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Chuck Carney
ccarney@indiana.edu
812-856-8027

Last modified: Thursday, May 31, 2007

IU and state holding workshops to improve math education using standardized test results

School of Education and Indiana Department of Education to conduct four workshops across state

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 31, 2007

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana mathematics teachers can take advantage of four workshops this summer to examine best practices based on a national student assessment test and ISTEP. "Learning from ISTEP and NAEP" will feature two workshops in Greenwood, then another in Crown Point, with a final workshop in Jasper. The sessions are a combined effort of the Indiana University School of Education and the Indiana Department of Education to improve math education across the state.

The sessions will use a set of professional development materials developed by IU researchers and published by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. During the workshops, facilitators will use student responses to standardized test items as tools for teaching math.

"Even though (the workshops) are grounded in standardized testing data, it's really about looking at standardized assessment as information, not just accountability," said Lynn V. Clark, project director. She said the workshops will focus on teaching mathematics concepts across all grade levels based on the patterns of learning that emerge from NAEP and ISTEP.

Clark said the workshop idea came at the suggestion of Michael Roach, mathematics consultant at the Indiana Department of Education. He wanted to further utilize standardized assessment tests to help mathematics teachers. Catherine Brown, associate dean for research and development and professor of mathematics education, began exploring more ways to use the data to help in the classroom.

Each regional workshop is geared to the needs of that area and will focus on different concepts. Teams of teacher educators from each area developed the workshops for each location, based on what they determined to be the biggest needs for math educators in those locations. "We decided to really put this in the hands of the regional teams," Clark said. "We wanted them to determine the needs of their region as closely as they could and tailor the workshops to meet those needs."

"Learning from NAEP" is a set of professional development materials, recently published by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, for teachers of mathematics. It is part of the larger Indiana University-National Assessment of Educational Progress project, a collaborative effort of the NCTM and mathematics educators at Indiana University with financial support from the National Science Foundation. A manual and accompanying CD-ROM are designed to help educators better understand the intricacies of assessment data and how such data relates to student learning in mathematics classrooms.

The professional development materials are based on two books that Indiana University mathematics education professors Peter Kloosterman and Frank Lester edited: Results and Interpretations of the 1990 Through 2000 Mathematics Assessments for the National Assessment of Educational Progress and Results and Interpretations of the 2003 Mathematics Assessments for the National Assessment of Educational Progress, also published by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.

The workshop schedule is:

Central Indiana (2 workshops)

  • Dates: July 16-17 (algebra and functions), July 23-24 (number sense and measurement)
  • Location: Greenwood
  • Eligible participants: 3rd-12th grade teachers

Northern Indiana

  • Dates: July 25-27
  • Location: Crown Point
  • Eligible participants: 2nd-5th grade teachers

Southern Indiana

  • Dates: Aug. 1-2
  • Location: Jasper
  • Eligible participants: 2nd-12th grade teachers, principals, curriculum and assessment specialists

Each workshop costs $25. Registration includes all materials, plus lunch for each day of the seminar. A registration form is available at http://doe.state.in.us/opd/math. For more information, contact Andrea McCloskey at amcclosk@indiana.edu.

EDITORS: The following mp3 audio soundbites are available for download on the School of Education Web site at http://education.indiana.edu/audio.html.

Clark says each of the four workshops is geared to each location based on the work of teacher "writing teams":

"Well, we decided to really put this in the hands of the teams, the regional teams. We wanted them to determine the needs of their region as closely as they could, and sort of look for the holes within the professional development within that region and then target their workshops to meet those needs."

Clark says because the standardized test data is helping to determine best practices for teaching concepts, the workshops are set up to teach across grade levels:

"Even though they are grounded in standardized testing data, which you think would be just really focused, what it really is, is a knowledge of practice. So what we're really trying to get them to look at are these big ideas about assessment and how is assessment constructed. And what can you learn about student assessment from student learning, and start to take that higher view so you can start to see patterns within these different data sets. So it's not really important that you have, you know, fourth grade teachers looking at only fourth grade work, because they need to see how what they teach in fourth grade goes all the way up to eighth grade."

Clark says using data from NAEP, often called "the nation's report card," provides a good basis for teacher training:

"We're able to contextualize that kind of student response within a really beautiful national picture. So we're able to look at patterns as far as demographics, we're able to look at achievement gaps, and then see what that really looks like in a piece of student work. And I think it just gives us a much broader window to look through."

For more information, contact Chuck Carney at (812) 856-8027 or ccarney@indiana.edu.