Analyzing Instruction in Mathematics Using the Teaching for Robust Understanding Framework (AIM-TRU)
Analyzing Instruction in Mathematics Using the Teaching for Robust Understanding Framework (AIM-TRU)

What is AIM-TRU?

AIM-TRU is a model for professional development that gives teachers the opportunity to understand high-quality instructional resources and their use through video cases.

Each professional development session focuses on a formative assessment lesson with an associated video case of its use in the classroom. The sessions are carefully crafted to deepen teacher understanding of these lessons, how they support students in understanding big mathematical ideas, and how they align with a framework for powerful mathematics teaching, the Teaching for Robust Understanding (TRU) Framework.

Formative Assessment Lessons (FALs) (also called Classroom Challenges) are free lessons available online from the Math Assessment Resource Service. There are 100 lessons in all, covering topics in grades 6-12. FALs are designed to help teachers assess what their students have learned about important math concepts and problem-solving skills. Each lesson attempts to integrate formative assessment into everyday teaching. FALs that focus on math concepts, for example, are intended to be used about 2/3 of the way through a unit addressing that concept, or to review topics previously covered. A complete guide for teachers and administrators can be found here.

FALs are intended to be used alongside existing curriculum as a diagnostic and studies have found statistically significant learning effects. For instance, in a study of the FALs’ implementation in the state of Kentucky, in spite of a myriad of methods that teachers chose to implement the FALs, their use was responsible for an additional 4.6 months of growth over the course of the year (Herman et al, 2015). The entire collection of FALs can be found here.

How can I use the AIM-TRU video cases for professional development?

Each video case has a set of materials that you can adapt to fit your context. These materials include the lesson itself, information about the mathematical context, supplementary information about the school and lesson, a transcript of the video, facilitation slides (for both in-person and remote facilitation), and remote versions of lesson resources (if available). 

We have also created facilitation guides, slide decks, and orientation materials for teachers or teacher educators who would like to investigate the video cases for professional development or in teacher education courses. We encourage users to familiarize themselves with the materials and then adapt the model to fit within their learning goals and circumstances. Please feel free to contact our team if you have questions about the process or are interested in contributing to the library of video cases.

Orientation Materials

Facilitation Materials

Everything you need to start this work is on this site! We encourage you to familiarize yourself with the guide, and then adapt it to fit with your learning goals and circumstances. Typically, a session takes 2.5 hours, but each activity that composes the cycle can be done in 45 minutes, or about the time for a department meeting!

If you are wondering how to use this resource in your classroom, or want to let us know how it works in your context, or if you have any questions about our research, please email

The AIM-TRU project and this site are supported in part by the National Science Foundation (NSF) through Building a Teacher Knowledge Base for the Implementation of High-quality Instructional Resources Through the Collaborative Investigation of Video Cases (awards 1908185, 1908311, 1908319)