
mentors and thus the frequency of classroom visits. The project's original
design had three (FTE) mentors and the project director working with 110
teachers during the 1999-2000 school year. With Rose Community Foundation
support, the project now has five (FTE) mentors and the project director
meeting regularly with participating teachers.
The Rose Foundation also requested that COMMSTEP develop benchmarks
against which project progress could be measured. The Foundation is very
supportive of the HRI teacher performance indicators. In addition, COMMSTEP
was asked to develop a benchmark specific to student achievement.
COMMSTEP created a pre/post-test that will be used this year with
all 6th, 7th and 8th grade students in the project. There will be a
separate assessment for each grade level, even though some questions may
appear at more than one grade level. The pre-tests were administered in
October 1999 and the post-tests will be administered in May 2000. The test
will consist of five multiple-choice items, five 5-minute items, and one
15-minute item. The test is designed to be completed in a 45-minute class
period. However, students may have additional time if needed. Calculators
may be used on the tests.
Test items were selected from the National Assessment of
Educational Progress (NAEP), the Third International Mathematics and
Science Study (TIMSS), the New Standards Project, and from three middle
school mathematics curricula: Connected Mathematics, Mathematics in
Context, and MathScape. The student results on NAEP and TIMSS questions
will be compared to national and international student data. Student
results will be analyzed and reported to the Rose Community Foundation as
well as the National Science Foundation.
Pre- and post tests will be scored this coming summer at a scoring
conference June 12-14, 2000. COMMSTEP middle school teachers, TEAM 2000
high school teachers, and pre-service teachers will be involved in the
scoring conference. This conference will enhance the professional
development of participating teachers.
There are 100 teachers participating in COMMSTEP this year. The
project anticipates having pre/post-test data for at least 8,000 Colorado
middle school students.