PowerTeaching Math


I actually had a student ask me if he could have math for Christmas! My students really enjoy math now, and ask when we are going to do it.

-- Danielle Ward, Math Teacher

Program Type

Curriculum/Instructional Materials
Teacher Development/Training

Target Audience

All Students

Teachers/Educational Leaders




Pre-K - 5
Grades 6 - 8
Grades 9 - 12

 Accomplished link

Program Impact

With a $25 million Investing in Innovation grant from the federal government in 2011, Power Teaching aims to boost math achievement for 135,000 students in 185 middle schools over five years. Decades of research show that the Power Teaching model can have a big impact on student performance in math. For example, an analysis of decades of research on the model's impact found that it is likely to close between 44% and 92% of the gap between African-American or Hispanic and White eighth grade math scores.


Program Overview

Developed by Johns Hopkins Researchers, PowerTeaching Math is the leader in cooperative learning math instruction helping teachers transform their classrooms environments to engage ALL students.

PowerTeaching Math provides teachers with the tools necessary to enhance their math instruction and to grow professionally. It prepares students for the rigorous demands of high school so they will continue to succeed and feel confident in their math abilities.

PTM uses a cooperative structure to help teachers create a learning environment in which students support each other’s learning through discussion of challenges and errors, on-the-spot explanations, and motivation to contribute to the success of the team.  As teachers become comfortable with the new framework, students become responsible for their own learning as well as for helping their teammates learn. PTM emphasizes team goals that can only be achieved when all members of the team are learning and improving. Well-implemented cooperative learning environments provide teachers with the freedom to observe, interact, and assess where the students are and allows them to adapt lessons and add targeted instruction as needed in real time.

High-quality professional development is at the heart of PTM. Teachers participate in cooperative learning simulations to learn the program from the inside. They engage with PTM materials and methods and with their colleagues to learn new approaches to engaging, instructing, assessing, and exciting every learner.

14 randomized experiments or quasi-experiments have been conducted to ascertain the effectiveness of PTM (under its original name, STAD-Math) in diverse settings and with students of various age groups. Students participating in the program gained a full year more than students in a randomized comparison group and had a greater liking of math and higher self-concept in math. PTM cooperative learning structure teaches students to think critically and problem solve, communicate efficiently, and collaborate effectively with their peers. PTM lets students know that finding the correct answer is a process that requires thought, discussion, and analysis. Through PTM, elementary and middle school teachers provide their students with a “toolbox” of resources they can apply to any challenge they face in high school and beyond. These skills are not only critical for success in math but for success in all STEM fields.

No student gets left behind, everyone stays on task, and each student is held accountable for his or her own learning. PTM provides teachers the means to prepare tomorrow’s leaders.


Jill Hanson, Fund Development Administrator

Visit website

Design Principles

The programs in this database clear a high bar. STEMworks reviewed each program against the Design Principles for Effective STEM Philanthropy.

  • Accomplished
  • Developing
  • Undeveloped

Overarching Principles

  • Need

    Identify and target a compelling and well-defined need.

  • Evaluation

    Use rigorous evaluation to continuously measure and inform progress towards the compelling need identified.

  • Sustainability

    Ensure work is sustainable.

  • Replication and Scalability

    Demonstrate replicability and scalability.

  • Partnerships

    Create high impact partnerships

  • Capacity

    Ensure organizational capacity to achieve goals.

STEM Principles

  • Challenging and Relevant Content

    Offer challenging and relevant STEM content for the target audience

  • STEM Practices

    Incorporate and encourage STEM practices.

  • Inspiration

    Inspire interest and engagement in STEM.

  • Under-Represented Groups

    Identify and address the needs of under-represented groups.