For many English learners struggling to learn middle grades mathematics, it’s not the content that presents a challenge but the the delivery of instruction in English. For their teachers, it’s an ongoing struggle to find ways to support English learners’ achievement in mathematics.

EDC is promoting teacher practice and student achievement through Visual Access to Mathematics (VAM), a blended-learning professional development program combining online and face-to-face instruction. Through VAM, teachers learn how to use language strategies and visual representations, such as diagrams and geometric drawings, for mathematical problem-solving. VAM builds on EDC’s longstanding, innovative work to close opportunity gaps for English learners.

Key Activities

VAM helps teachers of English learners deepen their understanding of what is needed to provide their students with access to mathematical learning. Project staff activities include the following:

  • Designing professional development course with input from teachers from New England states
  • Conducting a small-scale cluster randomized controlled trial of the program

Watch “Visual Access to Mathematics: Supporting Teachers of ELs.”


  • 130 past and current teachers have participated in VAM professional development

Learn More

Visual Access to Mathematics
EDC Staff
Johannah Nikula
National Science Foundation