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Professional Development

TRU-Math Project

Teaching for a Robust Conceptual Understanding of Mathematics (TRU-Math) Project.

Grant Manager: Dr. Susan Vohrer (DE Department of Education)
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TRU-Math

About This Program
2016-2018

The Teaching for a Robust Conceptual Understanding of Mathematics or TRU-Math Project was a K-12 professional learning program funded through a Math Science Partnership grant administered by the Delaware Department of Education. PHMC (formerly Research for Better Schools) served as the external evaluator for TRU-Math. The project engaged two cohorts (K-5, Grades 6-12) of teachers, coaches, mathematics specialists, and administrators from eighteen partnership district and charter schools in the state. Data collected during the history of the project showed that teachers in the project made statistical gains in their usable content knowledge (CVA scores) and students in TRU-Math participants’ classrooms consistently outperformed students at the state level on the Smarter Balanced and SAT assessments. The project serves as the impetus for the Delaware Mathematics Coalition’s National Science Foundation proposal to be submitted this October.

Thought partners for the TRU-Math Project included: 

Dr. Dawn Berk, University of Delaware
Dr. James Hiebert, University of Delaware
Dr. Lou Rossi, University of Delaware
Dr. Amanda Jansen, University of Delaware
Dr. Nicola Edwards, Delaware State University
Dr. Delayne Johnson, Delaware State University
Dr. Alan Schoenfeld, University of Berkley
Dr. Virginia Bastable, Mountholyoke University

Business and higher education partners in the grant included:

TRU-Math Project

External Evaluators' Findings

The external evaluator for the TRU-Math Project is Research for Better Schools (RBS). RBS has over 50 years of experience conducting research evaluations and has received national recognition for producing evaluations that meet the highest levels of rigor. Across the year, RBS collected and analyzed data related to improvements in teachers’ content knowledge, changes in teacher practice, and the achievement of students in TRU-Math teachers’ classrooms.

TRU-Math teachers' students outperformed students at the state level in nearly every grade level on the Smarter Balanced and SAT mathematics exams.

Smarter Balanced & SAT Results

DMC-sponsored professional learning opportunities reached a total of 381 different educators and community members in the state
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percent of third graders in TRU-Math teachers’ classroom met or exceeded the standard in mathematics (state achievement results for grade 3: 53% met or exceeded the standard).
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of eighth graders in the TRU-Math Project teachers’ classrooms met or exceeded the state standard in mathematics (state results: 38% met or exceeded the standard).
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381 Educators and Community Members Reached

During the past year, DMC-sponsored professional learning opportunities reached a total of 381 different educators and community members in the state.

Significant gains in content knowledge

Matched-score comparisons of pre-post assessment data showed that TRU-Math Project participants made statistically significant gains in their content knowledge during the year.

Students in TRU-Math participants' classrooms exceed SBAC, SAT scores

Students in TRU-Math Project participants’ classrooms exceeded the percentage of students who met standards at the state level in almost all grade levels assessed (SBAC, SAT). The demographics of the students in TRU-Math teachers’ classrooms reflected the broader population in the state.

Participants made gains in all four dimensions of CVA

The analysis of pre-post video analysis data revealed that TRU-Math Project participants made gains in all four dimensions of the content video analysis rubric (CVA).

Positive correlation between teachers' attendance and overall student performance on state assessment

Findings comparing the achievement scores of TRU-Math participants’ students and their teachers’ attendance rates revealed a positive correlation between teachers’ attendance and the overall performance of their students on the state assessment.

Participants' 8th grade classrooms achieved 150 points higher than non-cohort grade level peers in the state

Eighth graders in TRU-Math teachers’ classrooms had achievement averages close to 150 points higher than their non-cohort grade level peers in the state, while those who took the SAT had scores 30 points higher than the state average.

Percent Meeting or Exceeding the Standards in Math

3rd Grade
STATE 53%
TRU-Math 73%
8th Grade
STATE 38%
TRU-Math 90%

Demographics for students in TRU-Math teachers' classrooms reflected the broader population of students in the state in terms of race, ethnicity, learning disability, and socio-economic levels.

What do participants have to say about the program?

Participant Feedback

I have found a community that truly connects critical mathematics education research to concrete practice. We reflect on content in a way that deepens my own understanding and connections of important mathematical ideas, discuss pedagogical moves that we can use to encourage student thinking and agency within our classrooms, and focus on how we can become better teacher leaders in our building.
TRU-Math Participant
RBS, 2017
EMTL has been the most beneficial PD opportunity I have ever been involved in. The insight into math is unparalleled, the opportunity to work with other educators in the state has been insightful, and the connectedness to research from professionals in the field has been tightly aligned.
TRU-Math Participant
RBS, 2017
The nature of the tasks and the skills of the presenters, made this an optimal learning experience. The days flew by; I felt a deep and abiding respect for my table colleagues; I learned a lot of math; I felt empowered, high on the work, and valued as a person; I felt I became a better self.
TRU-Math Participant
RBS, 2018
Please know that this pebble of a PD will cause many ripples throughout the schools and students all across the state
TRU-Math Participant
RBS, 2018