Can teacher CPD have a positive effect on pupil progress in maths?

Posted by Elizabeth Humphrey - Last updated on December 1, 2022

Elizabeth Humphrey, Year 3 Teacher at City Academy Whitehawk (CAW) in Brighton, has undertaken a project to investigate whether teacher continued professional development can have a positive effect on pupil progress in maths.

In this guest blog post, Elizabeth shares her findings…


Can teacher’s continued professional development can have a positive effect on pupil progress?

I chose to undertake this project because, whilst I spent the first two years of my career city academy whitehawk effective teacher professional developmentteaching year 6, my recent move to year 3 is an entirely different experience.

I therefore chose to use IRIS Connect to monitor, observe and improve my teaching practice in year 3. This project however is not investigating the effects of teacher CPD on pupil progress generally as there are many studies that already support this. 

The purpose of this study is to investigate whether, through the use of IRIS Connect, teacher’s continued professional development can have a positive effect on pupil progress in mathematics.

More specifically, this project involves quantifiably identifying the impact of using IRIS Connect to assist with CPD on pupils’ progress in year 3 mathematics.


Using IRIS Connect to enhance the Maths Makes Sense approach

Approximately three years ago, we started to use the Maths Makes Sense (MMS) approach and since then, we have observed an improvement in the rate of pupil progress in maths across each of the year groups.

We believe this new approach to teaching maths has led to higher expectations in terms of pupil progress. These are expectations which are now embedded into the culture of the school.

Even with these improvements, we believe there is still room to enhance the way in which we deliver the MMS programme, particularly the way in which teachers develop their own teaching practice.

Using IRIS Connect, I have been recording and self-evaluating lessons to develop my maths CPD and analysing the effect it is having on pupil progress in my class. I am recognising my own strengths and identifying areas for improvement.

I have been working alongside the maths co-ordinator to improve the quality of teaching, the structure of lessons and the delivery of new concepts. This is also an effective tool for sharing good practice and building groups in the IRIS Connect platform.

The purpose of this study is to analyse whether the use of IRIS Connect aids teacher’s self-evaluation and improves teaching, therefore having a positive impact on pupil progress. If the findings of this study show a significant impact on pupil progress, then IRIS Connect will be used throughout the school as a means of teacher self-reflection and continued CPD.


The results

The data this year shows that all pupils have made good progress in maths with an overall average gain of 3.7 points. Non-pupil premium students achieved an average of 4.0 points progress compared to 3.6 for pupil premium students. The gap between non-pupil premium and pupil premium now only lies at 0.4 points, therefore bridging the gap between these two groups.

can teacher cpd affect maths results

Aside from data, IRIS Connect has significantly helped me improve my teaching and enabled me to be a more reflective practitioner. Here are 3 key areas where it has helped me:

  • Firstly, it has allowed me to analyse my lessons and evaluate my teaching, in addition to reviewing lessons with my mentor and discussing different aspects of the lesson. This has been invaluable.
  • Secondly, it has allowed me to identify individual pupils’ specific needs during a lesson that I wouldn’t always observe without the benefit of replaying through IRIS.
  • Finally, I was able to identify areas where I was able to maximise the benefit of my TA. I could watch where she was best used during different periods of the lesson and how we could best work together to teach the same concept to different ability groups. Without IRIS, I may not have been able to identify these key areas to improve my teaching and it would have been difficult to meaningfully measure improvements.


The effect of reflective practitioners

On a more theoretical level, previous studies have shown that there has been an impact on pupils progress when teachers are reflective practitioners, identify areas of weakness and create targets to improve teaching.

IRIS allows teachers to do this for themselves, becoming more reflective practitioners through relying on their own assessment and feedback of what they observe in class.

The more effective I am as a teacher, then the more learning will be taking place in my classroom and greater progress will be made.


Next steps

Due to the success of this project, Elizabeth is now embarking upon a similar project using IRIS Connect to assess whether teacher CPD can have a positive effect on pupil progress in literacy. Keep an eye on our case studies page for more from Elizabeth in the future.

Thinking of trying video as part of your professional learning?

Got some questions or not sure where to start? Have a read of this year 5 teacher's honest and insightful account of his early experiences of video CPD.

Or perhaps you're using IRIS Connect with a particular focus in your school and would like to write a guest blog post about it? Get in touch via the comments section below.

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