An evaluation of the challenge model of professional development : developing the adaptive expert for the mathematics classroom



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Recent research on teachers’ achievement goals suggests that the teacher with a mastery goal is more likely to retain a high degree of interest in teaching, more willing to seek help with their teaching, and less likely to report professional ‘burnout.’ Section one of this study extends this line of research by testing the hypothesis that teachers with mastery goals toward teaching are more likely to display the traits of the adaptive expert.

Achievement goals and adaptive expertise are measured for a sample of secondary school mathematics teachers who have attained National Board Teacher Certification. A multiple regression model is used with score on the adaptive expertise measure as the dependent variable and four independent variables. The second part of this study proposes the development and evaluation of a challenge-based model of professional development. The Legacy Cycle has been used extensively to teach transfer and adaptive expertise to college students. It has not been used, however, in the professional development of teachers. A professional development program using the Legacy Cycle for teaching high school Algebra teachers how to implement a new conceptually-based Algebra 1 curriculum is proposed. Its accompanying evaluation plan will enable further exploration of the role teacher goal orientation and school climate play in a teacher’s willingness and ability to innovate; and if having an adaptive expert in the classroom can improve student learning.