By Laura Katauskas
Initial study results show Valley View School District math teachers are excelling in robust math skills compared to their counterparts across several states.
According to Valley View, in 2014 it partnered with Michigan State University and the University of Virginia in a research study of new teachers, taking a look at their classroom instruction, analyzing instruction based on the Teaching in Robust Understanding (TRU) mathematics rubric. This rubric, designed by math experts, is meant to measure instructional practices that directly relate to improved math skills for students.
An information report from the district shows that in all four areas measured on the TRU rubric, the average score of Valley View teachers increased significantly from the fall of 2015 to the spring of 2016, the only district to do so. A total 8 school districts with 82 teachers from MIchigan, Indiana and Ohio were involved in the study with 14 teachers from Valley View participating. In comparison, the report states that the other 82 teachers either scored the same or results were lower over the same time period.
In the information report, John Lane, study author and researcher, stated, “The teachers in Valley View experienced the most significant improvement in their TRU Math scores between the fall of 2015 and the spring of 2016 of any of the districts in the study. TRU MAth includes four dimensions: mathematic content; cognitive demand; student agency and authority; and formative assessment, and Valley View teachers improved steadily in each dimension over the school year.”
The research study authors anticipate further conclusions based on the study in 2018 which will help Valley View connect the success to its curriculum. Valley View said it will continue to use the TRU rubric as a tool to professionally develop its educators and is currently working with the University of Illinois-Chicago (UIC) on complex math instruction in fourth grade classrooms.