Academic journal article Middle Grades Research Journal

Factors Underlying Middle School Mathematics Teachers' Perceptions about the Ccssm and the Instructional Environment

Academic journal article Middle Grades Research Journal

Factors Underlying Middle School Mathematics Teachers' Perceptions about the Ccssm and the Instructional Environment

Article excerpt

Across the United States, K-12 schools and postsecondary institutions are rushing to address a need for individuals trained in seience, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Moreover, instead of considering these as four separate content areas, an inte- grated view of STEM (e.g., Capraro, Capraro, & Morgan, 2013) considers these content areas as a whole that is indeed greater than the sum of its parts. The student goals associated with integrated STEM include the following: STEM literacy, 21st century competencies, STEM workforce readiness, interest and engagement, and ability to make connections among STEM disciplines (Honey, Pearson, & Schweingruber, 2014).

The National Research Council (2011) recently identified five key educational system elements that cut across content areas to help promote STEM education. These key elements are as follows: "a coherent set of standards and curriculum," "teachers with high capacity to teach in their discipline," "a supportive system of assessment and accountability," "adequate instructional time," and "equal access to highquality STEM learning opportunities" (National Research Council, 2011, pp. 19-23). In relation to the first three elements, the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) (Common Core State Standards Initiative [CCSSI], 2010) and the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) (Achieve, 2013) represent recent efforts to develop coherent sets of national standards (National Research Council, 2011; Schmidt & Houang, 2012) that can drive a supportive system of assessment and accountability and that have implications with respect to teacher capacity necessary to enact the standards.

There is considerable overlap between the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics (CCSSM) and the NGSS, as articulated by Appendix L of the NGSS. First, there are a number of content areas that overlap with science, including topics in numbers and operations and measurement. The Science and Engineering practices of analyzing and interpreting data and using mathematics and computational thinking cut across both sets of standards. The greatest overlap occurs in the area of practices, with three Standards for Mathematical Practices having direct relevance to science, including reason abstractly and quantitatively, model with mathematics, and use appropriate tools strategically. To see how STEM plus the arts (STEAM) can be used to help bring the CCSSM Standards for Mathematical Practice to life in middle school mathematics classrooms, see Using Inquiry Principles of Art to Explore Mathematical Practice Standards (Conley, Douglass, & Trinkley) in this volume. The parallels in the ambitious visions of content and practices between the sets of standards suggest that lessons learned from the implementation of the CCSSM, currently adopted by 43 states, will inform the implementation of the NGSS, just now coming on line.

The goal of our study is to identify issues and challenges in the early stages of the implementation of the CCSSM, with the hope of developing understanding of how teachers perceive a coherent set of standards in a STEM field, how they view the impact of the related assessment and accountability systems, and their perceptions of the ways they are supported within the broader instructional environment to teach challenging new standards. By identifying early or emerging issues and challenges, we hope to contribute to a broader conversation of how to support STEM teachers to take up ambitious new content and instructional practices. The rapid adoption of the CCSSM presents an unprecedented opportunity to understand the role and impact of standards on the U.S. educational system and on STEM education. Additionally, it provides an opportunity for researchers to examine the impact of associated high-stakes assessment and teacher evaluation systems on the teachers' interpretation and implementation of the standards.

Standards do not implement themselves in classrooms (CCSSI, 2012). …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.