January 2014

Success in Norfolk – Preliminary Data Confirms Program’s Effectiveness

After just one year of program implementation, Norfolk Public Schools participating in the federally funded PowerTeachingi3 initiative had over three times the state average in student math achievement as measured by the Virginia SOL State Assessment.

PowerTeaching is a comprehensive middle grades math framework that is based on the latest standards for Mathematics and Cooperative Learning. By connecting curricula standards to a research-proven instructional process, PowerTeaching promotes rigor through student engagement. This approach leads to increased achievement as demonstrated throughout 25 years of research at Johns Hopkins University.

Across all grades and math subjects (Grade 6 through Geometry), schools implementing the model in Norfolk, VA had a 2.1% increase in average SOL scores—three times the average statewide increase of 0.7%. Results were even better for more difficult courses: schools implementing the model had a 4.0% increase in Algebra and a 2.6% increase in Geometry, versus a 0.5% increase and a -0.6% decrease statewide.

The PowerTeaching framework has been shown to be effective in over a dozen randomized experiments since its initial development at Johns Hopkins University by Dr. Robert Slavin. It uses an approach to instruction that emphasizes teamwork, individual accountability, and equal opportunities for success, and engages students in collaboratively solving challenging math problems.

Fully-funded to schools by a $24 million grant awarded by the USDOE, PowerTeaching was adopted by four of the six middle schools in Norfolk, VA in the 2012-13 school year. The framework included an interactive curriculum for math in grades 6-8 and Algebra 1, embedded media, and blended face-to-face and online support for professional development designed to support districts, schools, and teachers as they prepare their students for the 21st Century.

In addition to the school level success, subpopulations of students in the participating schools outgained their peers across the state: +1.8% versus +1.0% for economically disadvantaged students, +2.3% versus +0.4% for students with disabilities, and +6.0% versus -0.4% for students with limited English proficiency. These gains were achieved during the first year of implementation, and it usually takes at least two to three years for teachers to truly master a new approach to instruction.

PowerTeaching is supported via a partnership between Old Dominion University, Johns Hopkins University, and Success for All Foundation. For more information about the program, or to learn about fully-funded opportunities that are currently available, contact Paul D. Miller at 410-616-2357 or visit www.sfapowerteaching.org.

The Center for Educational Partnerships
Darden College of Education
Old Dominion University
PH: 757-683-5449
FX: 757-683-5716