A new evaluation report
by Michael S Garet and colleagues, published by the US Institute of
Education Sciences, examines the impact of providing elementary
(primary) school teachers with content-focused maths continuing
professional development (CPD) on their knowledge, teaching, and
The study’s CPD had three components totalling 93 hours. The core of
the CPD was Intel Math, an 80-hour workshop delivered in the summer of
2013 that focused on deepening teachers’ knowledge of grades K–8
mathematics (Years 1 to 9). Two additional CPD components totalling 13
hours were delivered during the 2013–14 school year.
The study’s sample included grade 4 (Year 5) teachers from 94 schools
in six US school districts and five states that were randomly assigned
within schools to either a treatment group that received the study CPD
or a control group that did not receive the study CPD.
Key findings were as follows:
The CPD had a positive impact on teacher knowledge. On average,
treatment teachers’ maths knowledge scores on a study-administered maths
assessment were 21 percentile points higher than control teachers’
scores in spring 2014, after the CPD was completed.
The CPD had a positive impact on some aspects of teaching practice,
particularly Richness of Mathematics, which emphasises the conceptual
aspects of maths, such as the use and quality of mathematical
Despite the CPD’s generally positive impact on teacher outcomes, the
CPD did not have a positive impact on student achievement. On average,
treatment teachers’ students scored 2 percentile points lower than
control teachers’ students in spring 2014 on both a study-administered
maths assessment aligned with the content of the CPD and the state maths
assessment. This difference was statistically significant for the state
maths assessment but not for the study-administered assessment.
Source:Focusing on Mathematical Knowledge: The Impact of Content-Intensive Teacher Professional Development (2016), Institute of Education Sciences