Mathematics and Science Partnerships

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Title I Math Collaborative Effort to Improve Mathematics
Title I Math Initiatiave
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Since the passing of No Child Left Behind, there has been an increased amount of attention given to mathematics instruction in high poverty, low performing schools. A significant number of high poverty, low performing schools are not making Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) because of challenges in mathematics education and mathematics instruction. One of the major challenges the Nation faces in education today is determining ways to improve mathematics learning in high poverty schools.

In an effort to address the need to improve mathematics education and instruction in Title I programs, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) is in the process of developing a national strategic plan that will improve mathematics learning in high poverty, low performing schools. The purpose of this effort is to bring experts from the math community and the Title I community together to determine a way to improve mathematics education in Title I programs.

The Title I program office and the Mathematics and Science Partnerships program office, the offices charged with spearheading this effort, have developed a steering committee comprised of leading researchers, educators, and policy makers to assist in the effort. The committee members have expertise in mathematics, mathematics education, Title I administration, educating children from impoverished backgrounds, and public policy related to No Child Left Behind.

In order to develop a strategic plan that addresses the issues and challenges in mathematics instruction in Title I programs, ED is operating out of three basic assumptions on the underlying challenges in improving mathematics instruction in high poverty, low achieving schools: (1) Teachers can't teach what they don’t understand; (2) Students can't learn what they haven’t been taught; (3) Students can't perform well on high stakes State assessment exams if they have limited access to high quality curricula material. The ensuing strategic plan will address these assumptions.

Over the course of the next six months, members of the steering committee along with officials from ED will conduct regional meetings with school district administrators, district curriculum coordinators, and additional school personnel in order to discuss barriers and challenges in improving mathematics education and instruction in Title I programs. The regional focus group one-day meetings will serve as a platform to address mathematics literacy in high poverty schools, teacher content knowledge and pedagogy in Title I programs, and the quality of professional development in public schools especially in Title I programs.

ED officials and committee members will be meeting with school district leaders, administrators, and personnel over the next six months in order to plan, develop, and review the ensuing strategic plan. A final draft of the strategic plan will be available to the public by September 2005.

Ideas and comments on this effort are welcomed. For more information regarding the Title I/Math Collaboration effort, please contact Melanie Kadlic at (202) 260-3793, or Pilla Parkerer at (202) 260-3710. The general mailbox for questions, comments, and suggestions for this effort is

Theory of Action

There are three basic assumptions on the underlying problem or challenges to improving mathematics instruction in high poverty schools:

  1. Students can’t learn what they’ve never been taught;

  2. The instruction students in high poverty schools receive is not at a conceptually high level therefore students are unable to be successful on state assessments and other performance measures; and,

  3. Teachers can’t teach what they don’t understand.

A strategic plan to improve mathematics in high poverty schools must address these challenges.

In seeking to improve the mathematics achievement of students in high poverty, low performing schools, the task force will consider the critical areas and key leverage points in the PreK-12 educational continuum that could spark significant improvements. These include:

  • Mathematics Content and Instruction: What will it take to ensure all students in high poverty schools are taught mathematics at the level of rigor and conceptual understanding that can lead to proficiency on state assessments? What will it take to ensure that all students in high poverty schools are taught by teachers who know sufficient mathematics and teach effectively?

  • Education System Supports: What state policies and supports are most likely to impact achievement in high poverty schools? What are the key elements of a coherent district strategy to boost mathematics achievement in these schools?

  • No Child Left Behind: How can NCLB provisions and funding be used to improve mathematics achievement, particularly in Title I schools?

Project Activities

  • Publication on Research-based Professional Development in Mathematics. Summarize several meta-analysis reports that have been done by IES, ECS, Michigan State University, and others, and create a publication on promising practices that is accessible to practitioners.

  • A Report on Title I Mathematics Performance. Analyze how many schools are not meeting AYP in mathematics by student subgroups. Compare the data with the NAEP data. Determine the kinds of questions that can be asked of the data accumulated.

  • Regional Focus Group Meetings. Conduct invitational meetings with state supervisors, district personnel, teachers, and curriculum coordinators to discuss the challenges and barriers in improving mathematics education in Title I programs.

  • National Stakeholder Meetings. Conduct meetings with national stakeholder organizations to discuss mathematics learning and education in high poverty, low performing schools.

Last Modified: 05/18/2016