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An Evaluation of a Master's Degree in K-8 Mathematics and Science: Classroom Practice

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Abstract

“Evaluation as a particular kind of investigated discipline is distinguished from, for example, traditional empirical research in the social sciences or from literary criticism, criminalistics, or investigative reporting, partly by its extraordinary multidisciplinarity” (Scrivens, 1991, p. 141). It is this unique multidisciplinary feature of evaluation that adds usefulness when determining the effectiveness of programs seeking to integrate mathematics and science teaching and learning across elementary and middle grade levels.

In 2005, a K-8 mathematics and science program celebrated its 15th year of service. The program was the result of education, business, and community partnership efforts focused on improving mathematics and science teaching and learning in schools throughout a metropolitan region in the southeastern United States. To date, over 350 K-8 teachers have completed a master's degree through this mathematics and science education program. The director realized that an evaluation of the program would likely provide insights that would benefit not only the efforts of the program but the broader mathematics and science teaching and learning community. Hence, the National Science Foundation (award No. 9815931), which had provided start-up funds for the program responded to this need and provided funding for a longitudinal evaluation of the program. The evaluation was conducted from 1999 to 2004.

This article focuses on the evaluation results for years 1 and 2 and addresses the question related to changes in teachers' classroom practice.

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