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California Mathematics & Science Partnership (CaMSP) Statewide Evaluation: Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM) Reform – 21st Century Learning Standards, Pedagogy & Professional Learning


Public Works (PW), a non-profit consulting company headquartered in Pasadena, California was selected through a Request for Proposal (RFP) process by the California Department of Education (CDE) to serve as the statewide evaluator for the California Mathematics and Science Partnership (CaMSP) program. CaMSP is an Improving Teacher Quality initiative authorized by Title II of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) and administered by CDE's Professional Learning Support Division's Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Office. CaMSP is focused on implementing research-based professional development and collecting information about evidence-based outcomes generated by locally implemented professional development models to support mathematics and science learning.

As part of the statewide evaluation design initiated to support the transition of the CaMSP program to STEM learning under the funding guidelines for Cohort 10 partnerships that first received funding in 2014, Public Works conducted two comprehensive literature reviews related to the following topics: (1) effective STEM education strategies and models and (2) effective professional development practices to support classroom pedagogy geared toward curriculum relevance, applied learning, problem-solving and investigation.

This report provides information related to the second topic, pedagogy, and includes a bibliography of resources. The companion report related to effective STEM learning has also been completed and is available from Public Works (

With renewed national attention on integrated STEM education and 21st Century Learning Skills, along with the emphasis on a more applied approach to mathematics and science education, CDE redesigned the CaMSP application to help local school districts collaborate with Institution of Higher Education (IHE) faculty to meet these needs. Beginning with Cohort 10, the focus of CaMSP shifted to professional development in content and pedagogy aimed at the integration of mathematics and/or science with content, applications, processes, and experiences in engineering and/or technology. Newly adopted standards in mathematics (Common Core State Standards in mathematics or CCSS-M) and in science (Next Generation Science Standards or NGSS) that emphasize pedagogical practices of inquiry, integration, and applied learning have also prompted policymakers and educators throughout the state to take a fresh look at how mathematics and science education in California might be re-oriented to better meet the goals of these new standards.

To support this new direction, this literature review is focused on classroom pedagogy and identification of those professional development practices that have been the most effective in preparing in-service classroom teachers to implement successful problem solving or investigation-oriented instructional strategies.

The literature review begins with an examination of pedagogical practices in the United States from a historical perspective, and goes on to describe what makes an active and engaged classroom a strong approach to teaching that better meets the needs of students. Learning theories, which aim to explain how students best integrate what they are expected to learn in school, are provided as context for the discussion of what is envisioned in an active and engaged classroom embodying the principles of integrated STEM learning. The second part of the literature review provides a description of strategies for professional collaboration that are essential to strong instructional practices and summarizes best practices in professional development to support the strong pedagogical components of new standards in mathematics and science, and concludes with aspects of teacher leadership that can be put in place to expand and disseminate these practices more broadly throughout the system.