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Icon for: April Strom


Scottsdale Community College, Glendale Community College, Chandler-Gilbert Community College

Arizona Mathematics Partnership (AMP)

NSF Awards: 1103080

2016 (see original presentation & discussion)

Grades 6-8

Our video showcases the Arizona Mathematics Partnership (AMP) – a targeted MSP project that supports teachers in advancing their knowledge about the teaching and learning of middle school mathematics, as well as developmental mathematics in community colleges. AMP provides a systemic model of sustainable professional development in partner schools and colleges to achieve the goal of increasing student achievement in middle school mathematics courses. AMP also produces research about the characteristics and mechanisms of a sustainable professional development program, as well as contributes to the body of knowledge for understanding teachers’ and students’ mathematical thinking and beliefs.

Participating teachers and administrators are actively engaged in: Institutes/Workshops that emphasize development of conceptual understanding, computational fluency, and problem-solving skills; Collaborative Communities of Learners (CCOLs) that help teachers connect what they learn in the Workshops with their classroom practice; Instructional Rounds that engage administrators; and Targeted Development of Teacher Leaders to sustain the CCOLs beyond the project’s life. Pre-service teachers from the partner community colleges engage in project activities, including research endeavors and field experiences.

AMP establishes strong partnerships among community colleges and middle schools. The opportunity for community college faculty, middle school administrators and teachers, and community college students to collaborate in professional development activities differentiates this MSP from past projects. AMP also focuses on developing teachers’ deep conceptions of the “big ideas” of middle school mathematics. Teachers are supported in shifting their thinking about mathematics as a set of skills and procedures to thinking about mathematics as a collection of well-connected ideas.

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Discussion from the NSF 2016 STEM For All Video Showcase (10 posts)
  • Icon for: Gerald Kulm

    Gerald Kulm

    Senior Professor
    May 16, 2016 | 11:27 a.m.

    Hi. Interesting way to involve community colleges with math teacher education. How do community college faculty share these results with the math education research or teacher education community? What are the similarities and differences, if any, between instructional strategies used by middle grades teachers and community college faculty?

  • Icon for: April Strom

    April Strom

    Lead Presenter
    Mathematics Faculty
    May 19, 2016 | 12:40 a.m.

    Hi Gerald! Thanks for your question. We have been excited about having so many CC faculty involved in this project. To answer your first question, we share the results of our work through conference presentations and publications, which is the typical dissemination pathway. Several CC faculty on our project are involved in math ed research organizations, such as SIGMAA on RUME and ICME, as well as AMATYC. However, we also work directly with our school and district administrators in our state to share back with them the progress we are making with our project teachers.

    To answer your 2nd question, our hope is that the differences between instructional strategies used by middle school teachers and CC faculty begin to decrease! We want teaching at all levels, including the collegiate level, to be focused on meaning making and problem solving with a focus on building a conceptual understanding. We stress the importance of the CCSS Mathematical Practices, but we also practice what we teach in that we implement these same MPs in our own CC courses.

  • Jane Jackson

    May 16, 2016 | 04:39 p.m.

    This seems excellent! Can you summarize the AMPS philosophy? To what extent does it emphasize student discourse, especially “speaking with meaning”?

  • Icon for: April Strom

    April Strom

    Lead Presenter
    Mathematics Faculty
    May 19, 2016 | 12:48 a.m.

    Interestingly enough, the phrase “AMP philosophy” was coined by several of our own project teachers. Our philosophy — or as I like to think of as our mission — is to get teachers to frame their work on student thinking. To us, this means that we want teachers to plan, implement, and reflect on their teaching based on students’ thinking by anticipating conceptual or procedural misconceptions. We focus quite a bit on MP3: Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others. Inherit in this practice is a high level of student engagement and student discourse. Speaking with meaning is at the center of this discourse where students engage in high-level discourse of their mathematical thinking, not just the process.

  • Icon for: George Reese

    George Reese

    May 18, 2016 | 07:46 a.m.

    It’s so great to see community college faculty in leadership and mathematics education. I will be keeping a lookout at NCTM and other conferences for AMP project presentations.

    “You can’t go back to doing what you were doing before, when you know something works better.” That’s a wonderful and true statement.

    I wonder if you see impact of your program on the need or, hopefully, lack of need for developmental courses at that community college?

  • Icon for: April Strom

    April Strom

    Lead Presenter
    Mathematics Faculty
    May 19, 2016 | 12:53 a.m.

    Thank you, George. We feel very honored that NSF supported our work, especially since we are at a community college! We just presented at both NCTM and NCSM, and we plan to submit a proposal for NCSM 2017 very soon.

    Relative to developmental mathematics courses, it is far too soon to see any direct impacts AMP has had on reducing the need of developmental courses. However, this week we are working with 47 CC faculty to provide AMP-like faculty development for our own faculty as we revised the content of these courses. Quite exciting to be working with our faculty in this larger capacity. We genuinely hope that we see a significant reduction in the number of students needing to complete developmental courses — this would be a wonderful outcome for everyone involved!

  • Icon for: Michelle Perry

    Michelle Perry

    May 18, 2016 | 07:43 p.m.

    I love that this is a community college-led program. Can you explain a bit more about what the PD looks like? The description mentions workshops, CCOLs and instructional rounds. How frequently do each of these happen? Does a teacher participate in all of these at various/multiple points over the school year, etc?

  • Icon for: April Strom

    April Strom

    Lead Presenter
    Mathematics Faculty
    May 19, 2016 | 01:00 a.m.

    Hi Michelle! Our PD involves ~100 hours/year for our teachers. They complete 2 years in our program. The hours are split among institutes/workshop and CCOL (Collaborative Communities of Learners…our version of a PLC). Teachers meet for 1 week in the summer, 4 Saturdays during the academic year, and 30 hours of CCOL. The institutes/workshops focus on content — number sense & operations, geometry & measurement, and problem solving in year 1; stats/probability, proportionality/functions in year 2. The CCOLs meet ~9 times over the year and most meetings occur once a month. The CCOLs are site-based and a majority of them are facilitated by a CC faculty. Instructional rounds occurs each spring semester. All teachers in AMP participate in all of these activities. :) In the end, they invest ~200 hours of PD time with us. This is quite the commitment, but we know that this level of engagement is critical for impacting teaching in profound and productive ways.

  • Icon for: Carolina Milesi

    Carolina Milesi

    Senior Research Scientist
    May 20, 2016 | 01:42 p.m.

    It is great this program is led by community college faculty. I don’t seem to see that often enough. Best of luck on your great work!

  • Icon for: April Strom

    April Strom

    Lead Presenter
    Mathematics Faculty
    May 20, 2016 | 03:00 p.m.

    Hi Carolina! Thank you…we are definitely proud of the opportunity for us to lead this project. And kudos to NSF for funding us! :)

  • Further posting is closed as the event has ended.