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The Minnesota Numeracy Initiative Overview and Design

The Minnesota Numeracy Initiative (MNI) was developed in response to the need for numeracy professional development in Minnesota.
Author(s): 
Kimberly Johnson, PhD
Author(s) Organizational Affiliation: 
ATLAS, Hamline University School of Education
Published: 
2011
Resource Type: 
Product
Number of Pages: 
52
Required Training: 

none

Abstract: 

The Minnesota Numeracy Initiative (MNI) was developed in response to the need for numeracy professional development in Minnesota. MNI Goals include:
• Improved outcomes for learners through more effective numeracy instruction
• Strengthened math content knowledge and self-confidence for teachers
• Increased awareness of effective instructional strategies
• Enhanced collegiality and professionalism through collaboration
• Expanded collection of activities and lessons for practitioner use

Objectives of MNI include:
Upon completion of MNI, participants will have:
1. strengthened math content knowledge
2. implemented effective adult numeracy instructional strategies in their classrooms
3. increased self-confidence with teaching numeracy
4. contributed to and created an ongoing, statewide electronic Community of Practice (eCoP) for professional networking, general communication, and housing and sharing resources related to numeracy
5. expanded networking and collaborative opportunities with peers
6. gained experience and confidence in providing numeracy PD
7. gained an increased level of comfort and confidence with participating in online PD

What the Experts Say: 

The resource tells the story of an effective (as judged by the evaluation) initiative designed to "grow a cadre of numeracy professional development providers in Minnesota" (p.2). The resource is particularly useful because it provides all of the materials and guides that can be used to implement such an initiative elsewhere. Careful attention was paid to gathering data for formative evaluation, examining each of the components of the initiative and considering how each might be strengthened. For example, the use of the Wiggio was questioned because it was not widely used by participants, with a reflection on whether problems were due to the nature of the tool or logistical issues, and a commitment for further investigation of the issue. A strong component of the initiative was the "partner" activities which resulted in teacher accountability during the online courses and included classroom observations with pre- and post- meetings. The evaluation relied heavily on survey and self-reported data, which was reasonable given funding limitations. One goal of the initiative was to strengthen the math content knowledge of teachers, but this was not evaluated.

This resource is very relevant in the broad application of professional development in adult education. It contains a detailed description of the elements of this professional development which includes a face-to-face portion, an online portion, peer discussion, and scheduled feedback, and each of these is assessed for its efficacy.

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