Elementary Mathematics Specialists are placed in schools to construct leadership roles and to provide on-site professional development addressing mathematical content and pedagogy in order to enhance instruction and to improve student achievement. A three-year, randomized, control study found that, over time, Specialists had a significant positive impact on student achievement in Grades 3, 4, and 5. This effect on student achievement was not evident at the conclusion of the Specialist's first year of placement. It emerged as knowledgeable Specialists gained experience and as the schools' instructional and administrative staffs learned and worked together. Specialists who were highly engaged with a teacher significantly impacted those teachers' beliefs about mathematics teaching and learning. In addition addition, teachers in schools with a Specialist were more likely to participate in a non-coaching professional activity (attending mathematics-focused grade-level meetings, observing peers' teaching, or attending schoolwide mathematics workshops). The Specialists in this study had substantial programmatic responsibilities that influenced their amount of available time for coaching teachers. Further, the Specialists in this study engaged in a high degree of professional coursework prior to and during at least their first year of placement. Findings should not be generalized to Mathematics Specialists or coaches with less expertise.
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Campbell, P. F. and Malkus, N. N.
"The Impact of Elementary Mathematics Specialists,"
Journal of Mathematics and Science: Collaborative Explorations: Vol. 12:
1, Article 4.
Available at: https://scholarscompass.vcu.edu/jmsce_vamsc/vol12/iss1/4