Projects

State Plan for Progress for Science and Mathematics

Background

The SECC will support ALSDE Research and Development staff with developing two state plans for progress. One plan will be for math and the other will be for science in terms of Grades K–8. The plans for progress will include an introduction to the issues, a literature review, a deep dive/meta-analysis of the review, findings, and recommendations.

Project State(s)

Project Updates

Most Recent Update: |

Science and math teams met September 18 and 25, respectively, to discuss results of vetting and analysis of literature. During the month of September, the teams both worked to vet and analyze the literature used to answer the state education agency's research questions.

 

Previous Updates:

Science and math teams met September 18 and 25, respectively, to discuss results of vetting and analysis of literature. During the month of September, the teams both worked to vet and analyze the literature used to answer the state education agency's research questions.

SECC project staff working on the literature review for science met on August 14 to debrief on the work it had completed with regard to the analysis of the literature. The team determined that the findings were now more specific, clarifying types of strategies and interventions found to be significant and worth reporting. The science team’s next step is to meet on September 18 to begin reporting findings and conclusions that will impact state decisions on effective ways to support teachers with science instruction. The SECC math team determined during its meeting on August 25 that many of the articles collected to answer research question one were either conceptual or theoretical and did not meet the criteria the math team had developed for inclusion. The team decided to break research question one into two parts, the second of which would be better addressed by the third research question involving transitioning to computational skills at higher grade span levels. Due to time constraints, the team determined this solution would be most efficient and acceptable. The SECC team’s next step is to share this decision with the SEA on September 1 for input and approval to keep the work moving forward.

 

Southeast Comprehensive Center (SECC) project staff working on the literature review for science met to debrief on the work it had completed with regard to the analysis of the literature. The team determined that the findings were now more specific and worth reporting. The science team’s next steps are to meet to begin reporting findings and conclusions that will impact state decisions on effective ways to support teachers with science instruction.

The SECC math team determined that many of the articles collected to answer research question did not meet the criteria the math team had developed for inclusion. The team decided to break research question one into two parts, the second of which would be better addressed by the third research question involving transitioning to computational skills at higher grade span levels. The SECC team’s next steps are to share this decision with the Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE) for input and approval to keep the work moving forward.

The science project team met on July 20 to discuss progress made on analyzing the science literature that was collected. During the conversation, the team determined that some of the themes that were coded by team members were too broad, so each team member revisited the literature to identify more specific strategies that were used in the studies that were found to be significant. The timeline for adding these specific types of strategies to the Excel matrix is August 4. One of the science experts on the team will review each of the team’s findings and consolidate their work into one Excel matrix. Upon doing so, she will meet individually with each team member to share and confirm the work for accuracy. Once all the analyses are consolidated, the team will meet on August 14 to begin planning the next phase, reporting the findings.mOn July 26, the math team also met to discuss progress on the analysis of the literature review and to introduce new team members to the work and planned tasks. The timeline for the math team to complete its analysis is August 18, when they will also begin the next phase of the project. Once the reports are completed, the SEA will have information to help it make informed decisions that support the new state strategic plan in education, Alabama Ascending, and its Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) plan.

On June 14, SECC staff met with the state team via conference call to discuss next steps for the State Plans for Progress in Math and Science. SECC staff walked the team through procedures used for analyzing the literature that was vetted over the last month. These procedures include reviewing the findings from the literature review noted in the Excel document and recording the themes and patterns that emerge. The math and science content teams will meet to refine plans for summarizing the findings as part of the narrative for the reports. These reports will inform the state as it considers how it will strategically address technical assistance for its 137 districts, 1,467 public schools, and all math and science teachers in Alabama.

The SECC project team has completed its vetting and reading of the math and science articles. SECC held an internal project meeting on May 25 to discuss the process for analyzing the literature for emerging themes. A poll was sent to SEA staff to discuss and finalize analysis plans so that we can move to this next phase of the project.Options for meeting times are slated for mid-June.

 

After meeting in late March to refine and develop criteria for evaluating articles collected from the literature search, SECC and ALSDE staff began reading and vetting articles. The team is looking for the level of analysis, sample size, and type of intervention to determine whether or not to review those pieces of literature. They will record findings in the Excel spreadsheet to track each article. The team’s next steps will be to consolidate findings, share them with the math and science committees, and begin the process of writing the reviews.

On March 2, SECC held a virtual meeting to provide ALSDE with an overview of the guidelines for conducting the literature review and to finalize its action plan. An internal face-to-face SECC planning session was held on March 8 to discuss progress made on the literature search. Additional teleconferences with ALSDE were held on March 10, 22, and 31 to check for progress and plan next steps. During the March 22 meeting, SECC team members and ALSDE staff received research assignments that entailed reviewing the collected research articles to determine their type of evidence (experimental, non-experimental, conceptual, etc.) and the type of publication (report, journal article, presentation paper, etc). Team members recorded and consolidated their findings in an Excel spreadsheet for vetting purposes. On March 31, the project team developed more criteria for evaluating the articles (such as level of analysis, sample size, and type of intervention used in the study) and were assigned to begin reading. Using these criteria, the project team will further evaluate the literature and record findings in the spreadsheet. The team will reconvene in mid-April to check in for progress made and plan for next steps.

To streamline the work, the ALSDE/SECC project team was subdivided into mathematics and science teams. A teleconference was held with all team members to discuss a plan of action. The teams met separately to discuss the literature review process to determine key components such as research questions and key search terms. Additional conversations among team members were held to ensure that efforts by the math and science teams were coordinated and following similar protocols and strategies. On March 2, SECC will hold a virtual meeting to provide ALSDE with an overview of the guidelines for conducting the literature review and to finalize its action plan.

On January 4, the Research and Development Office at ALSDE met with the SECC Alabama state liaison to discuss a new technical assistance need. The state would like to collaborate on the development of two white papers that will review current literature on what works in mathematics and science. Specifically, the state is interested in reviewing research that supports strong evidence for successful and unsuccessful strategies for teaching math and science, including the contextual factors surrounding the study samples. The state hopes to learn how it can approach statewide support for these content areas.

On January 31, the SECC and ALSDE team had its initial meeting to discuss the project and roles for each member. The project team decided to break the teams into two groups, one that will focus on the mathematics white paper, and the other on the science paper. Separate meetings were scheduled for early February by both teams to begin working on the literature review.