A Case Study of the Adoption of an Innovative Mathematical Teaching Practice (Using Anchoring Contextualized Problems) by a Small Group of Algebra II Teachers: A Diffusion of Innovation Analysis




Rankin, Bradley David

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This study explores how cognitively demanding tasks administered prior to units of study (Anchored Contextualizing Problems - ACPs) impact the concerns and perspectives of high school, Algebra II teachers towards Standards-based approaches to teaching mathematics. Participants were observed prior to the study in order to gauge their teaching styles as traditional or reform-oriented. After receiving the first ACP, the participants completed a survey to determine their thoughts, opinions, and interest in the ACP. A professional development (professional development) on the first ACP was conducted and the survey was administered again. The participants were individually interviewed to more individually gauge their perspectives on ACPs and Standards-based approaches. After the participants administered the first ACP to their students, they reconvened as a group to discuss their thoughts and opinions on the administration and to learn about the second ACP. Prior to administering the second ACP to their students, the participants completed the survey a final time. The participants all met again after the administration of the second ACP for a final group discussion. Finally, a second round of individual interviews was conducted to gauge changes in the participants' concerns and perspectives towards ACPs. Results indicate that the participants adopted the ACPs for the following reasons: (a) They were directly related to the skills covered in the units of study for which the ACPs were created; (b) they served as referencing tools when introducing a topic in a unit of study; and (c) they helped fulfill the participants' desires to incorporate deeper meaning, reflective of NCTM's Process Standards (2000), into their teaching practices. This study will also relate Rogers' (2003) theory on diffusion of innovations to the methods used in this study as a means of introducing ways for diffusing other educational innovations to educators.



Mathematics education, Education, Algebra II, Anchoring contextualized problems, Diffusion of Innovation, Education, Mathematics, Teacher