Professional development in early mathematics: effects of an intervention based on learning trajectories on teachers’ practices
Julie Sarama, Douglas H. Clements, Christopher B. Wolfe and Mary Elaine Spitler
We evaluated the effects of a research-based model for scaling up educational interventions on teachers’ practices in preschool mathematics. The original participants were from 106 classrooms for 4-year-olds in two distal city districts serving lowresource communities, with 42 schools randomly assigned to one of three groups, of which the two treatment groups were the same throughout preschool (thus, there were 72 treatment classrooms). The intervention, a professional development program based on young children’s mathematical learning trajectories, had a substantial positive effect on teachers’ instructional practices, some of which mediated student outcomes. Teachers also demonstrated sustained levels of fidelity as long as six years after the end of the intervention. Notable is these teachers’ encouragement and support for discussions of mathematics and their use of formative assessment. Finally, teachers taught the curriculum with increasing fidelity over the following six years without support from the project.
Julie Sarama is Kennedy Endowed Chair in Innovative Learning Technologies, Co-Executive Director of the Marsico Institute, and Professor at the Morgridge College of Education, University of Denver. Her research interests include young children's development of mathematical concepts and competencies, implementation and scale-up of educational reform, professional development models and their influence on student learning, and implementation and effects of software environments.
Douglas H. Clements
Douglas H. Clements is Kennedy Endowed Chair in Early Childhood Learning; Executive Director, Marsico Institute; and Professor at the Morgridge College of Education, University of Denver. His research interests include the learning and teaching of early mathematics and computer applications in mathematics education, creating, using, and evaluating research-based curricula and taking successful curricula to scale using technologies and learning trajectories.
Christopher B. Wolfe
Christopher B. Wolfe is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Saint Leo University. His research interests include measurement, program evaluation, and early educational development.
Mary Elaine Spitler
Mary Elaine Spitler is an independent researcher with interests in early childhood education and professional development.