EnCoMPASS (Emerging Communities for Mathematical Practices and Assessment) seeks to enhance the ability of teachers to provide Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education through improved assessment of and feedback on student work. The project is developing an innovative integrated system of professional development, educational materials, and an online community grounded in the practice of formative assessment.
EnCoMPASS focuses on the development of an online professional teaching community where educators develop their content knowledge and become more effective at supporting the mathematical development of individual students. The project uses a design research methodology that begins with conjectures about the importance of:
- participant engagement through meaningful professional development that focuses on analyzing, organizing, and supporting student thinking;
- providing support and resources to develop interactive rubrics and associated learner feedback and connecting these activities with previous professional development; and
- supporting the emergence of a user community centered on the Enhanced Rubric feature of the Problems of the Week.
Through EnCoMPASS we test and revise particular aspects of these initial design conjectures and use this setting to study:
- the emergence of a professional community, as evidenced by the development of shared goals and normative practices and participants’ movement from peripheral participation to more central roles in the community;
- teacher development, documented by increases in mathematical knowledge for teaching; quality of instruction; integration of rubric-based assessment of students’ mathematical practices into classroom instruction; and overall shifts in the focus of assessment and its role in instruction; and
- student learning, as evidenced by both rubric data documenting students’ knowledge of mathematical content, process, and practices, and the nature and extent of student-teacher interactions and students’ revisions.
Professional development and the development of educational materials are key components to this study. The EnCoMPASS project will be providing extensive professional development for 75 fellows who have been recruited from Drexel’s partner school districts and the broader Math Forum community, both of which include significant proportions of underrepresented minorities.
The project is having significant impact, both regionally and nationally. In addition to directly involving hundreds of teachers and thousands of students, both the online community and educational resources developed to enhance the likelihood of sustainability. Ultimately, the project will become an additional Math Forum Service and community, potentially impacting the millions of individuals that visit per month as well as provide a resource for other researchers and educational programs.