Conference

U.S. National Commission for Mathematics Instruction -- A Conference Grant

This project will include activities such as workshops, conferences and symposia designed to further develop the field of mathematics instruction both nationally and internationally. Specifically, the grant will support (1) a workshop on Chinese and U.S. teacher preparation; (2) a workshop on international comparative assessments in mathematics; and (3) a workshop on challenges in non-university Tertiary Mathematics Education.

Lead Organization(s): 
Partner Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
0638656
Funding Period: 
Thu, 03/15/2007 to Mon, 02/28/2011
Full Description: 

The U.S. National Commission for Mathematics Instruction (USNC-MI) of the National Academy of Sciences requests a conference grant to support the Commission on cooperative research and educational activities across international boundaries. The activities include workshops, conferences and symposia designed to further develop the field of mathematics instruction both nationally and internationally. Specifically, the grant will support (1) a workshop on Chinese and U.S. teacher preparation; (2) a workshop on international comparative assessments in mathematics; and (3) a workshop on challenges in non-university Tertiary Mathematics Education.

How Do Induction and Continuing Professional Development Affect Beginning Middle School Math Teachers' Instruction and Student Achievement?

This project will study the impact and effect of the use of induction for first year middle grades mathematics teachers in three districts in Tennessee and Kentucky, including rural and urban settings. The purpose of this project is to study the links of components of induction to improved instruction and student achievement.

Lead Organization(s): 
Partner Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
0554434
Funding Period: 
Tue, 08/01/2006 to Sun, 07/31/2011
Full Description: 

This project will study the impact and effect of the use of induction for first year middle grades mathematics teachers in three districts in Tennessee and Kentucky, including rural and urban settings. The purpose of this proposal is to study the links of components of induction to improved instruction and student achievement. In the first year the team will develop a conceptual framework for the study of the induction process and adapt and refine a coherent, integrated set of research instruments. During the course of the project they will 1) draft the instruments; 2) validate these ideas and findings through focus groups; 3) hold a working conference to share ideas, and to assess the face and content validity of the instruments and 4) conduct two rounds of cognitive interviews to refine the instruments. In years two to five they will study the sources of support for new math teachers' content and pedagogical content knowledge development, including mentorship, formal and informal interactions with other teachers and other aspects of school and district induction. They will build on earlier work to explore how the quality of these supports influences the development of middle school math teachers' content and pedagogical content knowledge, the content and quality of their instruction and their students' achievement. They will initiate a longitudinal study of all new middle school math teachers in each of three districts (estimated at 15 new teachers per district), using their portfolio of research instruments. In the second and third years of the longitudinal study, they will add an additional cohort of beginning teachers in each district as well as continue to follow the teachers who they began to study the prior year, for a total of 135 teachers across the four-year longitudinal study.

CAREER: Examining the Role of Context in the Mathematical Learning of Young Children

This project involves a longitudinal, ethnographic study of children's mathematical performances from preschool to first grade in both formal classroom settings and informal settings at school and home. The study seeks to identify opportunities for mathematical learning, to map varied performances of mathematical competence, to chart changes in mathematical performance over time, and to design and assess the impact of case studies for teacher education.

Award Number: 
1461468
Funding Period: 
Mon, 06/15/2009 to Tue, 05/31/2011
Full Description: 

This project involves a longitudinal, ethnographic study of children's mathematical performances from preschool to first grade in both formal classroom settings and informal settings at school and home. The proposed site for the study is a small, predominately African-American pk-12 school. The study seeks to identify opportunities for mathematical learning by young children across multiple contexts, to map varied performances of mathematical competence by young children, to chart changes in young children's mathematical performance over time, and to design and assess the impact of case studies for teacher education that explore young children's mathematical competencies. Research questions focus on mathematical opportunities for learning in various contexts, children's development of knowledge, skills, and dispositions over time, the characteristics of competent mathematical performances, and the role of case studies in helping beginning teachers to understand young minority children's mathematical thinking. Data collected will include video tapes of classroom activities, written fieldnotes of formal and informal settings, student work, parent focus group transcripts, and children's interview performances. Analysis will involve both thematic coding and construction of case studies. The overarching goal of this project is to transform the ways that researchers think about and study the mathematical learning of young minority children as well as the quality of schooling these children experience.

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.

Content Mentoring and Its Impact on Middle Grades Mathematics and Science Teacher Effectiveness

This project tests whether mentoring middle school science and math teachers by University Ph.D. STEM faculty has a positive effect on the teachers' understanding of science, their teaching ability and the learning outcomes of their students. The goal of this research study is to strengthen the theoretical underpinning of best practices in middle grades math and science teaching and to enhance the knowledge base for teacher recruitment, preparation, induction and retention.

Award Number: 
0554441
Funding Period: 
Sat, 07/01/2006 to Thu, 06/30/2011

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.

Project Email: 
Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
0554594
Funding Period: 
Tue, 08/01/2006 to Sun, 07/31/2011
Full Description: 

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.  

Design and Use of Illustrations in Test Items as a Form of Accommodation for English Language Learners in Science and Mathematics Assessment

This project investigates how vignette illustrations minimize the impact of limited English proficiency on student performance in science tests. Different analyses will determine whether and how ELL and non-ELL students differ significantly on the ways they use vignettes to make sense of items; whether the use of vignettes reduces test-score differences due to language factors between ELL and non-ELL students; and whether the level of distance of the items moderates the effectiveness of vignette-illustrated items.

Lead Organization(s): 
Partner Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
0822362
Funding Period: 
Mon, 09/01/2008 to Sun, 08/12/2012
Full Description: 

This exploratory project within the Contextual Strand (Challenge a) addresses validity in the assessment of science and mathematics for English language learners (ELLs), and the urgent need for effective testing accommodations for ELLs. Motivation for this investigation originated from a previous, NSF-funded project on the testing of ELLs. We observed that items which were accompanied by illustrations tended to be responded correctly by a higher percentage of students than items without illustrations. We will investigate the factors that are relevant to designing and using a new form of accommodation in the assessment of science and mathematics for ELLs—vignette illustrations.

This three-year project will be guided by four research questions: What principles underlie the effective design of science and mathematics test items with illustrations in ways that minimize limited English proficiency as a factor that prevents ELLs from understanding the items? Is the presence of an illustration a moderator in students’ understanding test items? If so, Is the effect due to the simple presence of a graphical component or due to characteristics of the illustrations that are created based on principled design? Does the presence of an illustration have a different effect on the performance of ELLs and the performance of non-ELL students?

We expect to be able to: 1) identify the role of illustrations in the cognitive activities elicited by vignette-illustrated items; 2) determine whether any differences between performance on vignette-illustrated items and other kinds of items are due to the this form of accommodation’s capacity to address language as a construct-irrelevant factor; 3) identify the set of practical and methodological issues that are critical to properly developing and using vignette-illustrated items; and 4) propose a set of documents and procedures for the systematic and cost-effective design and development of vignette-illustrated items. 

We will test ELL and non-ELL students with items of three types (vignette-illustrated items whose illustrations are designed systematically, vignette-illustrated items whose illustrations are created arbitrarily, and items without illustrations) at two levels of distance to the enacted curriculum (close and distal). Diverse forms of analysis will allow us to determine whether and how ELL and non-ELL students differ on the ways in which they use vignettes to make sense of items, whether the use of vignettes reduces test score differences due to language factors between ELL and non-ELL students, and whether the level of distance of the items moderates the effectiveness of vignette-illustrated items.

Intellectual merit. This project will provide information that will help to advance our understanding in two assessment arenas: effective accommodations for ELLs, and item development practices. While illustrations are frequently used in test items, there is not guidance in the assessment development literature on how to approach illustrations. Furthermore, the value of illustrations as a resource for ensuring that ELL students understand what a given item is about and what the item asks them to do has not been systematically investigated. Semiotics, cognitive psychology, and linguistics and socio-cultural theory are brought together to develop systematic procedures for developing illustrations as visual supports in tests. Understanding the role that images play in test taking is relevant to devising more effective ways of testing students. While this project aims to improve testing accommodations practices for ELLs, knowledge gained from it will inform test development practices relevant to all student populations.

Broader impact. We expect outcomes of this project to contribute to enhanced practice in both classroom and large-scale assessment. The push for including ELLs in large-scale testing programs with accountability purposes is not corresponded by effective testing accommodation practices. Many testing accommodations used by national and state assessment programs are not defensible, are not effective, or are improperly implemented. Vignette illustrations have the potential to become a low-cost, easy-to-implement form of testing accommodation for ELLs. Results form this investigation will allow us to identify a set of principles for the proper design and use of vignette illustrations as a form of testing accommodation for ELLs. The project is important not only because it explores the potential of an innovative form of accommodation but because it uses a systematic procedure for designing that form of accommodation.

National Conference on Benchmarking Student Evaluation Practices

This conference uses Student Evaluation Standards, published by the Joint Committee on Standards for Educational Evaluation, to engage a broad array of educational organizations in improving student achievement in STEM education through better evaluation practices that assess for learning. Participants learn more about the Student Evaluation Standards and use them together with a benchmarking process - distributed to them in the form of a toolkit - to enhance student evaluation processes.

Lead Organization(s): 
Partner Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
0736491
Funding Period: 
Sat, 03/01/2008 to Mon, 02/28/2011

Identifying Critical Characteristics of Effective Feedback Practices in Science and Mathematics Education

This project will define and synthesize effective feedback strategies that can be linked to specific features of daily classroom assessment practices. It will develop a framework, including a conceptual strand (will conceptualize feedback practice considering intrinsic and contextual dimensions) and a methodological strand (used to describe and evaluate the feedback studies and findings to be synthesized). The framework will provide a shared language within and across multiple forms of research in various disciplines.

Award Number: 
0822373
Funding Period: 
Thu, 01/01/2009 to Fri, 12/31/2010
Project Evaluator: 
Advisory board members
Full Description: 

 

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