CenterPoint hosts monthly town hall forums where we cover a variety of topics around education, assessment, and teacher support with participation from leading experts and educators from across the country.

In October, the topic was strategies for using learning progressions in mathematics to inform instruction. We were joined by leaders from The Charles A. Dana Center, including Doug Sovde, Director, K–12 Education Strategy, Policy, and Services, and members of the Urban Mathematics Leadership Network. The event was structured as a Q&A, allowing participants to engage in a dialogue with our expert guests to unpack the issues they’re facing in the classroom.

Here are some of the highlights from the discussion:

  1. Question: What have you done to make sense of and use the math progressions?

Response from Doug Sovde, Director of K-12 Education Strategy, Policy, and Services, The Dana Center: “Great question! The progressions can get pretty dense sometimes. One of the most effective ways I've seen folks use and make sense of the progressions is to do so in PLCs (Professional Learning Communities), taking on specific chunks for discussion based on what they're seeing in student work and their classrooms.”

  1. Question: What content-specific pedagogies/ideas have you noted in the progressions? How does this influence choices you make in the classroom?

Response from Dr. Bonnie Hain, Chief Academic Officer, CenterPoint: “One of my colleagues here at CenterPoint has shared that the progressions document on modeling can apply to mathematics teachers at all grade levels. Particularly in high school, the concept of a modeling process can be introduced and explicitly taught to students using a diagram of the modeling cycle. Referencing the modeling cycle throughout the year can serve as a theme of the mathematics classroom, reinforcing the mathematical practices.”

  1. Question: How can one use the learning progressions to support students who are struggling due to potential learning gaps?

Response from Kevin Bruney, Senior Mathematics Instructional Designer, CenterPoint: “It seems like historically math topics have been viewed as single pieces you learn and move on from instead of being connected and building. The progressions help make it clear that this is not the case. They make it OK for the math knowledge to be something that grows.”

  1. Question: How have you used the progressions to better understand the standards and how to teach them?

Response from Lisa Brown, Course Program Specialist, Secondary Mathematics, The Dana Center: “Conceptual understanding comes first. How students are understanding the mathematics is often more important that what it is called. We can move too quickly to vocabulary.”

  1. Question: Why is it important to consider using learning progressions in mathematics to guide instructional decision-making? To guide students in choosing pathways for mathematics coursework?

Response from Doug Sovde, Director of K-12 Education Strategy, Policy, and Services, The Dana Center: “The learning progressions lay out how content builds over time. They don't, per se, describe what courses they should go into, and yet that's the bread and butter of high school mathematics!”

Previ PRC premium users can view the resources shared during previous town hall forums, along with a collection of high-quality professional learning resources. If you would like to join the PRC, visit this link. 

CenterPoint will host another online town hall on Tuesday, November 14th from 6-7 pm ET where we will discuss strategies for supporting English language learner (ELL) students in meeting college and career ready standards in English Language Arts. You can register to participate at Registration to the town hall forum is free, and all are welcome to attend.