Mathematics Learning Community (MLC)


MTEL DiversityMLC Program Selected for National Evaluation

After a national vetting of math professional development programs, the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) selected the Mathematics Learning
Community program and the Intel Math course for a national evaluation. The evaluation team to perform this study will be selected by a competitive Request for Proposal (RFP). Six states will be involved with the goal of identifying the improvements in math teaching and student math achievement with the use of these two professional development programs in conjunction with one another. The RSRC will provide the MLC Facilitator Training to the cohorts of the study. 

Massachusetts was the pilot state for both of these aligned programs with funding from the MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, Intel Foundation and the Noyce Foundation. In MA, 83 districts have downloaded the MLC materials for use in professional development. Now districts in over 15 states, six colleges and several state education departments in addition to the Department of Defense schools are using the MLC curriculum materials.

About the MLC 

growing consensus in the research points to the need for coordinated, classroom- and content-focused professional development that links challenging learning standards and curriculum to solve the specific problems hindering the advancement of students of mathematics (Bransford et.al., 2000; Olson, 2002, Smith, 2001, Hill and Cohen, 2000, Whitehurst, 2002; Wiley and Yoon, 1995; Kennedy, 1998; NRC Mathematics Learning Study Committee, 2000; DuFour, 1998).  The Regional Science Resource Center (RSRC) has developed Mathematics Learning Community (MLC) professional development curriculum materials to help teachers and schools make these critical connections. 

These materials provide the structure, content and training to facilitate school-based discussions about how students understand, express and think about mathematics.  Three modules of the MLC materials allow teachers to probe student thinking about proportional reasoning, data analysis, number sense and pre-algebra by learning how to examine student work with a diagnostic eye followed by meaningful collegial conversations. 

The protocols, student work and guiding questions allow groups of teachers to uncover and explore collaboratively how students think and learn about specific mathematics concepts.  With this deeper understanding of how students perceive and apply a concept, teachers are better able to further develop students' understanding in a classroom setting.

MLC Materials Available Online 

The Regional Science Resource Center, in partnership with the MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, has developed Mathematics Learning Community (MLC) curriculum materials which are available online to download for free. These materials are designed to help schools and districts implement MLCs by providing both the structure and the math content to facilitate school-based discussions about how students understand, express and think about mathematics. 
Using these materials, schools or districts can implement MLCs in order to make more productive use of common teacher planning time. MLCs allow groups of teachers time to uncover and explore how students think and learn about specific mathematical concepts. With this deeper understanding of how students perceive and apply a concept, teachers are better able to further develop students' understanding in a classroom setting. 
To view and download the MLC Materials online, visit:http://www.doe.mass.edu/omste/instructional.html
 (The MLC sessions are at the bottom of the web page.)

Narrated Powerpoint of the MLC Facilitator's Training

http://www.doe.mass.edu/sda/regional/courses/?section=MLC

 "Developing Mathematics Learning Communities Focusing on Student Work"

Presented by Dona Apple and Wendy Cleaves at the NCTM Regional Conference, Baltimore Maryland on October 14, 2010

Mathematics learning communities use students' work as a means to connect professional development to the classroom. The communities stimulate authentic discussions about how students learn mathematics, with the goal of improving students' understanding of mathematics.

Click here to view this presentation.


For more information about the Mathematics Learning Community professional development materials and the process of implementing them, please contact Wendy Cleaves at 508-856-5348 or wendy.cleaves@umassmed.edu