By Eric W. Crane

Learning and engagement were on display in a pair of CALE presentations at the 100th Annual Conference of the California Educational Research Association (CERA 100), in mid-November in Anaheim. The conference theme, Reimagining Education: Using Data and Evidence to Reshape our Future, attracted over 200 attendees, including classroom teachers; graduate students; researchers; district-, county-, and state-level officials; and assessment developers and publishers.

CALE’s Ryan Lewis shared findings from a July 2021 brief on math professional learning systems in California. Lewis teamed with Robert Sheffield, President of the Consortium on Reaching Excellence in Education (CORE), to discuss priorities in moving teachers forward to match the coming shifts in math instruction, with a revised math framework (expected in May 2022). Among the shifts discussed by Lewis and Sheffield were:

  • Greater emphasis on inclusion, cultural relevance, and accessibility to English language learners;
  • Secondary course redesign;
  • Deepening math conceptual knowledge for teachers and principals; and
  • Making time for educators to learn new school- and classroom-level practices and strategies.

Lewis reported that California math teachers feel generally positive about the professional learning they received in the past year, according to a RAND survey administered in May 2021. However, California math teachers were less likely to rate their professional learning activities as highly effective than math teachers in other states. Furthermore, California math teachers spent less time in professional learning activities during the 2019-2020 school year than their counterparts in other states.

In the second CALE presentation at CERA 100, Melissa Eiler White and CALE partner Kai Mathews of UCLA’s Center for the Transformation of Schools discussed the educator pipeline and educator diversity in California. Mathews described recent qualitative research that helps explain how current policies and practices shape prospective and current educators of color, including their likelihood to persist in the profession. Eiler White then discussed lessons from California’s recent $75 million investment in the California Teacher Residency Grant program. Eiler White noted that participants in the grant program, more so than the existing teacher workforce, reflect the racial diversity of the students they serve. Partnerships continue to report that recruitment of high-ability teacher residents, particularly residents of color, is their greatest area of need.

In both sessions, attendees engaged with questions about the research and connected the research findings to their local contexts. The CALE team is already looking forward to sharing lessons from its 2022 work at CERA 101.