Fidelity

Efficacy Study of Metropolitan Denver's Urban Advantage Program: A Project to Improve Scientific Literacy Among Urban Middle School Students

This is an efficacy study to determine if partnerships among formal and informal organizations demonstrate an appropriate infrastructure for improving science literacy among urban middle school science students. The study aims to answer the following questions: How does participation in the program affect students' science knowledge, skills, and attitudes toward science; teachers' science knowledge, skills, and abilities; and families engagement in and support for their children's science learning and aspirations?

Award Number: 
1020386
Funding Period: 
Wed, 09/15/2010 to Wed, 08/31/2011
Project Evaluator: 
Maggie Miller
Full Description: 

This is an efficacy study through which the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, the Denver Zoo, the Denver Botanic Gardens, and three of Denver's urban school districts join efforts to determine if partnerships among formal and informal organizations demonstrate an appropriate infrastructure for improving science literacy among urban middle school science students. The Metropolitan Denver Urban Advantage (UA Denver) program is used for this purpose. This program consists of three design elements: (a) student-driven investigations, (b) STEM-related content, and (c) alignment of schools and informal science education institutions; and six major components: (a) professional development for teachers, (b) classroom materials and resources, (c) access to science-rich organizations, (d) outreach to families, (e) capacity building and sustainability, and (e) program assessment and student learning. Three research questions guide the study: (1) How does the participation in the program affect students' science knowledge, skills, and attitudes toward science relative to comparison groups of students? (2) How does the participation in the program affect teachers' science knowledge, skills, and abilities relative to comparison groups of teachers? and (3) How do families' participation in the program affect their engagement in and support for their children's science learning and aspirations relative to comparison families?

The study's guiding hypothesis is that the UA Denver program should improve science literacy in urban middle school students measured by (a) students' increased understanding of science, as reflected in their science investigations or "exit projects"; (b) teachers' increased understanding of science and their ability to support students in their exit projects, as documented by classroom observations, observations of professional development activities, and surveys; and (c) school groups' and families' increased visits to participating science-based institutions, through surveys. The study employs an experimental research design. Schools are randomly assigned to either intervention or comparison groups and classrooms will be the units of analysis. Power analysis recommended a sample of 18 intervention and 18 comparison middle schools, with approximately 72 seventh grade science teachers, over 5,000 students, and 12,000 individual parents in order to detect differences among intervention and comparison groups. To answer the three research questions, data gathering strategies include: (a) students' standardized test scores from the Colorado Student Assessment Program, (b) students' pre-post science learning assessment using the Northwest Evaluation Association's Measures for Academic Progress (science), (c) students' pre-post science aspirations and goals using the Modified Attitude Toward Science Inventory, (d) teachers' fidelity of implementation using the Teaching Science as Inquiry instrument, and (e) classroom interactions using the Science Teacher Inquiry Rubric, and the Reformed Teaching Observation protocol. To interpret the main three levels of data (students, nested in teachers, nested within schools), hierarchical linear modeling (HLM), including HLM6 application, are utilized. An advisory board, including experts in research methodologies, science, informal science education, assessment, and measurement oversees the progress of the study and provides guidance to the research team. An external evaluator assesses both formative and summative aspects of the evaluation component of the scope of work.

The key outcome of the study is a research-informed and field-tested intervention implemented under specific conditions for enhancing middle school science learning and teaching, and supported by partnerships between formal and informal organizations.

Changing Curriculum, Changing Practice

This project is studying the impact of implementing a NSF-funded, high school mathematics curriculum that emphasizes mathematical habits of mind. This curriculum focuses on ways of thinking and doing mathematics in contrast with curricula that focus on mathematical topics. The project is studying the development of teachers' mathematical knowledge for teaching and their capacity to align their instruction with the new curriculum.

Award Number: 
1019945
Funding Period: 
Wed, 09/01/2010 to Fri, 08/31/2012
Full Description: 

The CME Project Mathematical Practices Implementation Study project (formerly called "Changing Curriculum, Changing Practice"), led by mathematics educators at the Education Development Center, is studying the impact of implementing a NSF-funded, high school mathematics curriculum that emphasizes mathematical habits of mind. This curriculum focuses on ways of thinking and doing mathematics in contrast with curricula that focus on mathematical topics. The project is studying the development of teachers' mathematical knowledge for teaching and their capacity to align their instruction with the new curriculum. The project includes a moderate level of professional development and the development of valid and reliable instruments to assess teachers' mathematical knowledge for teaching and their instructional practices.

This four-year, mixed-methods study is investigating the conjecture that high school teachers' implementation of a curriculum emphasizing mathematical habits of mind will lead to measurable changes in teachers' mathematical knowledge and their instruction. The investigators are also interested in the relationships among (1) teachers' prior knowledge, (2) their use of the curriculum and (3) the school-level support for implementation. The investigators are studying the implementation of the curriculum by 70 teachers in 12 schools that vary in socio-economic status of the students and geographic location. The research design includes observations of the instruction of a sub-sample of nine teachers to obtain a finer-grained measure of instructional practice. They are developing or adapting existing instruments that measure teachers' knowledge and alignment of instruction with the goals of teaching mathematical habits of mind. Using the Instructional Quality Assessment rubric during visits to the classroom, they are assessing students' opportunities to develop mathematical thinking skills. The use of mixed-methods approaches will allow the researchers to analyze the data from multiple perspectives.

This study is part of a long-term effort to help high school students develop specific mathematical habits of mind. The current study is building on previous curriculum development and also developing insights for future studies investigating students' adoption of mathematical habits of mind. The current project is an important effort to understand the roles teachers play in implementing curricular changes that have the potential for improving student achievement in mathematics. Teachers are the critical bridging agents who connect curriculum and learners. This study will help to explain how teachers' knowledge, teachers' instruction, and teachers' contexts within schools contribute to or detract from the faithful implementation of the goals intended by a curriculum. It will lay a foundation for understanding future efforts to assess what students learn and how they learn it.

Efficacy Study of Project-Based Inquiry Science

This research and development project examines the impact of the Project-Based Inquiry Science (PBIS) middle school science curriculum. The research questions explored will look into efficacy, implementation, and teacher practice. A unique feature of the study’s design is an analytic focus on the conditions needed to implement the curriculum in ways that improve student learning in light of the Framework for K-12 Science Education.

Award Number: 
1020407
Funding Period: 
Sun, 08/15/2010 to Fri, 07/31/2015
Full Description: 

This research and development project studies the impact of Project-Based Inquiry Science (PBIS) on 6th grade students in a large urban school district. PBIS is a comprehensive, 3-year middle school science curriculum that focuses on standards-based science content and that uses project-based inquiry science units to help students learn. NSF funded the development of PBIS over the past two decades, with major investments made in the design of materials and with associated teacher professional development designed to help teachers understand the content of the units and how to teach them. Prior small-scale studies of PBIS have shown positive impact on student achievement and motivation, and on teacher use of reform-based instruction. The research questions explored are:

1. Efficacy. What is the impact of PBIS on student learning? To what extent do students in PBIS perform better than non-PBIS students on measures of learning?
2. Enactment and teacher practice. What is the impact of the curriculum on teaching quality? What is the fidelity of classroom implementation? How does the depth and level of implementation relate to student outcomes?

The study involves both quantitative and qualitative methods; the use of an experimental design allows estimates of causal impacts when combining professional development with the curriculum materials. This is a randomized control trial to test the efficacy of PBIS in 42 middle schools and with ˜120 teachers (21 schools and ˜60 teachers per condition), and affecting approximately 8,500 6th grade students. The dependent variables for students include results on state-level achievement tests and measures of their ability to develop and use models and construct explanations in the context of the curriculum units. Mediational analysis measures the association between contextual factors such as fidelity of implementation and quality of the professional development experience and student learning, allowing a deeper understanding of results.

This work is critical to the ongoing effort to support standards-based curriculum reform in science. PBIS has enjoyed some success in urban settings with diverse groups of students, including those from historically underrepresented groups in science, and now moves to larger scale. This curriculum is among a small number of science curriculum initiatives that are at a stage in the research and development cycle where implementation efforts are focused on scaling to a broader range of schools and districts. The curriculum units are based on design principles drawn from theory and research on how students learn and are aligned with learning goals found in state and national standards. Moreover, its design reflects where the science education field is headed – teaching a few big ideas and integrating scientific practices. Project outcomes will provide evidence about the effects of a published and available inquiry-based science curriculum.

Conference on Research on the Enacted Mathematics Curriculum

The University of South Florida is hosting a conference on Research on the Enacted K-12 Mathematics Curriculum. The purpose of the conference is to explicate the theory on mathematics curriculum enactment, defining key constructs and explaining how they are expected to interact, and why, in order to facilitate the systematic accumulation of knowledge about mathematics curriculum enactment that can guide policy and practice.

Lead Organization(s): 
Partner Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
0946433
Funding Period: 
Thu, 04/01/2010 to Sat, 03/31/2012
Project Evaluator: 
Helena Miranda
Full Description: 

The University of South Florida is hosting a conference on Research on the Enacted K-12 Mathematics Curriculum. The purpose of the conference is to explicate the theory on mathematics curriculum enactment, defining key constructs and explaining how they are expected to interact, and why, in order to facilitate the systematic accumulation of knowledge about mathematics curriculum enactment that can guide policy and practice. The conference agenda builds on work of the Center for the Study of Mathematics Curriculum (CSMC) and work by NCTM to develop a research agenda for mathematics education. The conference proceedings will include the conceptual model developed during the conference, the priority research questions that were identified, and the instrument development agenda for addressing those questions.

CAREER: Supporting Students' Proof Practices Through Quantitative Reasoning in Algebra

The aim of this project is to explore the hypothesis that a curricular focus on quantitative reasoning in middle grades mathematics can enhance development of student skill and understanding about mathematical proof. The project is addressing that hypothesis through a series of studies that include small group teaching experiments with students, professional development work with teachers, and classroom field tests of curricular units that connect quantitative reasoning and proof in algebra.

Award Number: 
1743356
Funding Period: 
Mon, 03/15/2010 to Fri, 06/30/2017
Full Description: 

The aim of this CAREER project led by Amy Ellis at the University of Wisconsin is to explore the hypothesis that a curricular focus on quantitative reasoning in middle grades mathematics can enhance development of student skill and understanding about mathematical proof. The project is addressing that hypothesis through a series of studies that include small group teaching experiments with students, professional development work with teachers, and classroom field tests of curricular units that connect quantitative reasoning and proof in algebra.

Work of the project will produce: (a) insights into ways of unifying two previously disconnected lines of research on quantitative reasoning and proof; (b) models describing realistic ways to support development of students' proof competencies through quantitative reasoning; (c) improvement in students' understanding of algebra through engagement in proof practices based on quantitative reasoning; (d) insights into middle-school students' thinking as they negotiate the transition from elementary to more advanced mathematics; and (e) increased understanding of teachers' knowledge about proof and their classroom practices aimed at helping students progress towards understanding and skill in proof.

This project was previously funded under award #0952415.

The GENIQUEST (GENomics Inquiry through QUantitative Trait Loci Exploration with SAIL Technology): Bringing STEM Data to High School Classrooms

This project is developing and testing a website, software application, and supplemental instructional materials that use publicly accessible genomics data to foster scientific inquiry among high schools students. Outcomes for students and teachers include developing knowledge, skills, and understandings related to genetic inheritance; data investigation and analysis; the process of scientific inquiry; and collaboration.

Award Number: 
0733264
Funding Period: 
Sat, 09/15/2007 to Wed, 03/31/2010
Project Evaluator: 
none
Full Description: 

This project has been completed, and the final report is available.  Also available is the complete curriculum through Concord Consortium (www.concord.org).

Teachers' Use of Standards-based Instructional Materials

This study explores the ways middle school mathematics teachers implement standards-based curriculum materials in urban schools. It takes the view that instructional materials are cultural tools and examines how teachers use these tools to plan and implement the curriculum in their classrooms. The study is using a mixed methods approach that combines surveys of teachers in 30 schools in the Newark Public Schools district and closer observations of teachers in selected case schools.

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
0732184
Funding Period: 
Sat, 09/01/2007 to Fri, 08/31/2012
Project Evaluator: 
Ashaki Coleman

Mathematics Instruction Using Decision Science and Engineering Tools

A collaboration among educators, engineers, and mathematicians in three universities, this project is creating, implementing, and evaluating a one-year curriculum for teaching a non-calculus, fourth-year high school mathematics course and accompanied assessment instruments. The curriculum will draw on decision-making tools that include but go well beyond linear programming, to enhance student mathematical competence (particularly solving multi-step problems), improve students' attitudes toward mathematics, and promote states' adoption of the curriculum (initially NC and MI).

Project Email: 
Award Number: 
0733137
Funding Period: 
Sat, 09/15/2007 to Tue, 08/31/2010
Project Evaluator: 
Dr. Shlomo S. Sawilowsky
Full Description: 

Mathematics INstruction using Decision Science and Engineering Tools (MINDSET) is a collaboration among educators, engineers, and mathematicians at three universities to create, implement, and evaluate a new curriculum and textbook to teach standard mathematics concepts using math-based decision-making tools for a non-calculus fourth-year mathematics curriculum that several states now require and others may require in the near future. MINDSET has three goals: (1) enhancement of students’ mathematical ability, especially their ability to formulate and solve multi-step problems and interpret results; (2) improvement in students’ attitude toward mathematics, especially those from underrepresented groups, thereby motivating them to study mathematics; and (3) adoption of the curriculum initially in North Carolina and Michigan, then in other states.

Using decision-making tools from Operations Research and Industrial Engineering, we will develop a fourthyear high school curriculum in mathematics and support materials to teach standard content. Through a multi-state, multi-school district assessment, we will determine if a statistically significant improvement in students’ mathematical ability—particularly in multi-step problem solving and interpretation of results—and in motivation and attitude toward mathematics has occurred. Participating teachers will receive professional training, help to create a knowledge-based online community for support, and in-person and online technical assistance. Through extensive data collection and analysis, we will determine if this infrastructure is sustainable and sufficiently flexible to be reproduced and used by others.

Quality Cyber-enabled, Engineering Education Professional Development to Support Teacher Change and Student Achievement (E2PD)

In this project, a video and audio network links elementary school teachers with researchers and educators at Purdue to form a community of practice dedicated to implementing engineering education at the elementary grades. The research plan includes identifying the attributes of face-to-face and cyber-enabled teacher professional development and community building that can transform teachers into master users and designers of engineering education for elementary learners.

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
0822261
Funding Period: 
Mon, 09/15/2008 to Tue, 08/31/2010
Project Evaluator: 
Rose Marra, University of Missouri-Columbia

Applying Research on Science Materials Implementation: Bringing Measurement of Fidelity of Implementation (FOI) to Scale

This project is creating a suite of instruments for measuring fidelity of implementation of several science and mathematics instructional materials programs and a User's Guide for customizing those instruments to other programs. The instruments are grounded in a shared conceptual framework that organizes "critical components" that the programs share. The suite was piloted and field tested in over 50 schools in Chicago.
Lead Organization(s): 
Partner Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
0628052
Funding Period: 
Mon, 01/01/2007 to Wed, 06/30/2010

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