Math for All: Assessing the Efficacy of a Professional Development Program
Schools have long struggled to deliver high-quality mathematics education to students with disabilities and to students from other traditionally marginalized groups. Nationwide, teachers need effective strategies to enhance mathematics instruction for these students. Yet few programs have been available to support them in doing so.
The Math for All (MFA) professional development program prepares grade K–5 teachers to help students with diverse strengths and needs—including those with disabilities—achieve high-quality, standards-based learning outcomes in mathematics. To advance knowledge of MFA’s impacts, EDC and partners conducted a randomized controlled trial (RCT) of the program’s impact on teachers’ knowledge, skills, and classroom practices and on students’ learning.
The activities of the MFA study included the following:
- Conducted a small pilot study of the MFA program with 20 teachers and 339 students
- Carried out an RCT that engaged 96 general and special education teachers for grades 4 and 5 who were in the MFA program; teachers served approximately 1,500 students in 32 schools
- Shared the study’s work and findings at multiple U.S. and international conferences, as well as in a report, a research brief, a podcast, a video, an article published in K–12 STEM Education Journal, and a white paper on equity in mathematics education
The study found that teachers who participated in the MFA program were:
- Significantly more likely than control group teachers to report feeling comfortable and prepared to teach mathematics to diverse learners, including students with disabilities
- More likely to reflect on teaching practices and more frequently use lesson planning and differentiated instruction strategies to support students than control group teachers
- Rated by trained observers as providing more emotional support, instructional support, classroom observation, and student engagement than control group teachers
- Found to have students—both with and without disabilities—who performed higher on the NWEA MAP assessment than students in the control group
Bank Street College of Education; ICF; Indiana University; Teachers College, Columbia University; Chicago Public Schools