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ERIC Number: ED534481
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 144
Abstractor: As Provided
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-2670-3899-9
A Qualitative Study of One District's Efforts to Improve Mathematics Instruction to Scale
Osborne, Brian George
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, Harvard University
Mathematics learning is critical for student success, and frequently acts as a gatekeeper, preventing students from graduating from high school and pursuing higher education. While many districts have attempted to improve mathematics instruction by implementing some sort of reform, few districts have attempted to execute a multifaceted systems approach. This study depicts the efforts of one district that sought to implement a new approach to mathematics teaching and learning in every classroom across the entire district. The study reports on the district leaders' beliefs and the steps that district leaders took to change instruction. Depictions of actual classroom instruction of seven fourth grade teachers and teachers' views on the district's efforts illuminate the effect of the district's efforts on teaching and learning. The findings from this study suggest that the district's well-developed understanding of desired mathematics learning and well-executed implementation strategy had positive effects on classroom instruction and student learning. At the same time, the degree to which classroom instruction improved in the ways intended by district and school leaders varied by teacher, with some teachers using the new materials in conventional ways and clinging to familiar patterns of instruction. The differences in the teachers' ability to incorporate the changes intended by the district apparently reflected the mathematics background and personal beliefs these individuals. The study suggests some lessons learned from this district's approach, hypothesizing that the district's approach could be improved by monitoring classroom instruction and providing direct feedback to teachers about their actual practice, as well as addressing deficiencies in the mathematics background of individual teachers. While this study is not generalizeable, its implications for district leadership reflect the difficulty of improving classroom instruction to scale and the need for intensive ongoing focus on strategic thinking. Implications for future research emphasize the importance of linking observations of actual classroom instruction with any investigation into efforts to improve teaching and learning to scale. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Elementary Education; Grade 4
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A