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Building MKT Assessment Items and Instructional Tasks to Build Intercommunity Capacity to Develop Teachers

Primary Investigator(s): Mark Hoover, Deborah Ball, Hyman Bass

Funding Agency: National Science Foundation

Period: 9/1/2015 - ongoing

Mounting evidence that specialized content knowledge (SCK) is associated with improved educational outcomes has sparked interest in making SCK a central goal in the mathematical education of teachers. Unfortunately, capacity for acting on this imperative is limited. The proposed project will establish SCK task development as a tool for inducting faculty into the teaching of SCK in ways that support their understanding of what counts as SCK and of the collaboration needed to establish SCK as a form of professional knowledge. We will undertake a training initiative (with certificates) anchored in four-day institutes that provide technical skill in writing SCK tasks and that introduce structures for review and standardization of new content. Institutes and follow-up support will focus on: (i) cross-professional teams addressing local needs; (ii) program/department leadership efforts; and (iii) identification of SCK central to equitable teaching. The institutes will seed work of the Illustrative Mathematics Project (www.illustrativemathematics.org) to extend their Common Core (CCSSM) student task platform to MKT tasks, which will establish ongoing production of tasks in the context of existing university faculty workloads and lay a foundation for continued professional review of locally produced tasks. The project addresses key obstacles to the effective teaching of SCK — and consequently to high quality mathematical education of teachers and to improvement of mathematics teaching and learning.