Examining Mathematics Coaching (EMC) was a five-year research study (2009–2014) investigating the types and depths of knowledge needed by effective instructional coaches in K-8 mathematics classrooms. This partnership-driven project, with funding by The National Science Foundation, included principal researchers at Montana State University at Bozeman, RMC Research Corporation in Denver, and the University of Idaho.

As educators in the United States strive to improve K-8 mathematics and science education, one new strategy taken by many school systems is the use of mathematics coaching. Although these school systems have made considerable investments in coaching programs, very little research existed previously to define what makes a coach effective. What must a coach know about mathematical content, and how to coach teachers, to be an effective coach? The EMC Project conducted groundbreaking research on knowledge that contributes to successful coaching in these two domains: Coaching Knowledge and Mathematics Content Knowledge. In addition, the research examined impacts on teachers’ knowledge, attitudes, and classroom practice based on their coaches’ knowledge of coaching and mathematics content. The study will continue to enhance the knowledge and understanding of mathematics coaching as it contributes to developing teacher quality, resulting in enhanced student learning in mathematics.

The project was a National Science Foundation grant recipient under the NSF Discovery Research K-12 program, Award No. 0918326.

During 2009–2014, more than 200 coaches and teachers across eight states (Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Washington, and Wisconsin) participated through coaching sessions, online assessments, and classroom observations. In late 2014 project researchers concluded their analysis of the data collected during that five-year period.

For additional background information about the project, please see these Common Questions about the EMC Project.