CAREER: Adapting Curriculum for Learning in Mathematics Education (ACCLIME): Processes and Factors in Teachers’ Evolving Adaptations of Curriculum Materials

Principal Investigator: 
Project Overview
Background & Purpose: 

The purpose of ACCLIME is to investigate what teachers learn from implementing and adapting a Standards-based middle school mathematics curriculum. The study began with an analysis of the adoption, rollout, and support of the curriculum at the school and district level. Currently, the project is focusing on the ways teachers adapt instructional units and how those adaptations signal the development of pedagogical content knowledge.

Setting: 

The study is situated in six geographically proximate districts in and near Rochester, New York.

Research Design: 

This longitudinal, comparative research project employs case study methodology to analyze school records/policy documents, videography, and structured face-to-face interviews. Video data will be analyzed using structured observation protocols. The interview data will be analyzed through both typological and inductive coding to capture themes related to original goals of study as well as emergent themes.

Findings: 

There was considerable variation between the districts in terms of the rollout and sustained support of the curriculum. Of greater importance is the impact of the state testing regime, which in effect constitutes a second and often opposing curriculum to the Standards-based curriculum. In part as a consequence, most of the teachers in the study expressed ambivalent views about the how the Standards-based curriculum helps students to learn mathematics. This ambivalence has been evident even in cases where teachers have received many hours of curriculum-specific professional development and have used the Standards-based curriculum almost exclusively for years. The results of this part of the study raise concerns about the impact of standards-based curriculum and related high-quality professional development on teachers’ beliefs and practices.

In terms of the part of the study that investigates teachers’ implementations of instructional units, the video-stimulated interviews have revealed considerable teacher knowledge of units’ scope and sequence of mathematical topics, tasks, and representations. However, teachers’ understanding of the units as connected sequences of learning experiences for students and their understanding of how student thinking develops over time has varied in important ways across the sample.

Publications & Presentations: 

Choppin, J. (2009). Curriculum-context knowledge: Teacher learning from successive enactments of a Standards-based mathematics curriculum. Curriculum Inquiry, 39(2), 287-320.