Vermont Mathematics Initiative
The Vermont Mathematics Coalition has been a strong advocate for the Vermont Mathematics Initiative (VMI), a comprehensive, innovative, and highly content-intensive mathematics teacher professional development program designed to ensure high quality mathematics instruction and high levels of mathematics learning in elementary schools across the state of Vermont.
The following is a summary of the VMI from its founding in 1999 through 2012. A more detailed overview of the VMI can be found on the VMI website http://vermontmathematics.com.
- The VMI is founded on the principle that strong mathematics content knowledge of teachers is prerequisite to enhanced pedagogy and higher student achievement. Begun in 1999 by the late Ken Gross, who was also a founding member of the Cermont State Mathematics Coalition , the VMI has been in operation continuously for over a decade as an educational equity based partnership of the University of Vermont, the Vermont State Department of Education, and Vermont school districts. Originally intended for elementary teachers, the program is equally effective with middle school teachers.
- The VMI is a statewide program designed to close the gap between insufficient mathematics training of elementary school teachers and the demands of the contemporary mathematics classroom. To date VMI has trained 350 teacher leaders representing 95% of the school districts in Vermont. An additional 800 teachers have taken sustained in-depth VMI courses. In all, Vermont teachers who have taken VMI courses teach about 15,000 Vermont students annually.
- The VMI is grounded in the same principles as the Common Core State Standards, and provides in depth professional development that is ideally aligned with the Common Core.
- The VMI transcends particular curricula and empowers teachers with strong mathematics content and the capability to translate that content into classroom practice, irrespective of which published program is being used in the classroom or its methodological philosophy.
- Formal evaluation studies have consistently shown that the VMI has had a profound impact on the teachers themselves, their classroom practice, and most importantly students in schools having VMI teachers.
- In particular, a six year longitudinal study of students of VMI trained teachers revealed significant growth in student achievement in general and a significant narrowing of the socio-economic achievement gap.
In brief, results indicate that VMI has a major impact on the achievement of low income students.
Higher student achievement has been observed wherever the VMI model and courses have been implemented with fidelity.
- The VMI is also having an impact beyond Vermont, where the program is proving effective in urban, suburban, and rural settings.
- The VMI instructional model and course materials are used in professional development programs sponsored by universities and school districts in Illinois, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Mexico, and Wyoming.
- The Little Rock School District, the Cincinnati Public Schools, and school districts in Wyoming and Tennessee have adopted VMI for their mathematics professional development.
- The Massachusetts State Board of Education leaned heavily on the VMI philosophy and curriculum in developing its standards for elementary mathematics licensure.