Science, Technology Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM)
Summary of the Title IIB Massachusetts Mathematics and Science Partnerships (MMSP) Program
Massachusetts Mathematics and Science Partnerships (MMSP) Program began in February of 2004 with entitlement funding through Title IIB of No Child Left Behind. The intent of this federal program is to improve mathematics and science education by providing intensive professional development for teachers through partnerships between STEM departments of higher education institutions and school districts. Grants are awarded to partnerships for a period of three years, and sustained impacts have occurred at both higher education institutions and at school districts.
The Massachusetts program has funded five cohorts for three years each, a total of 29 Projects, which have offered 298 courses to 2,673 teachers by August of 2010. Of these teachers, 989 took multiple courses, such that 5,172 course seats were filled.
The program in Massachusetts has reached targeted participants-those who taught in high need districts and those in need of obtaining licenses. MMSP exceeded the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE) goal of having at least 50% of all participants come from high need districts, with 66% of all participants coming from high need districts. Regarding licensure for mathematics, 23% of the regular education courses taught by MMSP participants were taught by teachers who were not licensed in mathematics, and 80% of teachers of those courses did not hold mathematics degrees. Analogously, for science or technology/engineering, 43% of regular education classes were taught by teachers who did not hold licenses in the subject, and 75% of classes were taught by teachers who did not hold degrees that were relevant to the focus of the class. The percentages were substantially higher for special education and ELL classes.
There are demonstrated increases in teacher content knowledge and teacher licensure for MMSP participants. Of the 298 courses offered prior to September 1, 2010, average content knowledge gains were statistically significant in over 82% of the courses. Gains in average percentage of items correct between pre- and post-course administrations occurred in 285 of 298 courses. (Data were incomplete for nine courses.) MMSP has contributed to increasing the number of highly-qualified public school teachers. Data available through August of 2010 indicate that of the MMSP teachers who entered the program as not highly qualified, at least 158 teachers attained highly qualified status. By the end of August 2010, of the 989 teachers who had taken multiple courses, 26% earned one or more new licenses and 12% had taken and passed an MTEL (Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure).
The MMSP program has had sustainable impacts on participating school districts. The capacity has been built for solid math leaders through master's degree programs in mathematics for educators developed through MMSP at Lesley University and Salem State College (M.A.T. for Middle School) as well as intensive immersion courses offered by Boston University (180 class hours) and EduTron (Intensive Immersion Institutes). District leadership has built math and science learning communities that are content focused, meaningful to teachers, translate content knowledge to classroom practice, and sometimes include higher education math professors. In the Lawrence Public Schools, UMass Lowell professors participate in the math learning communities. Other district initiatives have been strengthened with the content expertise of MMSP leaders, including standards alignment and pacing guide development.
Substantial impacts on the colleges and universities are evident in the 45 courses and three degree programs incorporated in the higher education institutions offerings that were developed through MMSP from 2004 to 2010. These courses and master's degree programs are currently offered for either in-service educators or pre-service teachers by the following: Fitchburg State College, Lesley University, Northeastern University, UMass Amherst, Salem State College, Bristol Community College, Cape Cod Community College, Bridgewater State College and Worcester Polytechnic Institute. The Northeastern University courses and master's program were developed jointly with the NSF-funded MSP program. As a result of their close work with the program, in many of our MMSP higher education institutions, university STEM professors have transformed their practice from merely delivering content to integrating that content into an approach that helps teachers better understand how their students learn mathematics and science.