Building Teacher Content Knowledge in Mathematics

SEDL works with educators at all levels to improve teaching and learning in math. We provide professional development, technical assistance, and resources to help educators deepen their content knowledge and adopt research-based practices. In addition, our research and evaluation team conducts studies of math programs to measure their effectiveness and expand our knowledge of how best to teach this core subject.

Success Story

"I LOVE the videos. I’ve never had this explained so clearly. I have been teaching for 11 years, have been leading math PD sessions for 5 years, and this has been a life changer. THANK YOU!!"— Brandy H., Kindergarten Teacher

Common Core State Standards Video Series for Math

A new SEDL video series is helping demystify the Common Core State Standards for mathematics. As states began to implement these standards, education leaders realized the need to provide math teachers with support on content they may not have covered before. In response to state requests for assistance, SEDL’s Southeast Comprehensive Center is collaborating with education leaders to develop this video series, which continues to expand. Each video explains one math standard, with a focus on grades K–8. Simple language clarifies the standard's meaning, and examples and illustrations deepen understanding. The short videos, ranging from 5 to 20 minutes, are available online free of charge. SECC states are using the videos in professional development sessions, and the response has been extremely positive, with the video website averaging more than 2,000 visits monthly. Read more

Significant Work

Southeast Comprehensive Center (SECC): The SECC works with the state education agencies of Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, and South Carolina to build their capacity to support districts and schools in meeting student achievement goals, including achievement in math Work varies by state.

Texas Comprehensive Center (TXCC): The TXCC works with the Texas Education Agency and the state’s 20 regional education service centers to build their capacity to support districts and schools in meeting student achievement goals, including achievement in math.

Everyday Mathematics® Randomized Controlled Trial: SEDL and the University of Wisconsin-Madison are conducting a national, large-scale randomized controlled trial assessing the effectiveness of McGraw-Hill Education’s Everyday Mathematics®, an elementary school math program. The study, which involves more than 40 schools across multiple districts, uses a multisite cluster randomized trial design to examine whether the program affects achievement outcomes for K–5 students over 2 school years and whether those outcomes vary significantly across students, schools, and districts.

Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Southwest: The REL Southwest assists the states of Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas in using data and research evidence to address high-priority education needs in the region. The project addresses early mathematics instruction through the Texas Hispanic STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) Research Alliance, which examines factors related to improving Hispanic student participation, achievement, and advancement in STEM courses and careers. The REL Southwest also hosts bridge events related to mathematics instruction.

Center for High-Performing Schools: Through our Center, SEDL builds the capacity of district and school leaders and educators to improve teaching and align curriculum, instruction, and assessment to national and state standards.

National Center for Quality Afterschool: This National Center at SEDL uses Web-based technology to provide research-based resources and professional development to help afterschool and expanded learning instructors develop high-quality, balanced programs. The National Center’s free online Afterschool Training Toolkit contains math resources, including sample lessons and videos.

Show More Work


Image of publication cover The Problem with Math Is English

This publication illustrates how students often understand fundamental mathematical concepts at a superficial level. Written to inspire aha moments, the book enables teachers to help students identify and comprehend the nuances and true meaning of math concepts by exploring them through the lenses of language and symbolism.

Image of publication cover SEDL Insights, Vol. 1, No. 4: Teaching Mathematics Conceptually

Mathematics instruction in the United States has historically focused on procedures, facts, and algorithms. Because of that focus, mathematics instruction, in essence, becomes lessons in arithmetic and efficiency. While there are promising changes occurring in mathematics instruction, we still need to help both teachers and students develop a more conceptual understanding of mathematics. This issue of SEDL Insights helps educators shift from helping students memorize rules to facilitating a deeper understanding of mathematics concepts.

Image of publication cover Common Core State Standards Video Series: Mathematics
The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) videos are designed to support states, schools, and teachers in the implementation of selected math standards. Each video is an audiovisual resource that focuses on one specific standard through examples and illustrations geared to enhancing understanding.
Image of publication cover Connecting Kids to Mathematics and Science
This nine-session professional development course provides teachers in grades 4–8 with hands-on experience in integrating mathematics, science, and technology in the classroom. The course is designed for use by an experienced trainer or facilitator and is available online free of charge.
Image of publication cover Mosaic: An Integrated Approach to Mathematics, Science, Technology, & Language
This K–5 supplemental instructional program provides lessons and resources that integrate math, science, and technology while supporting English learners and academic language skills. The program is available online free of charge.
Image of publication cover Texas Hispanic STEM Research Alliance: Data Inventory Overview

This document provides an overview of the Texas Hispanic STEM Data Inventory, which is in a separate Excel spreadsheet available upon request. The data inventory includes information about data collected by the Texas Education Agency, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, the U.S. Department of Education, and other organizations. 

Image of publication cover Teaching Math to Young Children: Introduction (Webinar)
This webinar provides an overview of the five evidence-based recommendations in the Teaching Math to Young Children practice guide, with a focus on Recommendation 4: Teach children to view and describe their world mathematically. Presenting is Sharon M. Carver, director of Carnegie Mellon's Children's School and one of the practice guide's panelists.
Image of publication cover Math in Afterschool: An Instructor's Guide to the Afterschool Training Toolkit
The seven promising practices in afterschool math identified in the Afterschool Training Toolkit are as follows: Finding Math; Math Centers; Math Games; Math Projects; Math Tools; Math Tutoring; Family Connections. When used with the Afterschool Training Toolkit, the lessons in this instructor’s guide will help you master these promising practices. Once you become proficient at these practices, you should be able to use them to develop other math lessons.
Image of publication cover Math in Afterschool: A Guide to Using the Afterschool Training Toolkit for Professional Development
The seven promising practices in afterschool for math identified in the Afterschool Training Toolkit are as follows: Finding Math ;Math Centers; Math Games; Math Projects; Math Tools; Math Tutoring; and Family Connections. By “promising” practices, we mean recommended methods that have been observed to increase student achievement. Each practice is built on youth development principles and research on effective mathematics instruction. At their core, the Afterschool Training Toolkit materials are designed to illustrate techniques and activities that leverage student curiosity to make mathematics in afterschool both enjoyable and relevant. This guide provides professional development ideas for each practice.
Image of publication cover SEDL Letter, Volume XV, Number 1 (Dec. 2003): Improving Achievement In Mathematics and Science
This issue of SEDL Letter examines issues related to improving math and science achievement, including the importance of providing a foundation in algebraic thinking well before high school.
Image of publication cover Research-Based Strategies for Teaching Social Studies, Science, and Mathematics to ELs at the Secondary Level: Texas Comprehensive Center Briefing Paper, Number 9
This article provides useful research-based information for educators and others seeking to support English learners (ELs) at the secondary level in social studies, science, and mathematics. The article may also prove helpful for those who would like to learn about factors that influence the educational achievement of this significant and growing number of students. Furthermore, the authors provide some general strategies used in English as a Second Language (ESL) programs to demonstrate the distinction between ESL and the content needs of ELs.
Image of publication cover Southeast Comprehensive Center eBulletin, Volume 3, Number 3: Final Report of National Mathematics Advisory Panel
Student effort matters! This is just one of the findings of the National Mathematics Advisory Panel in its 2008 report titled Foundations for Success—The Final Report of the National Mathematics Advisory Panel. This 120-page report addresses one central question: How can schools in the United States improve mathematics curriculum, instruction, assessment, teacher training and support so that all American students learn mathematics so that they can compete with students from other nations? In the report, the advisory panel discusses 45 findings and recommendations on key topics, such as instructional practices, materials, professional development, and assessments. The authors stress the importance of knowledgeable teachers, effective instruction, effective assessment, and the need for rigorous research in mathematics education.

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