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Professional Development

A Research Design Conference: How Can Digital Resources Increase Collaboration and Support Teachers Implementing Standards?

A two day workshop/colloquium will be hosted at Northwestern University and is focused on the use of video and online learning in support of the College and CAREER Readiness Standards.

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
1348695
Funding Period: 
Thu, 08/15/2013 - Thu, 07/31/2014
Full Description: 

The Teaching Channel is hosting two day workshop/colloquium at Northwestern University focused on the use of video and online learning in support of the College and CAREER Readiness Standards. The three research questions are: 1) How can these tools increase discussion, inquiry and reporting of teacher progress on the standards through data sharing and writing? (2) What research tools can be deployed to determine the efficacy of these tools and their potential for scale? and (3) How can video and on line professional development tools best support teachers in a time of increasing accountability and change?

The outcomes of the workshop include research briefs and a summary paper. These will be posted on the Teaching Channel resource cite.

A Research Design Conference: How Can Digital Resources Increase Collaboration and Support Teachers Implementing Standards?

Social Dynamics: Leveraging Online Social Networks to Shape Science Identities and Support Learning Science Concepts in Middle School Students

Social Dynamics is an exploratory project to investigate how face-to-face teaching leveraging the use of an online social network learning platform (SNLP) can increase middle school students' science learning and enhance their development of contextual identities related to science.

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
1317073
Funding Period: 
Thu, 08/15/2013 - Sun, 07/31/2016
Full Description: 

Social Dynamics is an exploratory project to investigate how face-to-face teaching leveraging the use of an online social network learning platform (SNLP) can increase middle school students' science learning and enhance their development of contextual identities related to science. Units from the recently developed and tested Ocean System Sciences (OSS) curriculum are the basis for the instruction. All six teachers receive professional development in the first summer and teach the OSS in year one. Testing is carried out with the same teachers in years two and three. The design-based research generates evidence about how teachers can use a Facebook-like social network platform, My Big Campus, which is currently used by school districts nationwide to complement face-to-face classroom instruction. The project investigates the ways engagement in an SNLP supports student science identity development and learning; the instructional practices that support engagement in an SNLP; how teachers use these practices to support learning and shape student science identities; and the relationships that exist between student science identities and learning within the face-to-face and SNLP contexts.

To disassociate the impacts of the SNLP and identity on learning, two teachers from Oakland Unified School District use only face-to-face instruction. One only uses science learning strategies; the other employs identity strategies in addition to the science learning strategies. In San Diego, two sets of two teachers use both face-to-face and SNLP - one set using only science learning strategies and the other set using both science learning and identity strategies. Teachers are assigned randomly to the science only and science plus identity implementations and will be separated during professional development. Twelve students, who exhibit online behaviors that stand out, are selected for in-depth interviews. The analyses requires sophisticated data tracking systems that allow for student scores to be linked over the period of one year, and students to be linked to their teachers over the course of one year.

This project should contribute to the scarce research about the effectiveness of the use of social media in science instruction.

Social Dynamics: Leveraging Online Social Networks to Shape Science Identities and Support Learning Science Concepts in Middle School Students

Using Research-Based Formative Assessment to Improve Mathematics Teaching and Learning

This project provides professional development and support for teachers of mathematics in Grades 3-5 and assesses the impacts of the project through a rigorous cluster randomized control trial. The project supports teachers to provide instruction that helps all students reach ambitious academic goals in mathematics.

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
1316527
Funding Period: 
Wed, 01/01/2014 - Mon, 07/31/2017
Full Description: 

Using Research-Based Formative Assessment to Improve Mathematics Teaching and Learning builds on almost a decade of research and development by the Vermont Mathematics Partnership's Ongoing Assessment Project (OGAP). The project provides professional development and support for teachers of mathematics in Grades 3-5 and assesses the impacts of the project through a rigorous cluster randomized control trial. The project supports teachers to provide instruction that helps all students reach ambitious academic goals in mathematics by: 1) increasing teachers' knowledge of mathematics and of how students learn specific mathematics content, and 2) providing teachers with specific tools and routines for enacting formative assessment and adapting their instruction. The project has three integrated components: 1) professional development and ongoing support in 30 New York City public schools, 2) research on teachers' use of assessment evidence in instruction, and 3) research on student and teacher outcomes.

Helping students deeply understand mathematical concepts requires teachers to become skilled in formative assessment, particularly in the ongoing analysis of evidence in student work when making instructional decisions: moving beyond right and wrong answers into the more important questions of how students think and reason mathematically, where their misconceptions lie, and how they can be addressed instructionally. Yet research shows that teachers struggle with the analytic aspects of formative assessment, and little is known about how teachers use evidence from student work or thinking to improve their instruction. The project addresses both of these concerns by: 1) implementing a rigorous, research-driven approach to formative assessment in 30 schools; and, 2) studying the effects of the intervention in ways that clearly measure impact on teachers and students, including the link between how teachers interpret student work and how they respond instructionally. The creativity and originality of the project lie in its synthesis of a vast body of knowledge about mathematics teaching and learning into a clearly packaged and presented set of tools, routines, and strategies which are directly usable in practice and can dramatically improve the quality of mathematics instruction. The project is organized around the central goal of improving teachers' formative assessment practice, with the research design providing rigorous evidence of project impacts while simultaneously informing the field.

The project will be implemented in a highly diverse school district serving a large number of students from groups traditionally underrepresented in mathematics and the sciences. The formative assessment system developed through this project will ultimately be made available, through a website and multi-media booklets, to all teachers in New York City public schools and across the country. The OGAP formative assessment system will be tied to college and career readiness standards in mathematics rather than a particular curriculum-although it addresses the same content as the major mathematics curricula-which means the materials, knowledge, and strategies will be usable across settings.

Using Research-Based Formative Assessment to Improve Mathematics Teaching and Learning

Science as a Context for English Language Development: Exploring the Practical and Theoretical Implications for Teacher Professional Development

This is a 2-day conference that will examine current strategies, issues and future challenges related to teacher professional development regarding integrating inquiry-oriented science instruction and English Language Development (ELD) for K-5 students. The conference convenes 40 researchers and professional development practitioners who examine theory and practice in inquiry-based science instruction and ELD.

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
1316537
Funding Period: 
Sun, 09/01/2013 - Mon, 08/31/2015
Full Description: 

The Exploratorium's Institute for Inquiry (IFI) has planned a 2-day conference that will examine current strategies, issues and future challenges related to teacher professional development regarding integrating inquiry-oriented science instruction and English Language Development (ELD) for K-5 students. The conference convenes 40 researchers and professional development practitioners who examine theory and practice in inquiry-based science instruction and ELD, focusing on three overall objectives:

1. Learn how inquiry-oriented science instruction can provide a good context for learning English and science.

2. Address the conceptual challenges and perspectives that inquiry-oriented science instruction and ELD present.

3. Articulate the issues that the challenges of inquiry science and ELD present to professional development programs that support teachers in adapting their knowledge and classroom practice to an integrated science/ELD approach.

The conference keynote, delivered by Guadalupe Valdés, addresses the language demands and opportunities that are introduced in the science and engineering practices described in the National Research Council?s Framework for K-12 Science Education and the NGSS. (The framework is based on a recent article co-authored by Valdés.) Participants include practitioners and researchers in science education, teacher education, professional development, language acquisition, and bilingual education. The conference will combine presentations providing overviews of current research and practice, combined with the use of case studies and working sessions to arrive at overall recommendations for directions for future research, professional development and practice.

Key conference outcomes include:

- A set of research questions.

- A set of principles and guidelines for professional development related to ELD and science.

- Articles submitted to journals and professional publications by conference organizers and participants that will disseminate conference ideas, as well as conference presentations.

- Partnerships developed between practitioners and researchers.

- Case studies published on the IFI website.

- Continuing dialogue via blogs, webinars, and the IFI website.

Conference outcomes will be disseminated through research and professional development journals, conference presentations, and the IFI website.

Science as a Context for English Language Development: Exploring the Practical and Theoretical Implications for Teacher Professional Development

Integrating Quality Talk Professional Development to Enhance Professional Vision and Leadership for STEM Teachers in High-Need Schools

This project expands and augments a currently-funded NSF Noyce Track II teacher recruitment and retention grant with Quality Talk (QT), an innovative, scalable teacher-facilitated discourse model. Over the course of four years, the work will address critical needs in physics and chemistry education in 10th through 12th grade classrooms by strengthening the capacity of participating teachers to design and implement lessons that support effective dialogic interactions.

Award Number: 
1316347
Funding Period: 
Mon, 07/15/2013 - Fri, 06/30/2017
Full Description: 

This project expands and augments a currently-funded NSF Noyce Track II teacher recruitment and retention grant with Quality Talk (QT), an innovative, scalable teacher-facilitated discourse model. It is hypothesized that the QT model will enhance pre- and in-service secondary teachers' development of professional vision and leadership skills necessary for 21st century STEM education. Over the course of four years, the work will address critical needs in physics and chemistry education in 10th through 12th grade classrooms in five of Georgia's high-need school districts by strengthening the capacity of participating teachers to design and implement lessons that support effective dialogic interactions. As a result of such interactions, students' scientific literacy will be enhanced, including their ability to participate in content-rich discourse (i.e., QT) through effective disciplinary critical-analytic thinking and epistemic cognition. The contributions of this project, beyond the tangible benefits for teacher and student participants, include the development, refinement, and dissemination of an effective QT intervention and professional developmental framework that the entire science education community can use to promote scientific literacy and understanding.

The project goals are being achieved through a series of three studies employing complementary methods and data sources, and a focus upon dissemination of the model in the final project year. The first two years of the project focus on developing and refining the curricular and intervention efficacy materials using design-based research methods. In Year 3, the project engages in a quasi-experimental study of the refined QT model, followed by further refinements before disseminating the materials both within Georgia and throughout the national science education community in Year 4. Quantitative measures of teacher and student discourse and knowledge, as well as video-coding and qualitative investigations of intervention efficacy, are being analyzed using multiple methods. In collaboration with, but independent from project staff and stakeholders, the participatory and responsive evaluation utilizes a variety of qualitative and quantitative methods to conduct formative and summative evaluation.

Over the course of four years, the project will involve the participation of approximately 32 teachers in Georgia whose students include substantive percentages from populations underrepresented in the STEM fields. In addition to advancing their own students' scientific literacy, these participating teachers receive professional development on how to train other teachers, outside of the project, in using QT to promote scientific literacy. Further, the project will conduct a QT Summit for educational stakeholders and non-participant teachers to disseminate the intervention and professional development model. Finally, the project team will disseminate the findings widely to applied and scholarly communities through a website with materials and PD information (http://www.qualitytalk.org), professional journals, conferences, and NSF's DRK-12 Resource Network. This project, with its focus on teacher leadership and the pedagogical content knowledge necessary to use discourse to promote student science literacy, significantly advances the nation's goals of producing critical consumers and producers of scientific knowledge.

Integrating Quality Talk Professional Development to Enhance Professional Vision and Leadership for STEM Teachers in High-Need Schools

QuEST: Quality Elementary Science Teaching

This project is examining an innovative model of situated Professional Development (PD) and the contribution of controlled teaching experiences to teacher learning and, as a result, to student learning. The project is carrying out intensive research about an existing special PD summer institute (QuEST) that has been in existence for more than five years through a state Improving Teacher Quality Grants program.

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
1316683
Funding Period: 
Thu, 08/15/2013 - Mon, 07/31/2017
Full Description: 

The University of Missouri-Columbia is examining an innovative model of situated Professional Development (PD) and the contribution of controlled teaching experiences to teacher learning and, as a result, to student learning. The project is carrying out intensive research about an existing special PD summer institute (QuEST) that has been in existence for more than five years through a state Improving Teacher Quality Grants program. The project will do the following: (1) undertake more in-depth and targeted research to better understand the efficacy of the PD model and impacts on student learning; (2) develop and field test resources from the project that can produce broader impacts; and (3) explore potential scale-up of the model for diverse audiences. The overarching goals of the project are: (a) Implement a high-quality situated PD model for K-6 teachers in science; (b) Conduct a comprehensive and rigorous program of research to study the impacts of this model on teacher and student learning; and (c) Disseminate project outcomes to a variety of stakeholders to produce broader impacts. A comparison of two groups of teachers will be done. Both groups will experience a content (physics) and pedagogy learning experience during one week in the summer. During a second week, one group will experience "controlled teaching" of elementary students, while the other group will not. Teacher and student gains will be measured using a quantitative and qualitative, mixed-methods design.

QuEST: Quality Elementary Science Teaching

Theorizing and Advancing Teachers' Responsive Decision Making in the Domain of Rational Numbers

This project addresses the growing need for research to support teachers in developing expertise in responsive decision making in which teachers elicit and build on children's mathematical thinking in the midst of instruction.

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
1316653
Funding Period: 
Sun, 09/15/2013 - Thu, 08/31/2017
Full Description: 

This project addresses the growing need for research to support teachers in developing expertise in responsive decision making in which teachers elicit and build on children's mathematical thinking in the midst of instruction. Specific objectives include characterizing grades 3-5 teachers' responsive decision making in the domain of rational numbers, investigating how professional development can support the development of this form of teaching expertise, and exploring the relationship between degree of teachers' responsive decision making and student learning. Theoretical and practical contributions of this project address the discrepancy in the field's capacity to produce research-based knowledge about children's thinking versus provide resources to take up and effectively use this knowledge. The primary organization is The University of Texas at Austin, and major partner organizations include the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, SRI International, and Teachers Development Group.

In this professional development design study, researchers engage approximately 100 teachers in up to three years of professional development designed to empower teachers to make instructional decisions guided by a research-based framework of children's thinking about rational numbers, with an emphasis on children's informal ideas of partitioning quantities and their understanding of the fundamental properties of operations and equality. Data sources include direct observation of workshops and teachers' classrooms as well as teachers' performance and reflection on a variety of assessments. On the basis of what is learned from these multiple data sources across 3 cohorts of teachers, researchers will iteratively build and refine a model of responsive decision making and identify critical features of the development of this expertise. Further, using approximately half the sample, researchers collect student data to test the conjecture that responsive decision making is related to increased opportunities for students to learn.

The findings, assessments, and professional development generated by this project will help the field respond to the critical challenge of how to support teachers to take up and effectively use knowledge of children's mathematical thinking in instruction. Anticipated intellectual products include a model of teachers' responsive decision making in the domain of rational numbers, identification of landmarks and obstacles in teachers' development of responsive decision making, and knowledge about the relationship between teachers' expertise in responsive decision making and student learning. Anticipated professional development products include a web-based tool to support teachers' self-guided collaborative inquiry and a well-specified, scalable professional development course for teachers with an immediate outlet for dissemination through the ongoing work of Teachers Development Group.

Theorizing and Advancing Teachers' Responsive Decision Making in the Domain of Rational Numbers

Next Generation Preschool Science: An Innovative Program to Facilitate Young Children's Learning of Science Practices and Concepts

This project is developing, iteratively refining and evaluating a science curriculum for Pre-K classrooms with units on Plant Growth, How Things Move, and What Makes Shadows by integrating traditional classroom resources (large and small group activities, hands-on activities, read-alouds) with digital media (touch screen tablets, photos and short videos, and games/simulations).

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
1316550
Funding Period: 
Sun, 09/15/2013 - Thu, 08/31/2017
Full Description: 

SRI is developing, iteratively refining and evaluating a science curriculum for Pre-K classrooms with units on Plant Growth, How Things Move, and What Makes Shadows. Working with EDC and WGBH, the project is integrating traditional classroom resources (large and small group activities, hands-on activities, read-alouds) with digital media (touch screen tablets, photos and short videos, and games/simulations). The importance of this approach is that it facilitates the implementation of quality science instruction in pre-schools by reducing the resources and commitment needed. The project is also producing professional development resources for teachers. Project evaluation is by the Concord Evaluation Group. The products of the project are being distributed by PBS Media.

Using an Evidence Centered Design approach, the project is doing a Phase I development and pilot study during the first two years, followed by a Phase II field study in year 3, with 10 classrooms in California and 10 in New York, half of which will be for comparison purposes. Ten children from each classroom are being selected through a stratified randomization process for a more detailed examination of student outcomes. There are 8 research questions covering the three phases of the project; development, implementation, and sustainability. Data collection on child learning is using the project developed science assessment as well as a standardized assessment of children's science learning LENS on Science. Evidence on teachers' confidence is being collected with the Preschool Teachers Attitudes and Beliefs about Science scale (P-TABS). In addition, the project is conducting interviews and observations in the 10 classrooms where teachers are implementing the curriculum units.

Next Generation Preschool Science: An Innovative Program to Facilitate Young Children's Learning of Science Practices and Concepts

Using Math Pathways and Pitfalls to Promote Algebra Readiness

This project that creates a set of materials for middle grades students and teacher professional development that would support the learning of early algebra. Building on their prior work with an elementary version, the efficacy study focuses on the implementation of the principals underlying the materials, fidelity of use of the materials, and impact on students' learning.

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
1314416
Funding Period: 
Tue, 10/01/2013 - Sat, 09/30/2017
Full Description: 

Using Math Pathways & Pitfalls to Promote Algebra Readiness is a 4-year Full Research and Development project that creates a set of materials for middle grades students and teacher professional development that would support the learning of early algebra. Building on their prior work with an elementary version, the efficacy study focuses on the implementation of the principals underlying the materials, fidelity of use of the materials, and impact on students' learning.

The project's goals are to: 1) develop an MPP book and companion materials dedicated to algebra readiness content and skills, 2) investigate how MPP transforms pedagogical practices to improve students' algebra readiness and metacognitive skills, and 3) validate MPP's effectiveness for improving students' algebra readiness with a large-scale randomized controlled trial.

The iterative design and efficacy studies produce research-based materials to increase student learning of core concepts in algebra readiness. Though the focus of the project is algebra readiness, the study also examines the validity of the pedagogical approach of MPP. The MPP lesson structures are designed to help students confront common misconceptions, dubbed "pitfalls," through sense-making, class discussions, and the use of multiple visual representations. If the pedagogical approach of MPP proves to be successful, the lesson structures can be presented as an effective framework for instruction that extends to other content areas in mathematics and other disciplines.

The project addresses a critical need in education, and the potential impact is large. Math achievement in the U.S. is not keeping pace with international performance. The current project focuses on algebra readiness skills, an area that is critical for future success in mathematics. Algebra often serves as a gatekeeper to more advanced mathematics, and performance in algebra has been linked to success in college and long-term earnings potential. Longitudinal studies indicate that students taking rigorous high school mathematics courses are twice as likely to graduate from college as those who do not. Thus, adequately preparing students for algebra can dramatically affect educational outcomes for students. The current project broadens the participation of underrepresented groups of students in math and later science classes that require strong math skills. The intervention builds on materials and pedagogical techniques that have demonstrated positive outcomes for diverse students. The targeted districts have large samples of English language learners and students from groups traditionally underrepresented in STEM so that we may evaluate the impact of the intervention on these populations. At the end of the project, the publication quality materials will be readily available to teachers and districts through our website www.wested.org/mpp.

Using Math Pathways and Pitfalls to Promote Algebra Readiness

Inquiry Primed: An Intervention to Mitigate the Effects of Stereotype Threat in Science

This project investigates stereotype threat at the classroom level and in the context of inquiry-based instruction, in order to develop strategies and a related professional development course, using the principles of Universal Design for Learning, to help teachers learn how to mitigate stereotype threat.

Award Number: 
1313713
Funding Period: 
Sun, 09/15/2013 - Wed, 08/31/2016
Full Description: 

Inquiry Primed: An Intervention to Mitigate the Effects of Stereotype Threat is an Exploratory Project in the Teacher Strand of DRK-12 that investigates stereotype threat at the classroom level and in the context of inquiry-based instruction, in order to develop strategies and a related professional development course, using the principles of Universal Design for Learning, to help teachers learn how to mitigate stereotype threat.

The project includes three major activities:

1) An experimental study testing the hypothesis that the influences of stereotype threat on individual students affects instructional processes for the class as a whole: Research participants include three teachers from 3 different school districts in Massachusetts, each with four 8th grade science classes, for a total sample of 12 science classes and approximately 300 students. The two treatment conditions (stereotype threat induced vs. not induced) are applied blindly to three classroom groups over a series of six lessons. The project uses existing surveys for gathering data, including "Communicative Interactions", RTOP subscales, subscales of the Constructivist Learning Environment Survey (CLES), and a brief student questionnaire measuring domain salience (e.g., self ranking of degree of participation in class). The analysis is conducted using Ordinary Least Squares (OLS) regression, with predictions of classroom instructional processes based on treatment condition, percentage of students in stereotyped group, and domain salience.

2) Collaboration with teachers as co-researchers to translate research findings into classroom practices and a prototype online professional development course: Three middle school teachers who participated in Study 1 serve as co-researchers, using the Universal Design for Learning model. The product is a prototype, online professional development modules that include self-paced presentations, small group facilitated discussions, asynchronous discussions, and live webcasts with experts, all focused on how teachers can implement strategies to mitigate stereotype threat in their practice. The design elements will be assessed in terms of clarity, accessibility, use, value, and promise.

3) Pilot testing of three professional development modules: The professional development component (via communities of practice) supports classroom teachers as they incorporate these strategies into their daily activities. The three teachers involved in the original study and design of modules participate in a six-week pilot study of the online professional development course, anticipated to consist of three modules, with teachers participating 3-4 hours per week. The course is evaluated through observations of professional development interactions (synchronous and asynchronous), interviews, implementation strategies, Moodle Electronic Usage Logs, online discussions, and a questionnaire. Descriptive statistics and regression analysis are used to seek predictors of use and contributions by teacher characteristics.

The project contributes critical knowledge about stereotype threat, a construct shown to contribute to disparities in achievement in STEM education. The outcomes of the project will include research findings that are to be submitted to science education research journals for publication; a prototype, online teacher professional development course on mitigating stereotype threat in STEM education classrooms; and dissemination of the course to teachers who are part of the CAST and Minority Student Achievement Networks.

Inquiry Primed: An Intervention to Mitigate the Effects of Stereotype Threat in Science
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