Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2012

Degree Type


Degree Name



Educational Leadership and Policy

First Advisor

Michael Addonizio


This research study is a mixed – methods quantitative and qualitative study that analyzed data from an intensive, long – term professional development project named, " Project : Making Mathematics Matter. (PM3) " carried out in two low – performing, high – poverty districts. Two of the districts served as treatment districts and ALL teachers (general education, special education, ELL) who taught mathematics to students in grades 4-8 participated in a four-year PM3 mathematical intervention.

Three elements identified in the research as effective components in mathematics professional development served as foundational for this project. They were: teachers attended monthly institutes focused on deepening the pedagogical, content knowledge for teaching mathematics; teachers received on-site coaching from an experienced mathematics educator to support implementation of new instructional strategies; and teachers participated in monthly, collegial, grade band meetings facilitated by their coach.

This study’s analyses focused around three areas: 1. increased pedagogical knowledge for teaching mathematics as measured by the "Learning Mathematics for Teaching" (LMT) assessment (Hill, Schilling, & Ball, 2004); 2. improved mathematics instructional quality as measured by the SAMPI Classroom Observational Protocol; 3. increased mathematics performance of students as measured on the state-wide MEAP test.

Research findings were: 1. LMT data collected at the beginning, middle, and end of PM3 showed treatment teachers significantly increased their pedagogical, content knowledge for teaching mathematics over their matched-comparison teachers; 2. Analyses of SAMPI data demonstrated teachers significantly improved the quality of their classroom instruction; 3. Analyzing sets of MEAP student scale scores by grade and year, there was a significant interaction between district of the student and the year, during and following treatment teachers ’ participation in PM3. Where in 2005, all sets of treatment scale scores were significantly different and lower than comparison scores, as the years of treatment teacher participation in PM3 increased many sets of compared sets of MEAP scores were no longer significantly different.

This study suggests a connection between the increased content knowledge of teachers, the improved quality of classroom instruction, and the increased mathematics achievement of their students in high – poverty, low ndash performing districts.