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How are we improving math instruction for all students?

Question#: 20

ANSWER:

Since the beginning of the 2017–2018 school year, several efforts have been undertaken to explore system data, curriculum and instruction, highly effective practices, expert reviews, research, and program evaluation to inform a systemwide implementation plan to improve math instruction for all students. These efforts include:

  • External review of the K–8 mathematics curriculum (findings and recommendations to be presented to the Board of Education in March 2018);
  • Data analysis and program evaluations to assess current practices, structures, and programs;
  • Convening of an internal expert group consisting of MCPS practitioners, teacher leaders, school administrators, and central services staff; and
  • Convening of an external expert group consisting of national experts and researchers in the field of mathematics instruction.

In addition, critical new infrastructures are now operational as of the 2017–2018 school year:

  • Evidence of Learning Framework, utilizing a multiple measures approach to allow teachers, schools, and the district to better monitor student progress to improve teaching and learning; and
  • Data platform, used throughout the district and in all schools to administer assessments; monitor student, classroom, and school performance; and use available data to inform and improve instruction. 

Moving forward, a comprehensive system implementation plan is being developed, organized in the following broad areas:

  • Written Curriculum:  Responding to the findings of the external curriculum review, to be presented to the Board of Education in March 2018.
  • Taught Curriculum:  Developing new structures for professional learning, which include digital professional development models to provide on demand, real-time professional learning for teachers based on student and teacher needs.
  • Assessment:  Continued evolution of the Evidence of Learning Framework, using a formal field testing and standard setting process that ensures that district assessments are reliable, valid, predictive, and used to inform and improve instruction.  Stakeholder groups have also been meeting to upgrade the school improvement planning process, to align with the Evidence of Learning Framework and monitor students in cohorts longitudinally.
  • Structures:  Changes to structures at the elementary and secondary levels, to include how departments and math instruction are organized, mathematics teacher leadership, and structures for collaborative planning.
  • Human Capital:  A comprehensive plan to ensure a highly skilled and trained mathematics teaching force at the elementary and secondary levels; strong teacher leadership; and mathematics scheduling assignments that match student needs to the best teachers.

Once the plan is completed, it will be presented to the Board of Education.

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