What are Math and Science Partnerships?
- Enhance schools’ capacity to provide challenging curricula for all students and encourage more students to succeed in advanced courses in mathematics and the sciences;
- Increase the number, quality, and diversity of mathematics and science teachers, especially in underserved areas;
- Engage and support scientists, mathematicians, and engineers at local universities and local industries to work with K-12 educators and students;
- Contribute to a greater understanding of how students effectively learn mathematics and science and how teacher preparation and professional development can be improved; and
- Promote institutional and organizational change in education systems — from kindergarten through graduate school — to sustain partnerships’ promising practices and policies [NSF]
The Impact of the MSP Program
- Positive correlations between schools’ participation in partnership activities and K–12 student achievement in mathematics and science;
- Increased K–12 teachers’ content knowledge following participation in partnership activities;
- Widespread involvement by science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) discipline faculty in partnership activities;
- Extensive research publications by the partnerships, covering topics in mathematics and science education; and
- Early signs that partnerships can sustain their collaborative work beyond their period of formal funding by the MSP Program [MSPnet]
Emerging Promising Practices
Increasing K-16 Collaboration Opportunities
The opportunity to communicate and collaborate within and across schools was overwhelmingly described as a positive practice within the MSPs. Participants frequently described the benefit of learning together and from one another. Some MSPs involve several regions, and teachers who do not normally have a chance to work with one another are now making connections and sharing resources more than ever before. Additionally, the partnerships benefited from each other by helping the K-12 teachers understand what the IHE expect from incoming college students while the IHE better understand the foundation students gain in K-12 MSP districts.
Developing Common Instructional Materials
Many of the MSPs provide teachers with practical instructional materials. In some cases, these materials are primarily teacher-generated. In others, teachers are provided with instructional materials, such as technology devices and software, and are given lessons aligned with it. The teacher-generated materials are often created collaboratively, across multiple grade levels, to assist with vertical alignment. In both cases, teachers expressed gratitude for obtaining practical instructional materials from their MSP trainings. In a few of the partnerships, teachers saw these materials as essential for them to be able to sustain adopted practices after the end of the grant.
Developing Common Instructional Strategies
Several of the partnerships provided opportunities for participants to observe in the classrooms of their peers. Although many of the teachers admitted that they were nervous and apprehensive about this at first, they almost universally reported this practice to be one of the most effective in improving their instructional skills and a practice they do not normally have time to do. Additionally, some MSP participants observed trainers modeling instructional strategies to students during professional development meetings; participants found it particularly valuable to observe the teaching strategies they were learning by having them modeled for them with students.