The process and impact of implementing performance standards in mathematics
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The goal of this study was to investigate a middle school coordinated implementation of the Georgia Performance Standards (GPS), a standards-based curriculum using Connected Mathematics Project materials (CMP) and a mandated accountability system. The CMP is judged to be a middle school mathematics curriculum consistent with the GPS. A case study was constructed with sixth-grade teachers and their mathematics coach in one school in Georgia. Several themes emerged in relationship to the implementation process. First, teachersÕ collective participation in the exploration of the GPS, the selection of the CMP materials, a summer professional development workshop specifically tied to the use of CMP materials and the in-school professional development had some impact on the perception of the teachersÕ need to change. The presence of the mathematics coach on siteÑrunning the in-school professional development, attending lessons of some teachers and giving them feedbackÑdid support teachers in dealing with new content to teach, adapting to new methods of teaching, working in groups, adapting to multiple ways of assessing students, and learning how to use new curriculum materials. The study suggests that in dealing with teacher beliefs and practices, teachers benefit from a long-term professional development that targets content and pedagogical knowledge. Some elements of the accountability systemÑfor example, pretests and postestsÑcan be used by the teachers to make instructional decisions. Also, the study indicates that involving teachers at all stages of the implementation process can foster unity among them, which can promote collaboration and reflection. It also indicates that when selecting curriculum materials, the kind of students that are targeted should be considered, especially when they have limited English reading ability. All these dynamics of the implementation process draw attention to the importance of the mathematics coach being on site. The study identifies both common and individual concerns and issues with respect to these influences. It underscored the importance of teamwork, collaboration and having the mathematics coach on site in bringing about a new vision of the school mathematics program.