An Examination of Elementary Teachers' Mathematical Quality of Instruction and Use of Instructional Materials

Waddell, Katie, Curriculum and Instruction - School of Education and Human Development, University of Virginia
Cohen, Julie, ED-CISE Department, University of Virginia

Providing high quality mathematics instruction is complex and challenging and necessitates a range of knowledge, dispositions, and skills. Mathematics teachers need mathematical knowledge for teaching, productive beliefs and attitudes towards mathematics, and skills necessary for implementing effective classroom practices. Researchers have found that this combination is particularly illusive for elementary teachers, who train as generalists. As a result, decades of research on teaching suggests elementary mathematics instruction would benefit from additional supports. In particular, a number of studies have suggested that standards-aligned curricular materials and systematic, subject-specific observation protocols can provide support to elementary teachers to improve the mathematical quality of instruction. At a rural, Title 1 elementary school in Pennsylvania, administrators used anecdotal observations and student data to identify an organization challenge: K-2 teachers are inconsistently providing high quality mathematics instruction and/or using standards-aligned curricular materials. This mixed-method study sought to address this problem of practice by evaluating the instructional materials teachers used to plan for and enact mathematics instruction, coupled with classroom observations focused on the mathematical quality of instruction. Data collection included a teacher survey, three thirty-minute recorded classroom observations, and one semi-structured interview. Instruments included the 2019 American Instructional Resources Survey, the 2014 Mathematical Quality of Instruction observation protocol, and semi-structured interview protocols. Findings were used to inform recommendations for future professional learning opportunities and curricular initiatives in the district.

EDD (Doctor of Education)
mathematics, instructional quality, instructional materials
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