Harvard Brings Professional Development to Teachers in St. Vrain

This summer 34 St. Vrain elementary through high school math teachers attended a four day Mathematical Quality of Instruction Training. (MQI)

Developed by Harvard University Center for Education Policy Research, the MQI is a Common Core-aligned observational rubric that provides a framework for analyzing mathematics instruction.

“The MQI helps us determine if the teacher or the student is doing the work and if it is good work to be doing,” said Professional Development Coordinator, David Baker.

MQI Coaching requires teachers to work together to analyze how they can improve the quality of instruction.

The coaching cycle begins with a teacher filming their mathematical lesson and sharing it with their coach. The teacher also identifies a goal or target based upon their instruction. This provides their coach with an area of focus for feedback and video reflection.

Coaches then identify two short clips from the teacher’s lesson and select a video from the MQI video library.

“Having one or two specific things to focus on is always helpful,” said fifth grade teacher Kelly Addington.

The teacher will watch all three videos and analyze them using the MQI Rubric.

The MQI rubric outlines qualities that determine if a lesson’s quality of instruction is not present, low, mid, or high.

“When I am planning a lesson the rubrics help guide me in giving students the most opportunity to make connections,” Addington said.

Using an Describe, Elevate, Next Steps protocol, teacher and coach come together to talk about goals and develop a plan for improvement. This process of describing the learning in terms of the goal, followed by exploring possible ways to elevate instruction and learning around the goal and defining next steps drives the coaching cycle. The MQI Coaching allows math teams at all levels to work together to improve their quality of instruction.

“Research has shown that if we get both students and teachers in the high MQI category the most long term success occurs,” Baker said.

The ultimate goal of the program is to give students more of a voice in the classroom. It encourages teachers to push their students to make connections and learn how to communicate them.

“Teachers always want to get better, and this program will improve the way our students understand math,” Addington said.