Database

Improving Competency in Elementary Science Teaching

This project provides elementary teachers, grades 3-5 with a pedagogical framework and related resources for distinguishing quality science teaching. The study focuses on developing and testing a framework, the Quality Science Teaching Continuum (QSTC), to determine its capacity to serve as a potent formative and collaborative tool with which teachers can reflect on their science teaching practices and recognize student behaviors that are indicators of engagement and science learning.

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
1317068
Funding Period: 
Mon, 07/01/2013 to Tue, 06/30/2015
Full Description: 

This Stanford University project provides elementary teachers, grades 3-5 with a pedagogical framework and related resources for distinguishing quality science teaching. The study focuses on developing and testing a framework, the Quality Science Teaching Continuum (QSTC), to determine its capacity to serve as a potent formative and collaborative tool with which teachers can reflect on their science teaching practices and recognize student behaviors that are indicators of engagement and science learning. The project includes an intensive professional development (PD) that will accompany the instrument designed to develop teachers' understanding of (1) pedagogy, (2) science process and content, (3) community building, and (4) use of QSTC to improve classroom instruction and student engagement.

Teachers will be videotaped during classroom science instruction at various points in the two-year process, and the resulting digital library of teaching videos provides an ongoing reference resource for teachers and others when reflecting on their practice. The project provides a proof of concept and examines the use of a specific, formative, integrative instrument, the QSTC, within an immersive teacher professional development program.

Core Math Tools

This project is developing Core Math Tools, a suite of Java-based software including a computer algebra system (CAS), interactive geometry, statistics, and simulation tools together with custom apps for exploring specific mathematical or statistical topics. Core Math Tools is freely available to all learners, teachers, and teacher educators through a dedicated portal at the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) web site.

Lead Organization(s): 
Partner Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
1201917
Funding Period: 
Sun, 01/15/2012 to Mon, 12/31/2012
Project Evaluator: 
David Barnes, NCTM
Full Description: 

Core Math Tools is a project from Western Michigan University that meets the urgent need of providing mathematical tools that students can use as they explore and learn mathematical concepts that are aligned with the Common Core State Standards in Mathematics (CCSSM). The developers have repurposed and modified tools originally designed for an NSF-funded curriculum project (e.g., Core-Plus Mathematics), creating a suite of tools that supports student learning of mathematics regardless of the curricula choice. Core math Tools is Java-based software that includes a computer algebra system(CAS, interactive geometry, statistics, and simulation tools together with custom apps for exploring specific mathematical and statistical topics. The designers provide exemplary lessons illustrating how the software can be used in the spirit of the new CCSSM. The goal of the project is to provide equitable and easy access to mathematical software both in school and outside of school. The tools are available to all learners and teachers through the web site of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM). The web site includes feedback loops for teachers to provide information about the tools. By using the NCTM website, the tools can be downloaded for use by teachers and students. The dedicated portal on the NCTM website allows supervisors to use the tools in professional development, teachers to use the tools as an integral part of instruction, and students to use the tools for exploring, conjecturing, and problem solving.

Measuring the Effects of a School-Based, Data-Driven Professional Learning Model for Raising Secondary Mathematics Achievement

This project is designing and implementing a professional development model that uses data from the Surveys of Enacted Curriculum (SEC) to improve mathematics instruction at the high school level.

Award Number: 
1020310
Funding Period: 
Tue, 03/01/2011 to Thu, 02/28/2013
Project Evaluator: 
WestEd
Full Description: 

The Surveys of Enacted Curriculum Professional Development Model (SECPDM) project, at RMC Research Corporation in Oregon, is designing and implementing a professional development model that uses data from the Surveys of Enacted Curriculum (SEC) to improve mathematics instruction at the high school level. Teachers participating in the professional development work together at the school level to learn how to use the data gathered through the SEC to align their curriculum with state and district standards. The teachers work in professional development communities within schools to better understand the content embedded in curriculum materials and assessments, and to be able to use that understanding to improve their daily instruction.

The SEC collects data from K-12 teachers of mathematics, science, and English language arts on course content and instructional practices. Using this data, one can determine the alignment between instruction in a specific school and state standards or assessments. Efforts to use the SEC data for school improvement have been hampered by two key constraints: (1) The survey is lengthy and not easy to complete and (2) The results provide a year-end summary that does not reach teachers in time to adjust instruction for the current year. The SECPDM project is designing a teacher log system in which teachers enter brief reports more frequently and get useful feedback throughout the year. The project is also designing and conducting professional development that will help teachers learn to use the data and feedback to align their instruction with state standards, and it is helping teachers build professional development communities within their schools. This project includes teachers in Ohio, New York, and Oregon. The project is conducting a quasi-experimental research study to test the hypothesis that if a critical mass of mathematics teachers collaboratively implements the professional development plan, then (1) the mathematics courses will be better articulated and aligned with state standards and assessments, (2) teachers will improve their instructional practices, and (3) student achievement in mathematics will increase.

The SECPDM project has the potential to improve the use of the Survey of Enacted Curriculum (SEC) by making the data entry process easier for teachers and the survey data more useful. By piloting this model of professional development and analyzing their findings, the project is making a significant step towards improving the alignment of the mathematics curriculum in high schools, helping teachers use the SEC data to inform instruction, and improving student achievement in mathematics.

Models of Professional Development for Mathematics Teachers

This project is conducting a comprehensive study of professional development models designed for mathematics teachers in grades K-12. The research team will identify key constructs and frameworks within professional development programs and identify types of professional development models. The goals of the project are to encourage researchers and professional developers to reconceptualize mathematics professional development, develop a shared language, and renew discussions on effective professional development for teachers of mathematics.

Partner Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
1019934
Funding Period: 
Sun, 08/15/2010 to Tue, 07/31/2012
Full Description: 

The Models of Professional Development for Mathematics Teachers project is conducting a comprehensive study of professional development models designed for mathematics teachers in grades K-12. The research team will identify key constructs and frameworks within professional development programs and identify types of professional development models. The goals of the project are to encourage researchers and professional developers to reconceptualize mathematics professional development, develop a shared language, and renew discussions on effective professional development for teachers of mathematics. The project team includes faculty and students at North Carolina State University and a research scientist at American Institutes for Research. The project team is coding and analyzing descriptive data on mathematics professional development (MPD) gathered from studying mathematics teacher education research literature. They are also conducting interviews with authors of the studies they have identified. The project is investigating the general question: What are the various models used by mathematics teacher educators when designing and implementing mathematics professional development? Specifically, they are asking: 1. What are similarities and differences across goals, theoretical frameworks, contexts and structures that exist in the design of MPD offered to K-12 teachers? 2. How does the field name and define various characteristics of MPD? 3. How can the characteristics of the various MPD designs be grouped into meaningful models? What are the main elements that define these models? The researchers hope that their efforts to describe models of professional development will help educators to move away from professional development designed around a few salient features and move toward professional development models that contain a theoretical framework and coherent features that work together. They want professional developers and researchers to use a common language to study and assess professional development. Their analysis of existing professional development projects in mathematics teaching will offer the following outcomes: 1. An empirically established definition of characteristics and models of MPD, with explanations of the various elements that comprise these models. 2. A coding protocol for use in the classification of MPD models and the organization of current information about existing MPD. 3. A theoretical framework for organizing knowledge about MPD that can foster new ways to think about these models in the design of innovative MPD for teachers. 4. A set of research-related innovations such as new hypotheses for studying MPD, new approaches to testing the explanatory and predictive validity of various features of professional development, and new formats for describing the state of the art in MPD. 5. Concepts that can support a revision of what is meant by best practices or effective features of MPD. 6. An open-source, web-based, searchable database with descriptions of various MPD. This exploratory project will provide an opportunity for the mathematics education field to learn more about professional development and approaches to conducting research on professional development.

Achievements and Challenges of Modeling-based Instruction (ACMI) in Science Education: from 1980 to 2009

This project will synthesize existing literature on modeling-based instruction (MBI) in K-12 science education over the last three decades. It will rigorously code and examine the literature to conceptualize the landscape of the theoretical frameworks of MBI approaches, identify the effective design features of modeling-based learning environments with an emphasis on technology-enhanced ones, and identify the most effective MBI practices that are associated with successful student learning through a meta-analysis.

Award Number: 
1019866
Funding Period: 
Thu, 07/15/2010 to Sat, 06/30/2012
Full Description: 

The University of Georgia will carry out a two-year Synthesis Project that aims to provide a comprehensive review of the research and practices for modeling-based instruction (MBI) in K-12 science education. The project will synthesize existing literature on MBI in K-12 science education over the last three decades. It will rigorously code and examine the literature to conceptualize the landscape of the theoretical frameworks of MBI approaches, identify the effective design features of modeling-based learning environments with an emphasis on technology-enhanced ones, and identify the most effective MBI practices that are associated with successful student learning through a meta-analysis.

The project will build a systematic and analytic framework to conceptualize MBI, recommend best design strategies of technology-based modeling environments, evaluate MBI teacher professional development strategies associated with improved student learning, and propose appropriate assessment strategies created to evaluate and inform MBI. In addition to the comprehensive analysis of the theory and design of MBI, a meta-analysis will study the four components of student learning: theory, design, implementation, and assessment. Based on qualified quantitative studies, an examination of the four components will be made to evaluate how different empirical studies have established their effectiveness, examine the correlations among key components, and chart the impact of associated factors on student learning.

Introducing Dynamic Number as a Transformative Technology for Number and Early Algebra

This project operationalizes research in number, operation, and early algebra. It builds on the paradigm of Dynamic Geometry (the interactive and continuous manipulation of geometric shapes and constructions) with a new technological paradigm, Dynamic Number, centered on the direct manipulation of numerical representations and constructions. Using The Geometer’s Sketchpad as a starting point, KCP Technologies is developing new software tools to deepen students’ conceptions of number and early algebra in grades 2–8.

Project Email: 
Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
0918733
Funding Period: 
Tue, 09/01/2009 to Fri, 08/31/2012
Project Evaluator: 
John Olive

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

Enhanced Earth System Teaching Through Regional and Local (ReaL) Earth Inquiry

The ReaL Earth Inquiry project empowers teachers to employ real-world local and regional Earth system science in the classroom. Earth systems science teachers need the pedagogic background, the content, and the support that enables them to engage students in asking real questions about their own communities. The project is developing online "Teacher-Friendly Guides" (resources), professional development involving fieldwork, and inquiry-focused approaches using "virtual fieldwork experiences."  

Award Number: 
0733303
Funding Period: 
Wed, 08/15/2007 to Sat, 07/31/2010
Project Evaluator: 
BridgeWater Education Consulting LLC
Full Description: 

This recruitment and informational video provides an overview of the ReaL Earth Inquiry Project. 

Dynamic Geometry in Classrooms

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.

Project Email: 
Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
0918744
Funding Period: 
Tue, 09/01/2009 to Sat, 08/31/2013
Project Evaluator: 
Ed Dickey
Full Description: 

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.

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