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Heather Hill studies policies and programs designed to improve teacher and teaching quality. Her recent research focuses on teacher professional development; instructional coaching; teacher evaluation; changes over time in teachers’ mathematical knowledge and instructional quality in mathematics; and the teacher experiences and characteristics that lead to high-quality instruction and stronger student outcomes. Hill and her team have developed assessments that capture teachers’ mathematical knowledge for teaching and teachers’ mathematical quality of instruction, assessments now widely available to researchers, instructional coaches, evaluators, and policy-makers via online training and administration systems. Hill is a fellow of the American Educational Research Association (AERA), serves on the editorial boards of several journals, and is an advisor to numerous research projects and policy efforts in both the U.S. and abroad. She is co-author of Learning Policy: When State Education Reform Works (2001) with David K. Cohen.
Click here to see a full list of Heather Hill's courses.
Overview. Over the past decade, scholars have developed promising new practices for STEM teacher education. These new practices, however, have not been accompanied by advances toward more rigorous evaluative research, leaving practitioners and policymakers with little evidence to assess the promise of these new approaches. We trace this problem to three underlying factors. The first relates to teacher educations most prevalent research designs, which generally do not feature comparisons that enable the identification of causal impacts. Second, very few studies assess teaching outcomes that result from the piloted approach or program, perhaps because very few standardized measures of K-12 STEM teacher skills exist. Finally, there is little social and informational infrastructure, so to speak, from which teacher educators can draw to improve their research practice. These three issues current research norms, a lack of standardized measures of skills and practice, and poor infrastructure for improvement prevent the field from identifying, improving, and scaling innovative approaches effectively.
This study describes an assessment strand late-stage design project that focuses on improving existing measures of teachers mathematical knowledge for teaching. Original measure development, which occurred at the University of Michigan during the period 2002-2010, had several goals: to identify the knowledge useful to teachers work with students and to explore the possibility that this knowledge is unique to teaching; to provide a set of measurement instruments that could be used in research on teachers knowledge; and to provide evaluators with an easy-to-use online administration and scoring system. These efforts resulted in widely disseminated instruments, numerous academic papers, and theoretical progress regarding the mathematical knowledge teachers use in their work.
We now seek to update these measures. One reason is their wide use: anecdotal evidence suggests that up to 25% of our target teacher population may have taken a version of these instruments in pre-service training or in-service professional development. To respond to this issue, we will create over 300 items and 10 new sets of parallel forms in the most frequently tested grades and topics. Another reason to update the measures relates to new mathematics content and practice standards; a review of existing forms suggests we could better align our item pools to this key instructional guidance. We also seek to respond to a variety of user requests, and to also make our online delivery system, the Teacher Knowledge Assessment System (TKAS), more flexible in both the item formats it can accommodate and in responding to additional form updates.