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Gaining Insight Into the Conceptualization of High Quality Mathematics Teaching
Unformatted Document Text:  Gaining Insight into the Conceptualization of High Quality Mathematics Teaching SECTION I: CONTENTA. Statement of the Issue – "Students and their learning should become the focus of everything we do… from the instruction that we provide, to the intellectual climate that we create, to the policy decisions that we make" (Cross, 1998). Improving the quality of mathematics teaching and learning effectiveness in U.S. schools requires an investment in the k–12 infrastructures, assessing the student and teacher outcomes associated with the learning environment, as well as the interactions between the two. This year long systematic pilot study of mathematics education at Lafayette High School, lays the groundwork for this kind of investment. In total, 8 math teachers at various stages in their careers, 25 classes and over 750 students participated in the study, producing a respectable response frame. In contrast to other studies, this evaluation will take place utilizing a macro approach, study of aggregate behavior, in combination with a micro approach, study of individual behavior of the components of the larger system. Teacher quality has become a national policy concern, especially in mathematics and science fields. Research has indicated that teacher preparation and qualifications are critical factors in student achievement (Darling-Hammond, 2000). The goal of this study is to gain insight into the conceptualization of high quality mathematics teaching from the classroom teachers’ and their students’ perspective. In order to train highly qualified teachers (HQT), it is imperative that we understand what quality is and to begin to explain the difference between being qualified and being a quality teacher. B. Literature Review – Rising national standards and a trend of decreasing scores in national mathematics assessments have lead to research on schools and the associated learning practices. An ambitious goal of federal legislation is for U.S. students to be first in the world in math and science achievement (Hawkes, etal. 1997). This goal is especially challenging considering the increasingly diverse student population, innovative technological materials, and new mathematics content educators are expected to teach. Education policymakers in Kentucky, education committee legislators, Department of Education officials, education interest/advocacy group representatives and those connected to the training of teachers have become increasingly interested in an array of teacher quality issues. Kentucky policymakers certainly are not alone in this focus. The United States (U.S.) educational system is in a state of reform (Jakeworth, 1999). Longitudinal shortages in mathematics education present a conundrum for teacher education programs and school district as the need for quality mathematics teachers has been stressed throughout society for more than three decades (Galluzo, 1999). The No Child Left Behind Legislation of 2001 addresses this issue, requiring all teachers of core academic subjects be highly qualified by the 2005-2006 school year. The questions are, what is high quality; what factors are associated with obtaining it; and is being a qualified teacher related to being a quality teacher? Much of the research on the quality and effectiveness of schools occurs at the macro level. The strength of this study is the unique combination of the macro versus micro approach. Macro-level research generally draws on existing aggregate data, involves quantitative approaches that make global assessments and produces conclusions that provide information on general relationships that apply to large populations or geographic regions. Micro-level research, in contrast, requires disaggregated data, frequently involves qualitative methods and specialized data collection, drawing upon much more detailed information to identify how social, economic, cultural and institutional factors influence the nature of population-environment relationships in

Authors: Bradley, Kelly. and Sampson, Shannon.
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Gaining Insight into the Conceptualization of High Quality Mathematics Teaching
SECTION I: CONTENT
A. Statement of the Issue –
"Students and their learning should become the focus of everything
we do… from the instruction that we provide, to the intellectual climate that we create, to the
policy decisions that we make" (Cross, 1998). Improving the quality of mathematics teaching
and learning effectiveness in U.S. schools requires an investment in the k–12 infrastructures,
assessing the student and teacher outcomes associated with the learning environment, as well as
the interactions between the two. This year long systematic pilot study of mathematics education
at Lafayette High School, lays the groundwork for this kind of investment. In total, 8 math
teachers at various stages in their careers, 25 classes and over 750 students participated in the
study, producing a respectable response frame.
In contrast to other studies, this evaluation will take place utilizing a macro approach, study of
aggregate behavior, in combination with a micro approach, study of individual behavior of the
components of the larger system. Teacher quality has become a national policy concern,
especially in mathematics and science fields. Research has indicated that teacher preparation and
qualifications are critical factors in student achievement (Darling-Hammond, 2000). The goal of
this study is to gain insight into the conceptualization of high quality mathematics teaching from
the classroom teachers’ and their students’ perspective. In order to train highly qualified teachers
(HQT), it is imperative that we understand what quality is and to begin to explain the difference
between being qualified and being a quality teacher.
B. Literature Review –
Rising national standards and a trend of decreasing scores in national
mathematics assessments have lead to research on schools and the associated learning practices.
An ambitious goal of federal legislation is for U.S. students to be first in the world in math and
science achievement (Hawkes, etal. 1997). This goal is especially challenging considering the
increasingly diverse student population, innovative technological materials, and new
mathematics content educators are expected to teach. Education policymakers in Kentucky,
education committee legislators, Department of Education officials, education interest/advocacy
group representatives and those connected to the training of teachers have become increasingly
interested in an array of teacher quality issues. Kentucky policymakers certainly are not alone in
this focus. The United States (U.S.) educational system is in a state of reform (Jakeworth, 1999).
Longitudinal shortages in mathematics education present a conundrum for teacher education
programs and school district as the need for quality mathematics teachers has been stressed
throughout society for more than three decades (Galluzo, 1999). The No Child Left Behind
Legislation of 2001 addresses this issue, requiring all teachers of core academic subjects be
highly qualified by the 2005-2006 school year. The questions are, what is high quality; what
factors are associated with obtaining it; and is being a qualified teacher related to being a
quality teacher? Much of the research on the quality and effectiveness of schools occurs at
the macro level.
The strength of this study is the unique combination of the macro versus micro
approach. Macro-level research generally draws on existing aggregate data, involves quantitative
approaches that make global assessments and produces conclusions that provide information on
general relationships that apply to large populations or geographic regions. Micro-level research,
in contrast, requires disaggregated data, frequently involves qualitative methods and specialized
data collection, drawing upon much more detailed information to identify how social, economic,
cultural and institutional factors influence the nature of population-environment relationships in


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