Ruth Huovinen

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Teaching & Learning


Mathematics instruction is undergoing an evolution in the United States. The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) advocates a change from the previous emphasis on computational skills to a greater emphasis on problem solving. The pre-service training most teachers completed did not include extensive exposure to strategies of this type. For that reason, school districts may choose to utilize staff development programs to assist teachers in acquiring these new strategies. This study examined one such staff development program, Developing Mathematical Ideas (DMI), and its effects on the mathematics achievement scores of the fourth grade students in a school district. This study examined the students' mathematics achievement scores to identify changes that might have occurred as a result of the staff development.

The study examined data from the Comprehensive Tests of Basic Skills (CTBS) mathematics achievement scores of 16 elementary schools for each year from 1999 to 2002. There were approximately 800 students included in the assessments in each of those years. Schools having 50% or more of their staff involved in the training sessions were identified as schools with trained teachers. In addition, scores of low socioeconomic schools, schools with more than 25% of the students receiving free and reduced lunch, were studied to discover any significant changes in their scores after the staff development sessions. Because the composite mathematics scores might not reflect changes in specific skill areas affected by the staff development, the eight subscores on the mathematics assessment were examined separately.

Although the composite mathematics scores for the district as a whole improved from 1999 to 2002, results indicated that the comparison of the composite mathematics scores for schools with trained and untrained teachers did not show a significant difference. The mathematics scores for the low socioeconomic schools also did not indicate a significant difference. Five subtest sections increased during that time, but, again, the subscores of the schools with trained teachers were not significantly different than the schools with untrained teachers.