Disciplinary Content Knowledge
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.
Undergraduate Science Course Reform Serving Pre-service Teachers: Evaluation of a Faculty Professional Development Model
This project focuses on critical needs in the preparation and long-term development of pre-service, undergraduate, K-6 teachers of science. The project investigates the impact on these students of undergraduate, standards-based, reform entry level science courses developed by faculty based on their participation in the NASA Opportunities for Visionary Academics processional development program to identify: short-term impacts on undergraduate students and long-term effects on graduated teachers; characteristics of reform courses and characteristics of effective development efforts.
The Undergraduate Science Course Reform Serving Pre-service Teachers: Evaluation of a Faculty Professional Development Model project is informally known as the National Study of Education in Undergraduate Science (NSEUS). This 5-year project focuses on critical needs in the preparation and long-term development of pre-service, undergraduate, K-6 teachers of science. The goal is to investigate the impact on these students of undergraduate, standards-based, reform entry-level science courses developed by faculty in the NASA Opportunities for Visionary Academics (NOVA) professional development model. Twenty reform and 20 comparison undergraduate science courses from a national population of 101 diverse institutions participating in NOVA, stratified by institutional type, were be selected and compared in a professional development impact design model. Data is being collected in extended on-site visits using multiple quantitative and qualitative instruments and analyzed using comparative and relational studies at multiple points in the impact design model. Criteria for success of the project will be determined by conclusions drawn from the research questions; including evidence and effect sizes of short-term impacts on undergraduate students and long-term effects on graduated in-service teachers in their own classroom science teaching; identification of characteristics of undergraduate reformed courses that produce significant impacts; identification of characteristics of effective faculty, and effective dissemination.
Project Publications and Presentations:
Lardy, Corrine; Mason, Cheryl; Mojgan, Matloob-Haghanikar; Sunal, Cynthia Szymanski; Sunal, Dennis Wayne; Sundberg, Cheryl & Zollman, Dean (2009). How Are We Reforming Teaching in Undergraduate Science Courses? Journal of College Science Teaching, v. 39 (2), 12-14.
The Role of Educative Curriculum Materials in Supporting Science Teaching Practices with English Language Learners
This project aims to determine whether curricula designed to support teacher and student learning have positive impacts on teacher knowledge, attitudes, and instructional practices; to what degree educative curricula help teachers with more and less experience teaching ELLs and how level of teaching experience relates to teacher knowledge, attitudes, and instructional practices; and the effects of the educative curricula in high implementation settings on ELLs knowledge and attitudes in science, and developing English proficiency.
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.