Public Works Evaluation Services Releases Results for the California Mathematics & Science Partnership (CaMSP) Statewide Evaluation

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New report finds local partnerships with school districts & universities coupled with high teacher engagement in evidence-based science and mathematics professional development as key support for stem learning and transition to new science & common core math policies.

Public Works, a nonprofit evaluation services organization that serves as the statewide and local evaluator for the California Department of Education’s California Mathematics and Science Partnership (CaMSP) Program recently published the statewide evaluation report for CaMSP Year Eleven, Cohort 10, through September 2015.

Since 2003, through CaMSP, more than 10,000 California science and mathematics teachers have committed to three-year professional development programs that focused on evidence-based science and mathematics teaching methods to improve teacher content knowledge and student academic achievement. CaMSP teacher participants were asked to demonstrate a sustained commitment of 84 hours of professional development each year for the three-year duration of the grant. Participants were provided with opportunities to try new student engagement strategies, observe and understand student learning in new ways, develop and practice new approaches to familiar lesson topics and provide and receive feedback in a collegial setting.

Public Works’ statewide evaluation incorporates both process measures focused on how the program is implemented and outcome measures focused on the results of the program and interventions as designed by individual partnerships funded by CaMSP. The CaMSP report details the most recent evaluation results from the 2014-15 school year. From 2003-2013, CaMSP included 11 separate cohorts consisting of 135 CaMSP partnerships that encompassed multiple districts, institutions of higher education (IHE), county offices of education (COE) and other professional development partners across the state of California. These cohorts were limited to grades three to eight for science and three to Algebra 1 for mathematics.

In 2014, the STEM Office funded 20 partnerships under Cohort 10 with support for more than 1,200 teachers shifting the focus to professional development models for grades K-12 that integrated STEM through a variety of approaches to professional development and teacher support. Cohort 10 partnerships were also asked to incorporate the new Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in mathematics.

During the 2014-15 evaluations, Public Works studied results for the first administration of the mathematics Smarter Balanced Assessment (SBAC) based on the new Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in Mathematics included as a summative assessment for the California Assessment of Student Progress and Performance (CAASPP). The assessment was administered to all students enrolled in 3rd through 8th grades, and in 11th grade to measure standards-aligned mathematics content knowledge. The Public Works study provides a first of its kind analysis of SBAC data using a matched comparison study of the students of teachers participating in CaMSP, which included nearly 25,000 students in over 100 school districts. The results of this combined analysis for all partnerships show similar performance between treatment and control students in 2015. However, an analysis at the partnership level indicated a few with statistically significant positive differences for treatment students at various grade levels.

“Given the variety of professional development models and strategies in place through CaMSP, it’s difficult to attribute what we found in this study to any one approach in particular,” said Patty O’Driscoll, Vice President, Public Works. “However, it is an important lens to understand how these partnerships, often at the forefront of professional development and implementation of new policies, are performing on these new assessments. This helps us to better understand the context of how new policies play out at the ground level. We are preparing to study a new set of data for 2016 in the coming weeks, which will encompass an additional 24 CaMSP projects and another 130 districts.”

The CaMSP report also revealed that local partnerships with school districts and universities, coupled with high teacher engagement in evidence-based science and mathematics professional development as key support for STEM learning and transition to NGSS & Common Core Math Policies.

“Teachers in California are being asked to implement a wide range of new policies, often in districts and schools without professional development structures and personnel, the materials and the time set aside to support a broad-based shift,” said Patty O’Driscoll, Vice President, Public Works. “To keep the focus of new education policies in the classroom and on student learning, teachers must first be engaged in understanding these goals and given time and structured support to implement. While this kind of support is not cookie-cutter and takes time to develop and fine-tune, we see that when teachers are engaged with both their colleagues, a university and other partners in learning about mathematics, science and integrated STEM content in a sustained way, teachers develop the tools they need to make the shift in their own classrooms and become the leaders the state will need in its schools and districts to bring about change.”

As the transitions at both state and federal levels continues to evolve and impact schools, teachers and students, findings from the data collected by Public Works for the state evaluation of CaMSP Cohort 10 STEM projects provide an important lens about the coming opportunities to support teachers, and, in turn, students to learn in new ways. Opportunities include:

  • Combining locally customized professional development models based on research and recognized strategies to support teacher learning and classroom implementation with a longer-term horizon to improve and reflect on what is working.
  • Providing opportunities for teachers to understand engineering and integrated STEM learning using discipline-specific approaches, university expertise and community partners. This provides teachers with key instructional building blocks of NGSS and CCSS, including design and implementation of new activities, and real and practical understandings of engineering to develop student thinking.
  • Allowing opportunities for collaboration and teacher leadership to develop and adjust professional development approaches over time to meet teacher needs. Examples include grade level teams, lesson study groups and individual coaching support.
  • Embedding formative and summative evaluation support and technical assistance provides another lens to measure, improve and fine tune implementation. Consistent measurement of teacher content knowledge for science and math provides an opportunity to examine progress and customize and refine each professional development model and implementation.
  • Strong partnerships and a structure for implementation offer better chances for long-term success and retention of teachers.

For policy makers, the transition to a STEM-focused approach to professional learning for teachers implemented under Cohort 10 reflects two important understandings in improving schools:

1.    Policy makers, advocates for educational equity and closing achievement gaps, and the business community need to continue to connect to and push publicly for improvements in the system that prepare young people to become mathematicians, scientists, computer scientists and engineers.

2.    Continuing to support the transition to STEM-focused professional learning for teachers by combining what has been learned about high-quality professional development with a sense that all students would benefit from a more integrated approach to learning in order to have the skills and knowledge base they would need to contribute to the robust and ongoing changes in technology and a complex economy.

“The California Mathematics & Science Partnership (CaMSP) Year Eleven, Cohort 10 through September 30, 2015”report is available for download here. To request a copy by mail, please contact: Jessica Bogner, jessica(at)publicworksinc(dot)org.

MEDIA CONTACT:
Liza Sacilioc, Partner
Momentum Solutions for Public Works
818-371-3685 or liza(at)momentumsolutionsteam(dot)com.

About Public Works
Public Works is a non-profit corporation founded in 1998 dedicated to working with schools, government agencies and the non-profit sector by providing services and resources to organizations that educate and inform children, youth and families. Our mission is to put data into action, transforming statistics into information that informs decisions, improves accountability and communicates the impact of public policy. Public Works serves as the statewide and local evaluator of the CaMSP program. More information can be found at http://www.publicworksinc.org.

About the California Mathematics and Science Partnership
The California Mathematics and Science Partnership (CaMSP) program began in 2003 CaMSP is funded by a statewide competitive grant program administered by the Professional Learning Support Division’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Office of the California Department of Education (CDE) under the Improving Teacher Quality (ITQ) component of the 2001 Reauthorization of the Elementary Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the No Child Left Behind Act, which was recently replaced by the Every Child Succeeds Act (ESSA). Since that time, over 100 partnerships of local school districts and universities have been authorized by CDE involving hundreds of schools and many thousands of teachers. More information can be found at: http://www.cde.ca.gov/pd/ca/ma/camspintrod.asp.

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Liza Sacilioc

Emanuela Cariolagian
@PublicWorksCA
since: 05/2016
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