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VMP Evaluation Findings Related to Changes in Teaching Practice, Drawn from Qualitative Focus Group Data


"Building on the needs assessment format used by the Vermont Mathematics Partnership
(VMP) in designing its professional development (PD) strategy with participating
schools, annual focus groups involving teachers and staff across grade levels,
specialization, and PD experiences have been conducted by the evaluators as an integral
part of the evaluation. These rich qualitative data sources not only serve to document the
participants' views and experiences, but help to make visible the systemic changes taking
place as a result of VMP. The gatherings also provide a forum for sharing information
and outcomes with participants, and to identify sites where further targeted focus forums
or in-depth interviews are warranted.

Our analysis compares transcripts from the earliest needs assessments and focus groups
with the gatherings held subsequently. The NVivo software we are using to track the
themes found is unique in providing aid for analysis through a "live matrix" table view
that allows us to link back to the original source documents - full text transcripts - in
order to understand the patterns that reveal a web of influences at work."