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Learning Mathematics for Teaching: Results from California's Mathematics Professional Development Institutes

Heather C. Hill, Deborah Loewenberg Ball 

November 2004, Volume 35, Issue 5, Page 330

Widespread agreement exists that U.S. teachers need improved mathematics knowledge for teaching. Over the past decade, policymakers have funded a range of professional development efforts designed to address this need. However,   there has been little success in determining whether and when teachers develop mathematical knowledge from professional development, and if so, what features of professional development contribute to such teacher learning. This was due, in part, to a lack of measures of teachers’ content knowledge for teaching mathematics. This article attempts to fill these gaps. In it we describe an effort to evaluate California's Mathematics Professional Development Institutes (MPDIs) using novel measures of knowledge for teaching mathematics. Our analyses showed that teachers participating in the MPDIs improved their performance on these measures during the extended summer workshop portion of their experience. This analysis also suggests that program length as measured in  days in   the summer workshop and workshop focus on mathematical analysis, reasoning, and communication predicted teachers' learning.

Grade 1
Grade 2
Action Research
Math Coordinator / Coach
Numbers and Operations
Professional Development / Teacher Education