September 2012

This collaborative work involves Drexel University and Temple University where they are developing an online, professional teaching community that is addressing issues of assessment in mathematics classes. The developers are building on the success of the NSF-supported Math Forum's Problem of the Week program to create a community that is working to increase students' mathematics learning by helping teachers stimulate student thinking, assess that thinking, and provide useful feedback to students. The teachers are working together to create rubrics for assessing the progress of students as they solve challenging mathematics problems. The program is structured so that the teachers are learning mathematics and assessment strategies in addition to establishing a research-based model for online, professional communities.

Researchers are studying how specific activities (e.g., discourse, active participation, use of rubrics, feedback, and reflection) and an online community support teachers' engagement in authentic and generative assessment. Researchers are using ethnographic methods to understand the development of the community, and conducting focus groups and individual interviews to determine the impact of participation in the community on mathematics teachers. In addition, they are collecting data through discourse analysis, student work analysis, and rubric analysis to determine the optimal design of the products. The intentional structure of the online community builds on research findings on creating professional communities and research on assessing mathematics learning.

Online professional teaching communities offer new venues for communication, professional development, and shared work among mathematics teachers. The Math Forum provides an optimal, online context for expanding the popular Problem of the Week into a productive discussion of assessment of problem solving, the building of specific rubrics, and the related reflection on how to encourage student thinking. This collaborative work will offer rubrics for assessing mathematical problem solving, a new model for online professional development, and extensive information on building an online mathematics community.

Lead Organization: Drexel University:

Principal Investigator: Jason Silverman

Co-Principal Investigator: Stephen Weimar

Co-Principal Investigator: Wesley Shumar

Co-Principal Investigator: Marie Hope Yursa

Professional and Content Development: Annie Fetter


Drexel University 

Temple University

Funding Source: National Science Foundation (NSF)

  • Start Date: February 1, 2018

  • Duration: 6 Years

  • Total Award: $2,390,710.00

  • Fiscal Agent: Drexel University


The project will create a system of online mathematics teacher professional development modules for middle and high school teachers. Teachers will engage in online, asynchronous, high-quality mathematics learning experiences that mirror research-based productive classroom practices and models of instruction that feature active learning and student collaboration, explanation and discussion. The modules will integrate mathematics content and teaching strategies for teachers. The teachers will work collaboratively using math tasks, their own students' work, and other resources to develop teaching practices to support mathematical problem solving. Developing online environments for teacher development is critical to reaching greater numbers of teachers, providing flexible options for learning, and taking advantage of online opportunities for collaborative learning. In particular, the software will allow teachers to share, comment and discuss mathematical work.

The field of mathematics education needs to understand the development and implementation of online learning modules for mathematics teacher development. This project will create an environment that integrates content and pedagogical knowledge via mathematics-focused modules. The project builds on the Online Asynchronous Collaboration in Mathematics Teacher Education model to create the modules. The project's research questions are about the how the teachers build mathematics knowledge for teaching together online. They also examine teacher reflection on students' mathematical works, teacher collaboration, and reciprocal perspective-taking. Finally, the research examines how shifts in instruction are supported as teachers are learning new practices in the modules. The implementation study will use data such as measures of teacher knowledge, questionnaires, artifacts from the online platform, interviews, and other sources. These will be analyzed using a mixed methods approach to understand teachers' learning, collaboration and use of the modules and to refine the modules themselves. The findings of the study should inform the design of online learning experiences for mathematics teachers, new models for teacher development, and understanding of secondary mathematics teacher knowledge and practice.

Lead Organization: Drexel University

Principal Investigator: Jason Silverman

Co-Principal Investigator: Wesley Shumar

Co-Principal Investigator: Valerie Klein

Co-Principal Investigator: Anthony Matranga

21PSTEM Subcontract:

Co-Principal Investigator: Stephen Weimar

Professional and Content Development: Annie Fetter

Software Development: Crispina Muriel


Drexel University

California State University San Marcos

Funding Source: National Science Foundation (NSF)

  • Start Date: August 1, 2020

  • Duration: 4 Years

  • 21PSTEM Subcontract: $847,220

  • Fiscal Agent: Drexel University


Fukawa-Connelly, T. & Silverman, J. "The development of mathematical argumentation in an unmoderated asynchronous multi-user dynamic geometry environment," CITE Journal: Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education., 2016.

Matranga, A., Koku, E., & Silverman, J.. "Enhancing Teacher Professional Development and Community Cultivation with Social Network Analysis.," Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association. April 8-12, 2016. Washington DC., 2016.

Matranga, A., Silverman, J., Klein, V., & Shumar, W.. "Understanding teachers' participation in an emerging online community of practice," Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the North American Chapter of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education, November 3-6, 2016. Tuscon, AZ: PME-NA., 2016.

Powell, A., Silverman, J., & Weimar, S.. "Teachers Extending Their Knowledge in Online Collaborative Learning Environments: Opportunities and Challenges.," Presentation at the 2016 DR K-12 PI Meeting. June 1-3, 2016. Washington, DC, 2016.

Ray-Riek, M.. "Practicing the Five Practices.," Presentation at the California Mathematics Council - North (CMC -North). December, 2015, Pacific Grove, CA., 2015.

Ray-Riek, M.. "Practicing the Five Practices: Coaching Teachers to Use Student Work in Planning.," Presentation at the Network, Communicate, Support, Motivate conference (NCSM). April, 2016. San Francisco, CA., 2016.

Ray-Riek, M.. "Valuing Ourselves and Each Other: Online Communities for Professional Growth.," Paper presented at the annual meeting of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. April 13-15, 2016. San Francisco, CA., 2016.

Shumar, W., Klein, V., Silverman, J., Matranga, A., Brandt, C.. "Technologically Mediated Noticing and Wondering @ The Math Forum.," Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Washington, DC, April 2016., 2016.

Silverman, J. & Dean, C.O.. "Documenting collective development in online settings.," Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education., 2016.

Fukawa-Connelly, T. Klein, V. Silverman, J.. "Improving feedback through online professional development," The Mathematics Teacher, v.110, 2016.

Brandt, C. Shumar, W.. "Cultural process and discourse practices in an online mathematics professional learning community," Oxford Ethnography and Education Conference, 2016.

Klein, V Silverman, J Matranga, A. "Improving Feedback to Students through Online Professional Development," Annual Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators Conference, 2017.

Klein, V., Fukawa-Connelly, T., Silverman, J., Shumar, W.. "Supporting the Development of Pedagogical Practices through Online Professional Development," The Mathematics Teacher Educator, 2017.

Matranga, A. Silverman, J. Koku, E. Klein, V.. "Enhancing teacher professional development and community cultivation through brokers and bridging communities," Journal of Technology in Teacher Education, 2017.

Matranga, A.. "Mathematics Teacher Professional Development with a Boundary Object," Annual Meeting for the American Educational Research Association, 2017.

Matranga, A., & Sebastian, M.. "(accepted). Grouping typologies for supporting productive engagement in mathematics teacher professional development.," Annual Meeting for the American Educational Research Association, 2017.

Matranga, A., Sebastian, M., Klein, V., Silverman, J., & Shumar, W.. "Leveraging grouping typologies towards cultivating a community of mathematics teachers.," Annual Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators Conference, 2017.

Silverman, J.. "Supporting Teachers? Understandings of Function through Online Professional Development.," Journal of Computers in Mathematics and Science Teaching., v.36, 2017.

Tim Fukawa-Connelly, Valerie Klein, Jason Silverman, & Wesley Shumar.. "An Online Professional Development Model to Support Teachers' Ability to Examine Student Work and Thinking.," Mathematics Teacher Educator, v.6, 2018.

Matranga, A., & Silverman, J.. "Scaffolding Generative Feedback with Technology in Online Professional Development.," Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the North American Chapter of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education, October 5-8, 2017. Indiana, 2017.

Klein, V. Silverman, J.. "EnCoMPASS: Using technology to creatively disrupt normative practice.," Annual Meeting for the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, 2017.

Shumar, W., Klein, V., Silverman, J., & Brandt, C.. "Productive disruption in a technologically mediated environment," American Educational Research Association, 2017.

Matranga, A., Silverman, J., & Klein, V.. "Exploring leadership in online community-based professional development.," The Annual Meeting for the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, 2017.