• Paul CobbEmail author
  • Chrystal Dean
  • Teruni Lamberg
  • Jana Visnovska
  • Qing Zhao
Part of the Mathematics Education Library book series (MELI, volume 48)


The chapter reprinted in this part of the book outlines an analytical approach for documenting school and district settings in which teachers develop and revise their instructional practices. The institutional setting of mathematics teaching as we conceptualize it encompasses district and school policies for mathematics instruction. It therefore includes both the adoption of curriculum materials and guidelines for using those materials (e.g., pacing guides that specify a timeline for completing instructional units) (Ferrini-Mundy & Floden, 2007; Remillard, 2005; Stein & Kim, 2006). The institutional setting also includes the people to whom teachers are accountable and what they are held accountable for (e.g., expectations for the structure of lessons, the nature of students’ engagement, as well as assessments of students’ learning) (Elmore, 2004). In addition, the institutional setting includes supports that give teachers access to new tools and forms of knowledge together with incentives to take advantage of these supports (e.g., opportunities to participate in formal professional development activities and in informal professional networks, assistance from a school-based mathematics coach, or a principal who is an effective instructional leader) (Bryk & Schneider, 2002; Coburn, 2001; Cohen & Hill, 2000; Horn, 2005; Nelson & Sassi, 2005). The findings of a substantial and growing number of studies document that teachers’ instructional practices are partially constituted by the instructional materials and resources that they use in their classrooms, the institutional constraints that they attempt to satisfy, and the formal and informal sources of assistance on which they draw (Cobb, McClain, Lamberg, & Dean, 2003; Coburn, 2005; Spillane, 2005; Stein & Spillane, 2005).


Mathematics Teaching Institutional Setting Instructional Practice School Leader Instructional Leader 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul Cobb
    • 1
    Email author
  • Chrystal Dean
    • 2
  • Teruni Lamberg
    • 3
  • Jana Visnovska
    • 4
  • Qing Zhao
    • 5
  1. 1.Vanderbilt UniversityNashvilleUSA
  2. 2.Appalachian State UniversityBooneUSA
  3. 3.University of NevadaRenoUSA
  4. 4.University of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia
  5. 5.Vanderbilt UniversityNashvilleUSA

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