Lesson Study and Community College


September 2019


Two teachers collaborating at a desk

What is Lesson Study?

Lesson Study is a structured, collaborative professional development intervention with evidence showing that it improves mathematics instruction among K-12 teachers.

Lesson Study provides a framework for instructors to actively investigate how to improve learning in their classrooms. The model typically follows iterative cycles that include:

  • Collaborative study and lesson design
  • Focused observation of teaching
  • Data collection on student learning
  • Refinement of instructional strategies

Download a graphic showing our Lesson Study framework in four stages.

Adapting Lesson Study for Community College Mathematics Instruction

Lesson Study has rarely been implemented in higher education. To test the usefulness of the Lesson Study professional development model at the college level, the Community College Research Center and Education Northwest are collaborating to adapt a Lesson Study pilot project at three community colleges in Oregon.

Instructors teaching developmental mathematics at Clackamas Community College, Lane Community College and Portland Community College are working together to launch the pilot with support from Education Northwest. The colleges are paying special attention to supporting adjunct faculty, many of whom have limited opportunities to reflect on their teaching practice in structured and collaborative ways.

Learn more about the project and conference presentations on the CCRC website.

What the Pilot Project Intends to Accomplish

Developmental (or remedial) mathematics is a significant barrier to success for community college students. To address this, community colleges in Oregon have established a new quantitative literacy course designed to prepare non-STEM students for liberal arts math. This course requires instructors to approach teaching the course in a new way—for example, with enhanced emphasis on real-world application and problem solving.

Community college administrators and faculty members involved in developmental mathematics reform in Oregon responded in a survey that professional development and training was a high area of need. This project examines how Lesson Study can fulfill that need.

Producing and Sharing Lesson Study Evidence and Resources

CCRC is conducting ongoing implementation research during the development period and providing feedback to support continuous improvement. In Fall 2019, CCRC and Education Northwest initiated a pilot study to assess the promise of Lesson Study for improving teaching and learning in developmental mathematics.

During the development and pilot stages, CCRC and Education Northwest will produce and share resources for practitioners, researchers and policymakers related to the Lesson Study model, development process, and study outcomes.

The project team will also share findings and resources in conference presentations throughout the course of the project.

Additional Lesson Study Resources

Lesson Study: Teachers Learning Together

These articles in NW Teacher introduce Lesson Study as a new view of professional development with an eight-step outline of the process.

Lesson Study: Crafting Learning Together

NW Teacher devotes an issue to exploring Lesson Study focusing on the concept of “researchers in every classroom,” essential elements and case studies.

Leading Lesson Study A Practical Guide for Teachers and Facilitators

This "how-to" guide provides practical strategies and models for experienced and novice lesson study teams and administrators, instructional coaches and professional development providers who want to start a lesson study program.