Middle school mathematics teachers' use of systematic lesson planning and its relationship to student mathematics achievement
This research study investigated whether elements of systematic lesson planning were related to student mathematics achievement. The context of the study was the Middle School Mathematics Initiative (MSMI) professional development program funded by the Massachusetts Department of Education from 2000-2002. The sample included 2,927 sixth- to eighth-grade students from 182 classes taught by 56 teachers from seven low-performing school districts in Massachusetts. The professional development model was based on guidelines from the National Staff Development Council (2001). Panasuk's (1999) Four Stages of Lesson Planning (FSLP) strategy was the basis treatment in which mathematics curriculum Specialists worked with teachers to improve their lesson planning and delivery. The framework for the FSLP strategy included Gagne's (1965), Ausubel (1968), Bloom (1956), and Mager (1984).
The study used a quasi-experimental design, multilevel modeling (Hox, 2002; Raudenbush & Bryk, 2002), and general linear modeling to establish the relationship of the professional development and FSLP strategy to student achievement. Covariates included student characteristics (race, gender, free-reduced lunch status, special education, and limited English proficiency), teacher characteristics from a survey, a student pretest and posttest, and data from the Lesson Plan Evaluation Rubric developed by the researchers. The alpha level for the study was .1 and the required statistical power was .8 for a small effect size.
The researcher posed four research questions and found that (1) the MSMI program was effective in raising student achievement when compared to a no-treatment group; (2) participation in the first year of the two-year program did not provide additional benefit beyond that received from participation in the second year; (3) student mathematics achievement was improved for every subgroup studied; and (4) elements of lesson planning: addressing student misconceptions, planning well-constructed mental mathematics/opening activities, addressing student grouping, and using distinct lesson planning phases were related to improved mathematics achievement.
One finding with strong implications for faculty and trainers of preservice and inservice middle school education teachers is that pedagogical training is related to producing well-developed lesson plans. This training should focus on task analysis of the mathematics concepts including appropriate opening mental mathematics activities that surface student prior knowledge.
0530: Teacher education