Teachers College, Columbia University

The Implementation and Outcomes of Lesson Study in Community College Mathematics

By Susan Bickerstaff, Jacqueline Raphael, Michelle Hodara, Lindsay A. Leasor & Sam Riggs
The Implementation and Outcomes of Lesson Study in Community College Mathematics

This report describes a project undertaken by CCRC, Education Northwest, and three community colleges in Oregon to adapt lesson study for use among faculty teaching a precollege (developmental) quantitative literacy course. Lesson study is a collaborative professional development approach that has been implemented among K-12 mathematics teachers with promising results for both teachers and students. There has been limited research on its application in higher education.

The authors discuss findings from a mixed-method study of the adapted model’s implementation among faculty in the community colleges as well as limited findings on student learning and progression in developmental mathematics. Data sources for the study include interviews with participating faculty and college administrators, a survey of all mathematics faculty at the three colleges, observations of lesson study activities, an assessment of student learning, and administrative data.

Although lesson study is different from typical professional development available in community colleges, faculty at the colleges were able to implement lesson study successfully. Participants largely enjoyed their lesson study experience, particularly its focus on improving mathematics pedagogy and the opportunities it provided for intensive and productive collaboration. And faculty adopted new teaching practices as a result of their participation in lesson study. Owing to study design and time limitations, the authors were not able to rigorously evaluate lesson study’s impact on student outcomes. Drawing on qualitative analysis, they present a theory of change for lesson study and offer suggestions for future research that could assess the impacts of lesson study on student learning and outcomes in community colleges.