ILS Research and Evaluation

Teacher Inquiry and Classroom-based Research

New York City Mathematics Project, Classroom-based Assessment in Mathematics Education (CLAME)

With support from The Greenwall Foundation (1997-1998; 2000-2002), the NYCMP initiated CLAME, a teacher-inquiry program that focused on the following questions: How we do know students have grasped key concepts in mathematics, and what evidence do we have? In what ways can we support children at different points in their development of mathematical understanding? Teachers participated in a year-long study group at Lehman College and worked weekly at their schools with a NYCMP teacher-consultant. The evaluation of CLAME resulted in a publication, Teaching that Makes a Difference: Lessons Learned by the New York City Mathematics Project (in press). The publication offers portraits of the work in three schools that illustrate differing degrees of success. In one school, CLAME had an impact on teachers' abilities to work collaboratively through close review of student work, which led to substantial improvements in the school's mathematics curriculum. In the second case, CLAME had an impact on one teacher who was able to raise her students' performance in mathematics. In the final case, a team of teachers forged a prominent place for mathematics in the context of a school's movement to reform.

New York City Writing Project, NWP Reading Initiative

How do we motivate reluctant readers to interact with informational texts? What does it mean to be a good reader in a particular discipline? Which reading practices and strategies are applicable to all informational texts, and which are discipline-specific? These are some of the questions a team of NYC Writing Project members are tackling as part of a three-year National Reading Initiative (NRI) launched by the National Writing Project with funding from the Carnegie Corporation. The NYCWP was selected as one of the nine participating sites because of its long history of using writing to support reading.

In the first year of the grant, a self-study team examined their own reading practice, studied the literature on informational reading, and investigated the ways in which reading and learning are situated in particular communities and cultures of practice. In the second and third years, a study group comprised of science, social studies, and language arts teachers is developing classroom-based inquiries, piloting new approaches, and documenting their effectiveness. This multi-disciplinary team also maintains a blog that includes a bibliography, notes from study group sessions, and observations from the participants. The group will develop reports and resources that will assist middle- and high-school teachers in supporting their students as apprentice readers and writers in various content areas.

New York City Writing Project, Teacher Research on Independent Reading

Through an NWP Urban Sites mini-grant, the NYCWP convened and supported a teacher-research group focused on adolescent literacy. As teachers developed their studies, all of them found themselves drawn to aspects of independent reading, including: integrating phonics and spelling into independent reading, developing independent reading with struggling readers in two different school contexts, using photographs and paintings to encourage strategies for responding to independent reading. The results of this research have been shared at local and national conferences. Some of the participating teachers have continued their work as members of the National Reading Initiative self-study team.

ILS Staff Inquiries into Teaching and Learning

NYC Writing Project director Nancy Mintz conducted a year-long investigation into the ways in her support of a middle-grades ELA teacher encouraged the use of reading groups in that teacher's classroom. By documenting her observations in class and engaging in an exchange of journal entries with the teacher, Mintz developed insights into the process of collaborative professional development and the value of small-group talk about literature within a sixth-grade class. This work was published as an ILS monograph and forms the basis of the NWP at Work monograph, On-Site Consulting: New York City Writing Project.

Using the observation methods of the Prospect Center for Education and Research, NYC Mathematics Project teacher-consultant Linda Dolinko-Gold studied the mathematics thinking of one sixth-grade student at an upper Manhattan middle school. Through interviews with the student and his teachers, observations of the student working collaboratively and independently in his mathematics class (and in one other class), and a close analysis of his mathematics work, Dolinko creates a picture of a lively, creative young mathematician whose talents and abilities are unknown to his other teachers. Dolinko's discoveries enable her to raise questions about the degree to which schools – even small schools – know the children they serve, and what obligations teachers and/or staff developers have to present a fuller picture of students to each other. This work was published as an ILS monograph, Keeping the Possibilities Present: a Study of One Child's Math Thinking.

ILS director Marcie Wolfe, in collaboration with Bonne August, then Chair of the English Department at Kingsborough Community College, supported a group of high school and college teachers of writing–facilitators of the Looking Both Ways seminars in exploring the value of their collaboration with each other. This work is collected in Facilitating Collaboration: Issues in Cross-Institutional Professional Development, a publication of CUNY's Office of Academic Affairs. In addition to guiding the contributors in the writing of their chapters, August and Wolfe wrote the introductory and concluding chapters, drawing on previous work in facilitative leadership and communities of practice.

Last modified: Feb 13, 2013

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