What is the benefit to teachers for participating in the study?
Teachers will have the opportunity to gain experience with state-of-the-art learning software, with professional development, customized support for integration with their curriculum, and ample technical support to ensure smooth implementation. Teachers will receive a $500 stipend for participating in professional development and $200 for completing surveys. In addition, teachers will have access to the software modules at no charge for an additional year after the conclusion of the study. Participation is voluntary and participants may choose to exit the study at any time. Confidentiality of teacher information will be maintained.
What are the benefits to schools for participating in the study?
Schools interested in incorporating research-based learning technology will have access to a suite of learning modules, complete with professional development, technology support, and customized assistance in curriculum integration. The project also has some resources to support technology infrastructure in participating schools. If desired, school leaders will also receive feedback on the degree of alignment of sixth-grade mathematics instruction to Pennsylvania standards. In addition, access to the software modules and professional development will be provided at no charge to all teachers in participating schools for an additional year.
What is the benefit to students for participating in the study?
Previous research conducted on middle school students in Philadelphia suggests that these PLMs are associated with strong and long-lasting learning gains for participating students. Moreover, these gains are in areas known to be especially challenging in middle school mathematics, such as measurement, and operations with and ordering of fractions. In addition, students not only showed improvements in the concepts and skills targeted by the modules, but also transfer to other tasks in which mathematical understanding was used in new contexts.
Is my school eligible to participate?
This study has received the support and approval of The School District of Philadelphia. All schools in Philadelphia that meet the following criteria are eligible to participate:
- Offer sixth-grade mathematics courses taught by teachers that teach at least two comparable sections.
- Have access to Internet-connected computers for students in intervention groups.
As a teacher, am I eligible to participate?
Any teacher who teaches two or more sections of sixth-grade mathematics that use similar curricula is eligible to participate. Sections will be randomly assigned either to use the supplemental software modules or to carry out the normal curriculum.
How much time will it take to participate in the study?
Teachers will be paid to participate in approximately four days of professional development over two years, and to provide data (no more than 1.5 days total). The intervention will be conducted over the 2013-14 and 2014-15 school years. Classes in the intervention will be asked to use 4 modules, with students engaging in about 4-7 sessions with each module.
What is the timeline of the study?
We will be collecting data for two years, beginning in Fall 2013 and continuing through Spring 2015, with two years of sixth-grade students. Preliminary results will be provided to the district during the intervening summer. A full report will be presented upon the study’s completion. At the end of the data collection phase, access to the software modules and professional development to use them will be provided at no charge to all teachers in participating schools for an additional year.