Teaching for Robust Understanding (TRU)
Part of the Math Assessment Project has involved research into how the materials are used in classrooms, their effect on teaching practices, and how Professional Development can be used to support the goals of the Mathematics Assessment Project materials. A major strand of this has been a joint effort with the Algebra Teaching Study at UC Berkeley and Michigan State to develop the Teaching for Robust Understanding of Mathematics (TRU Math) suite of tools for Professional Development and research. During development of TRU Math, it became clear that the concepts could be generalized into a framework that was applicable across subjects.
TRU is a framework for characterizing powerful learning environments in crisp and actionable ways. It provides a straightforward and accessible language for discussing what happens (and should happen) in classrooms, in professional preparation and professional Development (PD). TRU is consistent with what we know to be good practice; and it focuses classroom and administrative attention on what counts in learning. What that means in particular is that high quality instruction and PD will be consistent with TRU – and that if we adopt this framework and language, parallels in instruction across disciplines will be clear.