The authors present an analysis of portfolio entries submitted by candidates seeking certification by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards in the area of Early Adolescence/Mathematics. Analyses of mathematical features revealed that the tasks used in instruction included a range of mathematics topics but were not consistently intellectually challenging. Analyses of key pedagogical features of the lesson materials showed that tasks involved hands-on activities or real-world contexts and technology but rarely required students to provide explanations or demonstrate mathematical reasoning. The findings suggest that, even in lessons that teachers selected for display as best practice examples of teaching for understanding, innovative pedagogical approaches were not systematically used in ways that supported students’ engagement with cognitively demanding mathematical tasks.
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