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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 - 8/31/2019

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 ( 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.