There is little consensus on the kinds and amounts of teacher support needed to achieve desired student learning outcomes when mathematics is inserted into science classrooms. When supported by educative curriculum materials (ECM) and heavy investment in professional development (PD), teachers implementing a unit designed around mathematical modeling of scientific mechanisms substantially increased students’ ability to make both qualitative and quantitative predictions (Schuchardt & Schunn, 2016). Because of concerns about equitable access to support resources, we investigated whether variations in PD support while retaining ECM could differentially affect two student learning outcomes: Quantitative Predictions and Qualitative Predictions. Two contrasts were performed examining: (1) the effect of reducing PD and (2) whether eliminating PD entirely caused further harm to student learning. Reducing and eliminating PD had no significant effect on student gains in Qualitative Predictions, suggesting ECM can be sufficient for teachers to support student learning of conceptual science content. However, student gains in Quantitative Predictions decreased significantly upon reducing PD; eliminating PD did not cause significant additional decreases. Combined, these findings suggest that amount of face-to face PD support necessary to achieve student-learning gains can vary depending on whether the practice requires application of qualitative science content or quantitative reasoning.
- Next Generation Science Standards
- educative curriculum materials
- mathematical modeling
- professional development
- student learning