Inquirying about student work in a professional development school context: A case of cross-role triads

Open Access
Coon-kitt, Mary Jayne
Graduate Program:
Curriculum and Instruction
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Date of Defense:
January 14, 2015
Committee Members:
  • James F Nolan Jr., Dissertation Advisor
  • James F Nolan Jr., Committee Chair
  • Gwendolyn Monica Lloyd, Committee Member
  • Bernard Joel Badiali, Committee Member
  • Stephanie L Knight, Committee Member
  • professional development schools
  • collaborative inquiry groups
  • elementary math education
  • looking at student work
This study is a case of cross-role triads - mentor teacher, intern, and supervisor - engaged in looking at student work in elementary mathematics over time in an elementary professional development school (PDS) setting. This study represents a significant effort to identify factors that impact teachers’ inquiry process of planning, implementing, collecting, and analyzing student work. By recognizing and understanding these factors, we gain new insights into fostering the development of effective PDS triad relationships. This qualitative research study used case study methodology as an investigative tool to analyze the talk in a series of PDS triad conversations. The primary source of data collection was a series of audio-recorded triad meetings. Other data sources included student learning data (student work) and the researcher’s reflexive journal. The data suggested that when the understanding of student learning data was foregrounded as the primary task of all three triad members, advances in student learning across the study cycles were more clearly visible in the student work. The findings also indicated that the quantity and substance of intern participation in the inquiry process varied across the triads. And finally, the data supported the notion that the triads differed substantially in their conversations in regards to how clearly they connected place value concepts expressed in the student work to the Common Core State Standards for that grade level. This research has implications for teacher educators and school district leaders responsible for developing meaningful professional development opportunities that involve collaborative groups of preservice and inservice teachers engaged in an inquiry process to examine student work.