Implementation

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.

Fidelity of Implementation Webinar

Event Date: 
Wed, 07/07/2010 - 12:00pm to 1:30pm
Sponsoring Organization: 
Event Contact: 

This webinar will describe work conducted at the Center for Elementary Mathematics and Science Education reform that focuses on the development of a suite of instruments for measuring fidelity of implementation (FOI) across multiple programs. The webinar will include a description of CEMSE’s conceptual framework that underlies the FOI measurement approach and then will show how that approach is operationalized via a critical component approach to FOI measurement.

Discipline / Topic: 
Event Type: 

Urban Middle Grades Mathematics Curriculum Implementation

Presenter(s): 
Karen D. King
Monica Mitchell
Candace Barriteau Phair
Jessica Tybursky
Contact Info: 
Target Audience: 
Presentation Type: 

CAREER: A Study of Strategies and Social Processes That Facilitate the Participation of Latino English Language Learners in Elementary Mathematics Classroom Communities

The project aims to: (1) study resources and strategies for teachers that will facilitate participation of 3rd grade Latino English Language Learners (ELLs) in the mathematics classrooms; (2) develop related teacher professional development (PD) materials; and (3) integrate research and teaching activities. The basic research question is: How can 3rd grade teachers facilitate better mathematics instruction for ELLs?

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
0844556
Funding Period: 
Wed, 07/15/2009 to Mon, 06/30/2014
Full Description: 

The project aims to: (1) study resources and strategies for teachers that will facilitate participation of 3rd grade Latino English Language Learners (ELLs) in the mathematics classrooms; (2) develop related teacher professional development (PD) materials; and (3) integrate research and teaching activities. The basic research question is: How can 3rd grade teachers facilitate better mathematics instruction for ELLs? The PI will conduct a longitudinal study with teachers over three years in nine third-grade classrooms involving 20 Latino ELLs in each classroom. Data (district-administered assessments, one-on-one formal interviews, classroom artifacts, brief conversations with children following the videotaped lessons) will be collected from multiple sources including the use of head-mounted cameras to videotape classroom social processes. Also, existing research base and data from the nine classrooms will be used to develop, test, and publish PD materials for pre-service and practicing elementary teachers. The integrated education activities will have a direct impact on the design of University of Missouri Teacher Development Program, Masters Programs, TESOL Certification Program, and Mathematics Education Doctoral Program as well as local schools. The proposed project is qualitative. Teachers will also participate in a three-year professional development on ELL strategies and use classroom activities in the fall semester that are designed to assist 3rd grade Latinos acquire mathematical competence on various aspects of the number sense strand of the mathematics curriculum. All the relevant instruments will be collected and analyzed. Findings from the proposed research and integrated research/education activities will expand the knowledge base in the fields of elementary mathematics education and multilingual education.

The project research and education activities will inform our understanding of effective strategies in mathematics classrooms that will influence learning processes and ultimately student outcomes relevant to Latino ELLs and potentially other groups of underrepresented students. Findings from the project will promote effective teaching and learning of mathematics at the elementary level and will be broadly disseminated to students, teachers, teacher educators, and education researchers throughout the U.S. The PI will create a vehicle (i.e., PD materials) for U.S. elementary teachers to discuss critical issues related to engaging a group of students that have typically been non-participants in mathematics classrooms and potentially facilitate more effective participation for this growing population.

Data Games: Tools and Materials for Learning Data Modeling (Collaborative Research: Finzer)

The Data Games project has developed software and curriculum materials in which data generated by students playing computer games form the raw material for mathematics classroom activities. Students play a short video game, analyze the game data, develop improved strategies, and test their strategies in another round of the game.

Project Email: 
Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
0918735
Funding Period: 
Tue, 09/01/2009 to Fri, 08/31/2012
Project Evaluator: 
James Hammerman
Full Description: 

Students playing computer games generate large quantities of rich, interesting, highly variable data that mostly evaporate when the game ends. What if in a classroom setting, data from games students played remained accessible to them for analysis? In software and curriculum materials developed by the Data Games project at UMass Amherst and KCP Technologies, data generated by students playing computer games form the raw material for mathematics classroom activities. Students play a short video game, analyze the game data, develop improved strategies, and try their strategies in another round of the game.

 

The video games are embedded in an online data analysis learning environment that is based on desktop software tools Fathom® Dynamic Data and Tinkerplots® Dynamic Data Exploration, widely used in grades 5–8 and 8–14 respectively. The game data appear in graphs and tables in real time, allowing several cycles of strategy improvement in a short time. The games are designed so that these cycles improve understanding of specific data modeling and/or mathematics concepts.

 

The research strand of the Data Games project focuses on students’ creation of data representations that model a real-world context. Findings from this research have been incorporated into the design of the data structures in the software.

Diagnostic E-learning Trajectories Approach (DELTA) Applied to Rational Number Reasoning for Grades 3-8

This project aims to develop a software diagnostic tool for integrating diagnostic interviews, group administered assessments, and student data in real-time so that teachers can enter and view student status information. This project would concentrate on rational number learning in grades 3-8. The design is based on a model of learning trajectories developed from existing research studies.

Project Email: 
Award Number: 
0733272
Funding Period: 
Sat, 09/01/2007 to Tue, 08/31/2010
Project Evaluator: 
William Penuel (SRI)
Full Description: 

This project aims to develop a software diagnostic tool for integrating diagnostic interviews, group administered assessments, and student data in real-time so that teachers can enter and view student status information. This project would concentrate on rational number learning in grades 3-8. The design is based on a model of learning trajectories developed from existing research studies.

The diagnostic system to be developed for teachers would be used in assessing their students' knowledge and would identify difficulties in understanding five key clusters of concepts and skills in rational number reasoning. It would also investigate the diagnostic system's effects on student and teacher learning in relation to state standards, assessments, and curricular programs. The five areas include understanding: (1) multiplicative and division space; (2) fractions, ratio, proportion and rates; (3) rectangular area and volume; (4) decimals and percents; and (5) similarity and scaling.

The diagnostic measures will include diagnostic interviews collecting data using a handheld computer, two types of group-administered assessments of student progress, one set along learning trajectories for each of the five sub-constructs and one composite measurement per grade. The diagnostic system will produce computer-based progress maps, summarizing individual student and class performance and linking to state assessments.

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

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