November 29, 2012

Jefferson City - An impartial evaluator released data today showing that teachers who participated in the most recent round of Improving Teacher Quality Grant programs gained significant improvement in teaching math and science as a result of the grants.

Results of the Improving Teacher Quality Program evaluation, conducted by M.A. Henry Consulting, an independent research and evaluation firm, confirmed that 229 math and science teachers participating in the ninth cycle of grants experienced statistically significant gains in knowledge acquisition.

More than 14,000 students of the public school teachers participating in the programs showed comparably significant gains at the high school level in mathematics when compared to a control group of students of similar teachers who did not take part in the Improving Teacher Quality Grant program.

"It is unusual to see such statistically significant student gains of any type after such a relatively brief period of working with teachers," said Martha A. Henry, PhD, of the firm performing the evaluation.

The Missouri Department of Higher Education has administered the Improving Teacher Quality Grant program with federal funding for the past nine years. The grant-funded projects were conducted through universities and colleges across the state with teachers from grades kindergarten through high school.

Teachers participate in programs such as summer academies, enhanced assessments and content knowledge refreshers in math and science.

Commissioner of Higher Education David Russell said Improving Teacher Quality Grants help K-12 teachers keep up-to-date on new math and science concepts and provide resources they can use for hands-on learning in the classroom. "The acquisition of scientific knowledge is accelerating at an incredible pace," Russell said. "Classroom teachers need to continually update course content and teaching methods to prepare students to be successful in college and careers."

Missouri received $1.1 million for the program in Cycle 9. Ninth-cycle projects were funded and implemented at Columbia College, Maryville University, Missouri State University, Missouri University of Science and Technology, Southeast Missouri State University, University of Central Missouri and University of Missouri.

Cycle 10 projects already are underway, and proposals for Cycle 11 are being accepted now.