Disciplinary Content Knowledge
Assessing Teachers' Pedagogical Design Capacity and Mathematics Curriculum Use (Collaborative Research: Kim)
This project is assessing the capacities needed by elementary teachers for productive use of mathematics curriculum materials. The project is guided by the assumption that well-designed curriculum programs have the potential to contribute to improvement in mathematics learning opportunities in K-12 classrooms. Yet, minimal research has examined the kind of knowledge and capacities necessary for teachers to use these resources productively. The project will undertake such research and develop tools to assess these capacities.
The goal of this project is to accelerate the progress of early-career and pre-service science teachers from novice to expert-like pedagogical reasoning and practice by developing and studying a system of discourse tools. The tools are aimed at developing teachers' capabilities in shaping instruction around the most fundamental science ideas; scaffolding student thinking; and adapting instruction to diverse student populations by collecting and analyzing student data on their thinking levels.
Researchers are developing a practice-based curriculum for the professional education of preservice and practicing secondary mathematics teachers that focuses on reasoning and proving; has narrative cases as a central component; and supports the development of knowledge of mathematics needed for teaching. This curriculum is comprised of eight constellations of activities that focus on key aspects of reasoning and proving such as identifying patterns; making conjectures; providing proofs; and providing non-proof arguments.
Supports for Learning to Manage Classroom Discussions: Exploring the Role of Practical Rationality and Mathematical Knowledge for Teaching
This project focuses on practicing and preservice secondary mathematics teachers and mathematics teacher educators. The project is researching, designing, and developing materials for preservice secondary mathematics teachers that enable them to acquire the mathematical knowledge and situated rationality central to teaching, in particular as it regards the leading of mathematical discussions in classrooms.
This project augmenting the traditional professional development model with an online professional development platform—the Active Physics Teacher Community—that provides just-in-time support for teachers as they are enacting targeted units of the Active Physics curriculum. Teachers are helped in preparing lessons by providing them with formal instruction related to the lessons they are teaching in the classroom. In addition, teachers can participate in a moderated forum where they can share experiences.
This curriculum development and professional development program includes residential summer institutes with academic-year online communication for in-service teachers involved in professional development of their colleagues. During each summer institute, teachers will be introduced to sets of STEM Polar Connections Modules that will emphasize the process of scientific inquiry and will explore a variety of proven techniques for effective teaching, including inquiry-based teaching, cooperative learning, and methods for formative assessment of student learning.
Geometry Assessments for Secondary Teachers (GAST) represents a collaborative partnership among faculty and staff at the University of Louisville, the University of Kentucky, Florida State University, Alpine Testing Solutions, and Horizon Research, Inc. to develop a knowledge framework and assessments for secondary mathematics teachers' geometry knowledge for teaching. The framework for the assessments will be designed to collect validity evidence for predicting effective geometry teaching and improving student achievement.
Learning Science as Inquiry with the Urban Advantage: Formal-Informal Collaborations to Increase Science Literacy and Student Learning
This project hypothesizes that learners must have access to the real work of scientists if they are to learn both about the nature of science and to do inquiry themselves. It explores the question "How can informal science education institutions best design resources to support teachers, school administrators, and families in the teaching and learning of students to conduct scientific investigations and better understand the nature of science?"
The American Museum of Natural History and Michigan State University propose a research and development project focused on DR-K12 challenge #2 and the hypothesis that learners must have access to the real work of scientists if they are to learn both about the nature of science and to do inquiry themselves. The overarching questions that drive this project are: How can informal science education institutions best design resources to support teachers, school administrators, and families in the teaching and learning of students to conduct scientific investigations and better understand the nature of science? How are these resources then used, and to what extent and in what ways do they contribute to participants’ learning? How are those resources then used for student learning? Answering these questions will involve the use of existing and new resources, enhancement of existing relationships, and a commitment to systematically collect evidence. Urban Advantage (UA) is a middle school science initiative involving informal science education institutions that provides professional development for teachers and hands-on learning for students to learn how to conduct scientific investigations. This project will (1) refine the UA model by including opportunities to engage in field studies and the use of authentic data sets to investigate the zebra mussel invasion of the Hudson River ecosystem; (2) extend the resources available to help parents, administrators, and teachers understand the nature of scientific work; and (3) integrate a research agenda into UA. Teaching cases will serve as resources to help teachers, students, administrators, and families understand scientific inquiry through research on freshwater ecosystems, and—with that increased understanding—support student learning. Surveys, observations, and assessments will be used to document and understand the effects of professional development on teachers, students, administrators, and parents. The study will analyze longitudinal, multivariate data in order to identify associations between professional development opportunities for teachers, administrators, and parents, their use of resources to support their own learning and that of students, middle school teachers’ instructional practices, and measures of student learning.
This teacher professional enhancement program brings K-12 educators and polar researchers together in hands-on field experiences in the Arctic and Antarctic. Project activities and products foster the integration of research and education to produce a legacy of long-term teacher-researcher collaborations, improvement of teacher content knowledge and teaching practices, shareable online learning resources based on real-world science, improved student knowledge of and interest in the Arctic and Antarctic, and broad public engagement in polar science.
This project examines the effect of four different types of induction programs (district-based, e-mentoring, university-based, intern programs) on 100 5th year teachers of secondary science. The teachers involved in the study have participated in a previous study during their first three years of teaching.
This project examines the effect of four different types of induction programs on 100 5th year teachers of secondary science. The teachers involved in the study have participated in a previous study during their first three years of teaching.
The four types of induction programs are described as follows.
1. General induction programs offered by school districts/regional centers,
2. Science-specific e-mentoring programs offered by higher education or science organizations,
3. Science-specific programs offered by higher education institutions, and
4. Intern programs that allow teachers to earn their teaching credential while they complete their first year of teaching.
Dr. Luft's research concentrates on providing the details that give insights into why newly qualified science teachers are leaving or persisting in the profession and how induction programs affect their beliefs and practices. The research questions for this study are:
1. Do induction programs make a difference in the retention of secondary science teachers during their fourth and fifth year?
2. What characterizations can be made about teachers who persist, their performance, and the assistance they receive?
3. How do beginning science teachers develop over their first five years? How do induction programs contribute to this development?
Data collection includes 8 interviews and 2 classroom observations of each teacher. The CETP-COP and Oregon Teacher Observation Protocol are used for classroom observations. Quantitative data analysis utilizes ANOVAs and HLM, to be followed by a qualitative analysis exploring the findings.
The research team is based at Arizona State University and includes Dr. Luft, Dr. Marilyn Thompson, five graduate students and one undergraduate student. The products will include papers submitted to professional journals, postings to the Arizona Science Coordinators Association listserv, and direct dissemination to school administrators and local meetings.
The impacts will be increased understanding of induction programs, what they achieve and what characteristics are effective. This will help policy makers and administrators modify the programs for increased effectiveness. Given the high rate of teachers leaving the profession during the first five years and the popularity of induction programs, the primary impact would be increased retention of quality teachers.