Analysis of Middle School Math Systems (AMS) Interim Report: Preliminary Exploration of Curriculum Characteristics, Professional Learning, and Instructional Adaptations
Middle School Math: Culturally Responsive Materials, Teacher Professional Learning, and Student Engagement
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
- Curriculum is an important lever in middle school math instructional delivery. While curricula inevitably transform once in the hands of teachers, our findings make clear that the curriculum itself plays an important role in influencing what does—and does not—get taught in the classroom.
- Curriculum developers need to focus on supporting culturally responsive math teaching practices. The six study curricula promote culturally responsive teaching practices to a very limited extent. If this is a priority for the field, our analysis strongly suggests that this is an area where curriculum developers need to focus.
- As an important lever in instructional delivery, professional learning (PL) falls short of meeting teachers’ needs. Many indicators suggest PL supports could do much more to help teachers translate curricula effectively, meet their own aspirations in delivering culturally responsive instruction, and provide greater individual differentiation.
- Many teachers are making adaptations in their instructional delivery, but it is unclear whether or not these adaptations are productive.
This report presents data from the first year of the Analysis of Middle School Math Systems (AMS) study. It examines characteristics of six middle school math curricula and their relationship to teacher and student experiences; teachers’ engagement with professional learning; and teachers’ instructional adaptations of the curriculum. Findings from this first year of data collection demonstrate the important role that curriculum plays in math instructional delivery. We also find that the study’s six curricula each fall short in promoting and supporting culturally responsive teaching practices. Professional learning, which can address curriculum shortcomings, could also do more to help teachers translate curricula effectively, meet their own aspirations in delivering culturally responsive instruction, and provide greater individual differentiation. Many teachers are making adaptations in their instructional delivery, but it is unclear whether or not these adaptations are productive.