Taking the Measure of Math Class: Comparing Measures of Teaching in Undergraduate Mathematics Courses

Principal Investigator: Sandra Laursen | | University of Colorado at Boulder


Professional development is crucial to encourage college instructors of mathematics and science to take up research-based teaching approaches that are known to enhance student success and persistence, and to provide instructors with the skills needed to apply these approaches effectively in their own settings. Yet few studies in higher education demonstrate whether and how professional development changes instructors’ teaching—in part due to a lack of valid and reliable methods for measuring college teaching practices. Dr. Laursen and colleagues seek to improve methods for documenting changes to teaching practice in college mathematics classrooms. This pilot study will test the reliability of instructor surveys, student surveys, classroom observations and course artifacts as methods for tracking instructional change. By comparing the picture of instruction painted by each of these methods, the study seeks to identify which methods, alone or together, are both accurate and practical for studying instructor change as a result of professional development, and under what conditions. The study sample is drawn from Project NExT, a well-established professional development program for early-career instructors in mathematics. Mathematics is chosen as a crucial discipline that acts as a gateway and a barrier to undergraduates completing general education requirements and pursuing degrees in natural and social science.,

Grant Type:

Small Grant

Grant Amount:




Research Area:

Teaching, Learning, and Instructional Resources

Topic / Subject:

Methodology, Teaching/Pedagogical Studies, Higher Education

Methods / Approach:

Other - Qualitative, Survey/Questionnaire, Observational research

Disciplinary Perspective:

Math, Education