Developing Contingent Pedagogies: Integrating Technology-enhanced Feedback into a Middle School Science Curriculum to Improve Conceptual Teaching and Learning
SRI International developed a formative assessment intervention that integrates classroom network technologies and contingent curriculum activities to help middle school teachers adjust instruction to improve student learning of Earth science concepts. The intervention was tested as part of a quasi-experimental study within an urban school district in Colorado that includes ethnically and economically diverse student populations. Findings indicate significant student learning gains for students in implementation classes as compared to students in comparison classes.
This project examines the nature of adaptive expertise in mathematics education, exploring relationships between this concept from cognitive psychology and effective middle school mathematics instruction. One goal of the project is to operationalize adaptive expertise in mathematics classroom using three dimensions: cognitive models of professional competence, instructional practices, and professional learning. Then, researchers seek to determine whether teachers who are more effective at raising student achievement are more or less adaptive.
Mathematics Attainment and African-American Students: Discourse from Multiple Perspectives (Collaborative Research: Leonard)
This project is convening a series of two professional mini-conferences and one professional summit to address issues related to the mathematical education of African American students, Pre-K-16.
The SAVE Science project is creating an innovative system using immersive virtual environments for evaluating learning in science, consistent with research- and policy-based recommendations for science learning focused around the big ideas of science content and inquiry for middle school years. Motivation for this comes not only from best practices as outlined in the National Science Education Standards and AAAS' Project 2061, but also from the declining interest and confidence of today's student in science.
Accessing Science Ideas: Enhancing Curriculum to Support Scientific Reasoning of Students with Learning Disabilities
The Accessing Science Ideas (ASI) project is developing and researching content enhancements that support science learning of middle school students with executive function and related learning disabilities. The goal of ASI research is to measure the extent to which curricular units with content enhancements lead to increased student understanding of science concepts, improved reasoning, and greater confidence.
The Accessing Science Ideas (ASI) project is developing and researching content enhancements that support science learning of middle school students with executive function and related learning disabilities. These content enhancements are being designed for and integrated into two Full Option Science System (FOSS) curriculum units, Diversity of Life and Populations and Ecosystems. The goal of ASI research is to measure the extent to which curricular units with content enhancements lead to increased student understanding of science concepts, improved reasoning, and greater confidence for all students in an inclusive science classroom. However, we anticipate that the students with executive function challenges who find it particularly difficult to organize and remember information, shift between concrete phenomena and abstract concepts and see relationships among ideas will benefit most.
Content enhancements are instructional strategies and materials that do not change content but rather ‘enhance’ it by making it accessible to all learners. They make ideas more explicit, prompt elaboration, involve students in transforming the information, and make concepts, ideas, and their relationships more concrete. In this project, we design, pilot, and revise our content enhancements for each unit prior to the field test.
The study employs an experimental design with randomization at the teacher level. Teachers in the intervention are provided with training and then use content enhancements while those in the control group teach the FOSS unit as they typically would. The control group receives training and the content enhancements at the conclusion of the research phase.
This project is conducting repeated randomized control trials of an approach to high school geometry that utilizes Dynamic Geometry (DG) software and supporting instructional materials to supplement ordinary instructional practices. It compares effects of that intervention with standard instruction that does not make use of computer drawing tools.
The project is conducting repeated randomized control trials of an approach to high school geometry that utilizes dynamic geometry (DG) software and supporting instructional materials to supplement ordinary instructional practices. It compares effects of that intervention with standard instruction that does not make use of computer drawing/exploraction tools. The basic hypothesis of the study is that use of DG software to engage students in constructing mathematical ideas through experimentation, observation, data recording, conjecturing, conjecture testing, and proof results in better geometry learning for most students. The study tests that hypothesis by assessing student learning in 76 classrooms randomly assigned to treatment and control groups. Student learning is assessed by a geometry standardized test, a conjecturing-proving test, and a measure of student beliefs about the nature of geometry and mathematics in general. Teachers in both treatment and control groups receive relevant professional development, and they are provided with supplementary resource materials for teaching geometry. Fidelity of implementation for the experimental treatment is monitored carefully. Data for answering the several research questions of the study are analyzed by appropriate HLM methods. Results will provide evidence about the effectiveness of DG approach in high school teaching, evidence that can inform school decisions about innovation in that core high school mathematics course. The main research question of the project is: Is the dynamic geometry approach better than the business-as-usual approach in facilitating the geometric learning of our students (and more specifically our economically disadvantaged students) over the course of a full school year?
The main resources/products include geometry teachers’ professional development training materials, suggested dynamic geometry instructional activities to supplement current high school geometry curriculum, instruments such as Conjecturing-Proving Test, Geometry Belief Instrument, Classroom Observation Protocols, DG Implementation Questionnaire and Student Interview Protocols.
The general plan for the four-year project is as follows:
Year 1: Preparation (All research instruments, professional development training and resource materials, recruitment and training of participants, etc.);
Year 2: The first implementation of the dynamic geometry treatment, and related data collection and initial data analysis;
Year 3: The second implementation of the DG treatment, and related data collection and data analysis;
Year 4: Careful and detailed data analysis and reporting.
We are now in project year 3. Data are collected for the second implementation of the DG treatment. For data collected during project year 2, some initial analysis (the analysis on the geometry pretest and posttest data and the psychometric analysis on the project developed instruments) has been conducted. More thorough analysis of the collected data is still on going. The analysis on the geometry test shows that the experimental group significantly outperformed the control group on geometry performance.
The evaluation will be implemented throughout the project’s four-year duration, with an evolving balance of formative and summative evaluation activities. In the project’s first three years, the evaluation will emphasize formative functions, designed to inform the project research team of the relative strengths and weaknesses of the research design and execution, and target corrections and improvements of the research components. Summative evaluation activities will also take place in these years with the collection of data on student achievement and teacher change. Evaluation activities for year 4 will focus on the summative evaluation of the project’s accomplishment and especially its impact on participating teachers and students. Evaluation reports will be issued annually with a final summative report presented at the end of year 4.
The research results will be disseminated via the following efforts: 1) Creating and constantly updating the project web site; 2) Publishing the related research articles in research journals such as Journal for Research in Mathematics Education; 3) Presenting at state, regional, national, and international research and professional meetings; 4) Meeting with state and local education agencies, schools, and mathematics teacher educators at other universities for presenting the research findings and using the DG approach in more schools and more mathematics teacher education programs; and 5) Contacting more school districts, with a view to developing relationships and ties that would smooth the way to disseminate the research results.
A Longitudinal Randomized Trial Study of Middle School Science for English Language Learners (Project MSSELL) (Collaborative Research: Lara-Alecio)
This project seeks to improve the science achievement and the academic English language proficiency of middle school Spanish-speaking English language learners (ELLs). This project will conduct a randomized trial longitudinal evaluation of an enhanced standards-based science curriculum model, consisting of five major components: (a) English language acquisition strategies integrated into the science curriculum, (b) technology-assisted instruction, (c) bi-weekly teacher professional development, (d) family involvement, and (e) paraprofessionals in working with individual ELLs.
SPRINTT uses an innovative, live, online training format to train hundreds of teachers in how to teach life, Earth, and physical science content in a polar context. Polar scientists directly inform the content and participate in the training. SPRINTT provides teachers with existing and adapted, high-quality, standards-based curriculum materials and collaborates with science and education partners to simplify research data and create a user-friendly interface from which students perform their own authentic polar research projects.
SPRINTT brings cutting-edge science research and Alaska Native traditional knowledge into K-12 classrooms, bridging the science and society divide while inspiring the next generation of polar explorers. SPRINTT is using an innovative, live, online training format to train hundreds of teachers in how to teach life, Earth, and physical science content in a polar context. Polar scientists directly inform the content and participate in the training. SPRINTT provides teachers with existing and adapted, high-quality, standards-based curricular materials and collaborates with science and education partners to simplify research data and create a user-friendly interface from which students perform their own authentic polar research projects. Students from around the world share their research findings through a collaborative space within the SPRINTT website. The aim is to prepare hundreds of teachers to teach about the significance of the Polar Regions within the Earth system and to present materials and tools with an Alaska Native lens. Through synchronous (live) and asynchronous collaborations, teachers share best practices as they infuse and adopt polar science into their curriculum and learn to effectively facilitate student research.
SPRINTT impacts more than 25,000 upper elementary, middle, and high school students around the world. The majority of U.S. students are from underrepresented groups including Alaska Natives, and those from urban and rural areas. SPRINTT spreads the work of IPY-related partners including the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research, the Inuit Circumpolar Council, Alaska Native Science Commission, the International Polar Foundation, the National Snow and Ice Data Center, ANDRILL, WWF International, NOAA, Bering Sea Ecosystem Study, and GEOSummit. The project is engaging the public in polar discovery through guided student research projects. Innovative teacher training brings Earth's polar systems into the classroom, and promotes international cooperation as students examine the critical role of the polar regions in global processes and the changes to the Arctic as viewed by native peoples.
Current Climate Changes over Eastern Siberia and Interior Alaska and their Impact on Permafrost Landscapes, Ecosystem Dynamics, and Hydrological Regime
Through integration of research and education, this project is providing high resolution data on the spatial distribution of the thermal state of permafrost in Alaska, improving the general knowledge of Earth's climatic patterns, bringing science to remote Alaskan villages, and providing an opportunity for younger generations to take part in understanding Earth's climatic and hydrologic systems.
Assessing the Educational, Career, and Social Impacts of the XO Laptop Program in Birmingham, AL City Schools
The mayor of Birmingham is making a two year loan of XO laptops to middle school students in the Birmingham City Schools in Alabama. The educational and social changes that will occur in classrooms and the effects on several student outcomes are studied in this Small Grant for Exploratory Research. It is expected that access to technology will change the educational and social environment in classrooms and affect student outcomes.