Top Down or Bottom Up? Supports for Instructional Improvement in Research Practice Partnerships
Monday, Mar 13, 2017 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
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School of Education Brownbag
“Top Down or Bottom Up? Supports for Instructional Improvement in Research Practice Partnerships”
Guest Lecture by Thomas Smith, Professor and Dean
UC Riverside Graduate School of Education
Monday, March 13, 2017
12:00 – 1:00 pm
Open to the public
Abstract: The achievement gap in mathematics is a persistent problem of the U.S. education system. Although some research-based curricula and pedagogy have demonstrated promise in supporting students from diverse backgrounds to develop conceptual understanding and procedural fluency in mathematics, scaling up instructional change across a district organization is a significant challenge. The Middle School Mathematics and the Institutional Setting of Teaching (MIST) Project is a research–practice partnership seeking to understand how large urban school districts can support the development of rigorous and equitable middle-school mathematics instruction at scale. This talk reviews some of what we learned from conducting district-level improvement cycles in multiple districts over a seven-year period and why we are now working with teachers to develop “practical measures” for instructional improvement.
Bio: Dr. Thomas M. Smith is the Dean of the Graduate School of Education at the University of California, Riverside. Previously he was a professor and Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations at Peabody College of Education and Human Development, Vanderbilt University. Dr. Smith is also Executive Director of the National Center on Scaling Up Effective Schools (NCSU), a national research and development center funded by the Institute for Education Sciences at the U.S. Department of Education. NCSU is a collaboration between five universities, two large urban districts, and a developer of educational tools and programs (EDC) formed to enhance the capacity of school districts to identify effective practices, design and test innovations that capture the core components of those practices, and then implement the innovations in ways that improve the learning opportunities for students from traditionally low performing groups. Dr. Smith has also co-directed, with Professor Paul Cobb at Vanderbilt, the MIST project—an NSF funded collaboration with four large urban districts to investigate, test, and refine a set of conjectures regarding the organizational arrangements, social relations, and material resources needed to enhance the impact of professional development on mathematics teachers’ instructional practices. Prior to coming to Vanderbilt in 2001, Dr. Smith conducted and managed statistical research activities at the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and the National Science Foundation (NSF). Tom Smith holds a B.A. in economics from UCLA, a M.A. in economics from Columbia University, a M.A. in sociology from Catholic University, and a Ph.D. in Educational Theory and Policy from Pennsylvania State University.