Indiana Daily Student

School of Education studies math in primary education

The United States Department of Education has granted the IU School of Education and its Center for Evaluation and Education Policy $279,933 to study the impact of Math for All, a program designed to provide effective math instruction.

CEEP Director John Hitchcock said the study began on July 1, with research being conducted by the Education Development Center, CEEP, Columbia University, ICF International and the Bank College of Education.

According to the press release, in the next year, the researchers will select average-performing elementary schools from the Chicago Public School system. Hitchcock said the study will take another year , and then CEEP will analyze the data with ICF International.

Hitchcock and Babette Moeller, managing project director at the Education Development Center in New York City, said they are the principal investigators for the study of Math for All, a professional development program for educators to help them teach math to kindergarten through fifth grade students of all learning types and abilities.

Moeller said the research funded by the International Education Services that accompanied the development of Math for All showed the program has promise of positively affecting teachers and students.

“The research that CEEP will carry out as part of the new IES grant is designed to rigorously assess the impact that the Math for All professional development has on teachers’ knowledge, skill and classroom practices and on student academic achievement in mathematics,” she said.

CEEP is a self-funded program evaluation and policy analysis center operated within the School of Education that seeks grants and contracts to answer educational research questions posed by federal and state agencies.

CEEP Marketing and Outreach director Jeff De Witt said CEEP’s goals in evaluating a program, such as Math for All, include providing the program managers and stakeholders reliable information to help them understand how their program is working as well as offer insights as to how they might improve it. He said CEEP manages 40 to 60 projects per year with an annual face value of approximately $12 million.

“Our center is one example of the many ways IU serves our greater community,” De Witt said. “CEEP is known for its reliable work, upholding the professional standards in program evaluation and its non-partisan approach to policy issues.”

Hitchcock said the study should provide evidence about whether students who are exposed to the intervention are learning math better than students who receive standard instruction. He said the study will also help researchers understand if teachers who are exposed to the intervention are better at supporting students with diverse strengths and needs to achieve high quality math outcomes.

Moeller said the study will yield information about whether or not Math for All is effective in producing the desired outcomes for students and teachers. She said this will help guide school districts in their decisions about adopting the program.

“I think there are different opinions on how well the field of math instruction delivers content in early grades, but whatever one’s stance, there is a lot of agreement that we should continuously strive to get better,” Hitchcock said.

Hitchcock said IU’s School of Education is one of the best in the country, and, to continuously earn this distinction, they must generate the best possible evidence about teaching practices, and more importantly, inform the field.

“If we have a hand in better understanding math instruction, both what is effective and ineffective, then a large number of students might benefit as a result,” he said.

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