Deborah Loewenberg Ball's research while affiliated with University of Michigan and other places

Publications (123)

Article
True reimaging of education requires us to first look back to understand why schools are the way they are, says Deborah Ball. She focuses specifically on the teaching profession and how it has become grounded in whiteness, leaving out the wisdom available among people of color. From this, she draws three lessons to take into the future: (1) The tea...
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Mathematics discussions are important for helping students to develop conceptual understanding and to learn disciplinary norms and practices. In recent years, there has been increased attention to teaching prospective teachers to lead discussions with students. This paper examines the possibilities of designing a formative assessment that gathers i...
Preprint
The proliferation of studies that focus on Black children in the last 20 years has been critical in nuancing the mathematical experiences of Black learners. While this research has provided evidence of the existence of successful Black learners of mathematics and established the different mechanisms that serve as barriers to their success, we know...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Measuring quality of instruction has been a primary concern of researchers since Winne (1987) and Schulman (1986) challenged the then existing methods of process-product research on teaching. Many frameworks for instructional analysis have been developed since then, and each of them projects different aspect of the work of teaching as the prominent...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Questions and questioning practices are central to teaching, yet we lack a common professional language to talk about them in practice or in professional education. This study used TIMSS study video records of practice from three countries to investigate patterns in question content and teacher-student interaction, as a means to identify the functi...
Article
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Although the field lacks a theoretically grounded, well-defined, and shared conception of mathematical knowledge required for teaching, there appears to be broad agreement that a specialized body of knowledge is vital to improvement. Further, such a construct serves as the foundation for different kinds of studies with different agendas. This artic...
Article
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In the context of the increased mathematical demands of the Common Core State Standards and data showing that many elementary school teachers lack strong mathematical knowledge for teaching, there is an urgent need to grow teachers' MKT. With this goal in mind, it is crucial to have research and assessment tools that are able to measure and track a...
Article
This article presents responses from four College of Education deans to a series of questions posed by the Penn State University Journal of Teacher Education (JTE) editorial team.
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This paper reports on an analysis of teachers' participation in the observation and collective examination of a laboratory class in which an experienced elementary teacher taught 30 rising fifth graders all morning every day for two weeks. The study on which the paper is based, called a laboratory class, probed how a group of practicing teachers pa...
Article
Critics have deplored the quality of U.S. mathematics education for over 50 years. Schemes to improve it disappoint in their outcomes. At the same time, much more is now known about the challenges of effective mathematics education and about what it takes to tackle them. The U.S. mathematics education community stands at a threshold where it could...
Article
Although recent years have seen an increase in professional learning communities, use of video and lesson study groups, most teachers still work and learn in isolation. What they know is personal and remains private; little opportunity exists for most teachers to develop shared knowledge or language. The scale of the teaching force, and the rapid t...
Chapter
Transforming mathematics instruction is an ambitious aim and requires careful attention to the interactions among teachers, students, and content in classrooms. The authors of this volume have, in a variety of ways, attended to this crucial dynamic, whether through a focus on professional learning, curricular innovation, or other levers to change t...
Chapter
This chapter describes the work of a longstanding collaboration between a research mathematician and a practicing teacher and education researcher. In addition to showcasing specific aspects of the joint work, and the ideas that have been produced, the chapter also examines the nature, challenges, and opportunities of this unusual cross-disciplinar...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Teacher questioning has long been considered central to a teacher’s instructional repertoire (Fitch, 1874; Stevens, 1912; Shavelson, 1973; Dillon, 1988). The purpose of this investigation is twofold: to begin to identify the types of questions used in mathematics classrooms and to explore the interaction between instructional decision-making and us...
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The amount of instruction students receive has long been viewed as a foundational educational resource. This article presents an analysis of the time students spend in elementary English language arts (ELA) and mathematics instruction. In mathematics, the average student received about 140 hr of instruction, but students in the top sixth of classro...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This study investigates mathematics teachers' learning in a professional development environment called Elementary Mathematics Laboratory (EML). We present how teachers' participation varies in different settings designed for professional development. In the EML, teachers observe and participate in discussions about a grade 5 mathematics class and...
Article
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This research is conducted in the context of a large-scale study of three nationally disseminated comprehensive school reform projects (CSRs) and examines how school- and classroom-level factors contribute to variation in instructional time in English language arts and mathematics. When using mean-based OLS regression techniques such as Hierarchica...
Article
Background/Context: Discussion is central to mathematics teaching and learning as well as to mathematics as an academic discipline. Studies have shown that facilitating discussions is complex work that is not easily done or learned. To make such complex aspects of the work of teaching learnable by beginners, recent research has focused on approache...
Article
Several studies have documented prospective teachers’ (PSTs) difficulties in offering instructional explanations. However, less is known about PSTs’ learning to provide explanations. To address this gap, we trace changes in the explanations offered by a purposeful sample of PSTs before and after a mathematics content/methods course sequence. Consis...
Article
Contemporary reforms in the US urge deep changes in mathematics teaching and learning and yet classroom practice continues, in many places, to be as conventional as ever. This paper examines how one mid-sized urban district marshalled resources for instruction in mathematics. We appraise the resources afforded by the district to mathematics and off...
Article
Effectively helping others learn is demanding work that necessitates sensibility as well as specialized knowledge and skill.
Article
Allowing teachers to learn at children's expense is unethical. We must build a system for ensuring that new teachers have the requisite professional skills and know how to use them.
Article
Reprinted with permission from the Fall 2005 issue of American Educator, the quarterly journal of the American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO.
Article
In this article, the authors argue for making practice the core of teachers' professional preparation. They set the argument for teaching practice against the contemporary backdrop of a teacher education curriculum that is often centered not on the tasks and activities of teaching but on beliefs and knowledge, on orientations and commitments, and a...
Chapter
This Study brought together 147 scholars and practitioners from 35 countries to discuss the professional formation of teachers of mathematics. Their individual contributions have been assembled to create a volume filled with descriptions of programs and projects, as well as concepts and data. Readers interested in the development of teachers of mat...
Chapter
The focus of the 15th Study, led by the International Commission on Mathematical Instruction (ICMI), was the professional education and development of mathematics teachers around the world. The study was designed to investigate practices and programs of mathematics teacher education in different countries and to contribute to an international disco...
Article
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While teacher content knowledge is crucially important to the improvement of teaching and learning, attention to its development and study has been uneven. Historically, researchers have focused on many aspects of teaching, but more often than not scant attention has been given to how teachers need to understand the subjects they teach. Further, wh...
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This study illuminates claims that teachers' mathematical knowledge plays an important role in their teaching of this subject matter. In particular, we focus on teachers' mathematical knowledge for teaching (MKT), which includes both the mathematical knowledge that is common to individuals working in diverse professions and the mathematical knowled...
Article
There is widespread agreement that effective teachers have unique knowledge of students' mathematical ideas and thinking. However, few scholars have focused on conceptualizing this domain, and even fewer have focused on measuring this knowledge. In this article, we describe an effort to conceptualize and develop measures of teachers' combined knowl...
Article
This article describes a study in which measures of mathematical knowledge for teaching developed in the United States were adapted to measure mathematical knowledge for teaching in Ireland. When adapting the measures it was not assumed that the mathematical knowledge used by Irish and U.S. teachers is the same. Instead psychometric and interview-b...
Article
Education research is plagued by skeptics who doubt its quality and relevance. Inhabitants of schools of education have been among the sharpest critics, and internal battles rage over method and rigor. Yet often lacking is research that explains causes or examines the interplay at the heart of educational practice and policy. This article argues fo...
Article
This paper provides a summary of the authors' attempts to uncover links between their measures, classroom mathematics instruction, and student learning. This paper also provides evidence regarding one central critique of their measures: that multiple-choice assessments cannot validly represent the knowledge, skills, and judgment involved in actual...
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This paper reports a survey of research in mathematics teacher education from 1999 to 2003 done by an international team of five mathematics educators and researchers. The survey included published research in international mathematics education journals, international handbooks of mathematics education and international mathematics education confe...
Article
This study explored whether and how teachers' mathematical knowledge for teaching contributes to gains in students' mathematics achievement. The authors used a linear mixed-model methodology in which first and third graders' mathematical achievement gains over a year were nested within teachers, who in turn were nested within schools. They found th...
Article
Widespread agreement exists that U.S. teachers need improved mathematics knowledge for teaching. Over the past decade, policymakers have funded a range of professional development efforts designed to address this need. However, there has been little success in determining whether and when teachers develop mathematical knowledge from professional de...
Article
In this article we discuss efforts to design and empirically test measures of teachers' content knowledge for teaching elementary mathematics. We begin by reviewing the literature on teacher knowledge, noting how scholars have organized such knowledge. Next we describe survey items we wrote to represent knowledge for teaching mathematics and result...
Article
Our discussions of the plenary lectures, and of the short presentations, as well as our continued probing of the group’s core questions led to a greater appreciation of the following: 1. Some contemporary researchers are designing projects that aim to develop both knowledge and practice. This is different from developing theory and then “putting...
Article
In this chapter we consider what it takes to learn to conduct research in mathematics education. We argue that learning any complex practice requires opportunities to unpack its components in order to see what underlies competence performance. Many of the components of successful research remain implicit and are left to new researchers to glean fro...
Article
Subject matter and pedagogy have been peculiarly and persistently divided in the conceptualization and curriculum of teacher education and learning to teach. This fragmentation of practice leaves teachers on their own with the challenge of integrating subject matter knowledge and pedagogy in the contexts of their work. Yet, being able to do this is...
Article
Since World War II, efforts to improve schools have numbered in the thousands. Most efforts have concentrated on improving the curriculum materials used in schools or on "training" teachers in new instructional methods. Many of these efforts have gone under the banner of "building instructional capacity," a term that for decades has been featured p...
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This paper discusses the initial development and testing of a Web-based instrument for collecting daily data on instruction. This teacher log was developed for use in the Study of Instructional Improvement, a longitudinal study on school improvement in high poverty areas. The researchers wanted to further develop the potential of teacher logs by ex...
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In this report, Ball and Darling-Hammond discuss the relationship between teacher knowledge and student performance; they summarize what the research suggest about what kinds of teacher education and professional development teachers need in order to learn how ot teach to high standards; and they describe what states are doing to provide these oppo...
Article
This book describes efforts to develop an approach to teaching and teacher education that is deeply rooted in the study of practice. Drawing on video, graphic, and textual records of a year's worth of mathematics lessons in two elementary classrooms, research was conducted on curriculum and instruction, children's learning, and the culture of the c...
Chapter
No task is more fundamental to teaching than figuring out what students are learning. Paradoxically, no endeavour is more difficult. In his well-known sociological analysis of teachers and teaching, Lortie (1975) found that questions about the assessment of student learning evoked significant emotional response from teachers. Although the teachers...
Article
In this article we describe the curricular standards that currently concern teachers and teacher educators alike. We propose that these reforms pose 3 significant challenges for teacher educators. First, the reforms are based on changing images of good teaching. Second, the teaching that lies at the heart of the reforms is undetermined and uncertai...
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In this article we examine the relationship between teaching as a knowledge endeavor and teaching as a moral enterprise, using episodes from our own elementary school teaching as sites for our analysis. One episode concerns the teaching of social studies, the second the teaching of mathematics. We first describe the episodes themselves, highlightin...
Article
Proposed educational reforms of instruction and the curriculum are briefly examined, and ways that research and practice can be better coordinated are discussed. Experiences in grade three mathematics instruction are shared to illustrate how blurring the boundaries between teaching and research might enhance both endeavors. (SW)
Article
Teacher education courses that deliver knowledge about how to change mathematics teaching to prospective teachers are ineffective in challenging their traditional ideas about how to teach. There are few models of good practice for novices to observe and examine. By making multiple images of innovative teaching and learning available for study, hype...
Article
My task in this paper is to try to frame a set of issues around teacher learning in relation to teaching mathematics. The problem is to take stock of what we know in ways that might help us respond to the Congressional mandate to "reach" many more teachers as they "implement" reform. But the NCTM Standards documents are far from a program to be imp...
Article
Ideas like "understanding," "authenticity," and "community" are central in current debates about curriculum, instruction, and assessment. Many believe that teaching and learning would be improved if classrooms were organized to engage students in authentic tasks, guided by teachers with deep disciplinary understandings. Students would conjecture, e...
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The authors analyze how the staff of Summer Math for Teachers and the Writing Project, two inservice programs designed to help elementary school teachers develop constructivist teaching practices, construed the programs' subject matter and the role that subject matter knowledge was assigned relative to other kinds of knowledge and skill in helping...
Article
Despite its title, the Professional Standards for Teaching Mathematics (NCTM 1991) should not be read as a set of prescriptions about how to teach. The document will not deliver on such expectations, not because it fails but because no document can prescribe good teaching. No set of standards can be expected to stipulate what teachers should do. Th...
Article
In March of this year, NCTM published the Professional Standards for Teaching Mathematics ( Professional Teaching Standards ) (1991), a companion to the earlier Curriculum and Evaluation Standards for School Mathematics ( Curriculum and Evaluation Standards ) (1989). Whereas the earlier document focuses on curriculum, the new document addresses tea...
Article
The research reported in the cases suggests that California's new policy has affected instructional practice. Many teachers have tried to change their mathematics teaching, and some have made significant changes. But practice also has had a profound influence on the new policy. The teachers in the cases did not simply assimilate new texts and curri...
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This article presents a case of Carol, an accomplished second grade teacher who was disposed to teach in ways that seem consistent with the California Mathematics Curriculum Framework. Her approach-grounded in her conceptions of mathematics and her notions about how children learn mathematics—seemed, however, to have been virtually untouched by the...
Article
Policymakers in the U. S. have been trying to change schools and school practices for years. Though studies of such policies raise doubts about their effects, the last decade has seen an unprecedented increase in state policies designed to change instructional practice. One of the boldest and most comprehensive of these has been undertaken in Calif...
Article
This article reports an analysis of 19 prospective elementary and secondary teachers' understanding of division. Interview questions probed the prospective teachers' understanding of division in three contexts. Although many of the teacher candidates could produce correct answers, several could not, and few were able to give mathematical explanatio...
Article
This article reports an analysis of 19 prospective elementary and secondary teachers' understanding of division. Interview questions probed the prospective teachers' understanding of division in three contexts. Although many of the teacher candidates could produce correct answers, several could not, and few were able to give mathematical explanatio...
Article
Much educational discourse centers on the importance of teachers' subject matter knowledge. Complementing concerns for subject matter knowledge is interest in developing and studying alternative pedagogies that emphasize active learning and meaningful engagement. Teaching and learning would be improved, so the argument goes, if classrooms were orga...
Article
This paper compares the mathematical understandings and pedagogical content knowledge of beginning teachers entering teaching through an alternate route program with those entering from three standard teacher education programs. The analysis challenges two common assumptions about becoming a secondary school mathematics teacher: (1) that people who...
Article
examines the territory of practice [of teaching mathematics] and reviews some of what we know about those who traverse it—prospective and experienced elementary teachers / focuses on one major aspect of teacher thinking in helping students learn about fractions: the construction of instructional representations / considerations entailed are analyze...