High School

Invigorating Statistics Teacher Education Through Professional Online Learning (InSTEP)

This project seeks to strengthen the teaching of statistics and data science in grades 6-12 through the design and implementation of an online professional learning environment for teachers. The professional learning environment aims to support in-service teachers in developing stronger content knowledge related to statistics, and knowledge of how to effectively teach statistics in their classrooms.

Project Email: 
Award Number: 
1908760
Funding Period: 
Thu, 08/01/2019 to Mon, 07/31/2023
Project Evaluator: 
Full Description: 

Implementing meaningful statistics education in middle and high schools has been a persistent challenge in the United States. Statistics and data science are critical domains for STEM careers and the general data literacy of the citizenry. This project seeks to strengthen the teaching of statistics and data science in grades 6-12 through the design and implementation of an online professional learning environment for teachers. The professional learning environment aims to support in-service teachers in developing stronger content knowledge related to statistics, and knowledge of how to effectively teach statistics in their classrooms. The project will also evaluate a model of professional development that integrates personalized online learning and microcredentialing (earning small-scale certifications) to better understand its effectiveness in supporting teacher learning. The project will draw from previous work to assemble online modules that engage teachers in doing high-quality statistics and data science tasks, the analysis of video of teachers' and students' work with those tasks, learning a pedagogical framework for teachers to implement the tasks, and exploring guidelines for identifying and developing high-quality statistics and data science tasks. The project will study teacher learning through the use of these modules, and the pathways that teachers choose through them to understand the effectiveness of the model.

The project builds on previous work by the investigators to develop research-based teacher professional development modules that support learning about statistics and statistics education in grades 6-12. Materials currently developed include a series of microcredentials with design features consistent with research on effective teacher professional development. They include opportunities for teachers to engage with statistics content appropriate to the target grade levels they teach, active learning opportunities that engage them with teachers in similar contexts, and a coherent focus that builds on the knowledge and experience teachers bring to the table. The project will take place in iterative phases, beginning with focus groups of middle and high school teachers and district leaders based on first drafts of the materials. This will be followed by cognitive interviews with teachers who engage in the microcredential ecosystem which will inform modifications to the system. Following this phase, cohorts of teachers (25 in the first cohort, 75 in the second) will participate in scaffolded professional development engagement with the materials, and will be assessed with respect to changes in their knowledge and practice. The project will assess changes in teacher knowledge using reliable and valid measures of statistics knowledge and practice. Data will be collected from the online platform regarding teacher engagement and usage to better understand usage and pathways through the materials. The professional learning platform will be made available as a free and open online source at the close of the project.

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Aligning the Science Teacher Education Pathway: A Networked Improvement Community

This project will study the activities of a Networked Improvement Community (NIC) as a vehicle to bridge gaps across four identified steps along the science teacher training and development pathways within local contexts of 8 participating universities. The overarching goal of the project is to strengthen the capacity of universities and school districts to reliably produce teachers of science who are knowledgeable about and can effectively enact the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), although prepared in varied organizational contexts.

Award Number: 
1908900
Funding Period: 
Mon, 07/01/2019 to Fri, 06/30/2023
Full Description: 

California State University will study the activities of a Networked Improvement Community (NIC) as a vehicle to bridge gaps across four identified steps along the science teacher training and development pathways within local contexts of 8 participating universities (NIC sites). Networked Improvement Community (NIC) will co-create a shared vision and co-defined research agenda between university researchers, science educators and school district practitioners working together to reform teacher education across a variety of local contexts. By studying outcomes of shared supports and teacher tools for use in multiple steps along the science teacher education pathway, researchers will map variation existing in the system and align efforts across the science teacher education pathway. This process will integrate an iterative nature of educational change in local contexts impacting enactment of the NGSS in both university teacher preparation programs and in school district professional training activities and classrooms.

The overarching goal of the project is to strengthen the capacity of universities and school districts to reliably produce teachers of science who are knowledgeable about and can effectively enact the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), although prepared in varied organizational contexts. The project will accomplish this goal 1) leveraging the use of an established Networked Improvement Community, composed of science education faculty from eight university campuses and by 2) improving and studying coherence in the steps along the science teacher education pathway within and across these universities and school districts. The project will use a mixed methods approach to data collection and analysis. Consistent with Improvement Science Theory, research questions will be co-defined by all stakeholders.

Building a Teacher Knowledge Base for the Implementation of High-Quality Instructional Resources through the Collaborative Investigation of Video Cases (Collaborative Research: Murray)

This project will address the pressing national need to generate shared, practice-based knowledge about how to implement freely available, high-quality instructional resources (mathematics formative assessment lessons) that have been shown to produce significant gains in student learning outcomes. It will expand a professional development model (Analyzing Instruction in Mathematics using the Teaching for Robust Understanding Framework (AIM-TRU)) that supports teacher learning about effective lesson implementation.

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
1908319
Funding Period: 
Mon, 07/01/2019 to Fri, 06/30/2023
Full Description: 

This project will address the pressing national need to generate shared, practice-based knowledge about how to implement freely available, high-quality instructional resources (mathematics formative assessment lessons) that have been shown to produce significant gains in student learning outcomes. It will expand a professional development model (Analyzing Instruction in Mathematics using the Teaching for Robust Understanding Framework (AIM-TRU)) that supports teacher learning about effective lesson implementation. The backbone of AIM-TRU is a growing, open repository of video cases available to teachers and teacher educators across the U.S. who use or are interested in using the lessons. The repository will include tools such as a facilitator's guide to support teachers and teacher educators to engage in the model and collaboratively investigate the video cases. Consequently, the work will have the potential to engage teachers and teacher educators in improving mathematics education at scale. Because the video cases will capture implementation and ideas for improving instruction in schools serving populations who are underrepresented in mathematics, AIM-TRU will serve to improve mathematics education equitably.

Research questions focus on what teachers learn about high-quality mathematics instruction and instructional materials within a community of practice, and how that learning influences their teaching. In AIM-TRU, teachers engage in the collaborative investigation of video cases utilizing a shared repertoire that includes questioning protocols adapted from the Teaching for Robust Understanding (TRU) framework. This framework articulates five dimensions of classroom instruction that are necessary and sufficient to support students in becoming powerful mathematical thinkers. This affords teachers opportunities to use the TRU dimensions as lenses to diagnose common problems of practice that arise in implementation, and propose innovations and theories for improving instruction that can be tested in real classrooms and documented in new video cases. Analytic tools will be used from frame analysis to produce empirical evidence of what teachers are learning about instruction and instructional materials along the five dimensions of TRU. These data will be mapped to a random sample of video recordings of participating teachers' instruction, scored using the TRU Math Rubric, in order to link learning outcomes from the professional development to changes in instruction. Addressing these research questions will provide a deeper understanding and empirical evidence of learning within teacher collectives, the pressing national need to develop mechanisms to produce collective professional knowledge for teaching, and further efforts to understand the types of knowledge required for effective teaching.

Building a Teacher Knowledge Base for the Implementation of High-Quality Instructional Resources through the Collaborative Investigation of Video Cases (Collaborative Research: Jabon)

This project will address the pressing national need to generate shared, practice-based knowledge about how to implement freely available, high-quality instructional resources (mathematics formative assessment lessons) that have been shown to produce significant gains in student learning outcomes. It will expand a professional development model (Analyzing Instruction in Mathematics using the Teaching for Robust Understanding Framework (AIM-TRU)) that supports teacher learning about effective lesson implementation.

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
1908311
Funding Period: 
Mon, 07/01/2019 to Fri, 06/30/2023
Full Description: 

This project will address the pressing national need to generate shared, practice-based knowledge about how to implement freely available, high-quality instructional resources (mathematics formative assessment lessons) that have been shown to produce significant gains in student learning outcomes. It will expand a professional development model (Analyzing Instruction in Mathematics using the Teaching for Robust Understanding Framework (AIM-TRU)) that supports teacher learning about effective lesson implementation. The backbone of AIM-TRU is a growing, open repository of video cases available to teachers and teacher educators across the U.S. who use or are interested in using the lessons. The repository will include tools such as a facilitator's guide to support teachers and teacher educators to engage in the model and collaboratively investigate the video cases. Consequently, the work will have the potential to engage teachers and teacher educators in improving mathematics education at scale. Because the video cases will capture implementation and ideas for improving instruction in schools serving populations who are underrepresented in mathematics, AIM-TRU will serve to improve mathematics education equitably.

Research questions focus on what teachers learn about high-quality mathematics instruction and instructional materials within a community of practice, and how that learning influences their teaching. In AIM-TRU, teachers engage in the collaborative investigation of video cases utilizing a shared repertoire that includes questioning protocols adapted from the Teaching for Robust Understanding (TRU) framework. This framework articulates five dimensions of classroom instruction that are necessary and sufficient to support students in becoming powerful mathematical thinkers. This affords teachers opportunities to use the TRU dimensions as lenses to diagnose common problems of practice that arise in implementation, and propose innovations and theories for improving instruction that can be tested in real classrooms and documented in new video cases. Analytic tools will be used from frame analysis to produce empirical evidence of what teachers are learning about instruction and instructional materials along the five dimensions of TRU. These data will be mapped to a random sample of video recordings of participating teachers' instruction, scored using the TRU Math Rubric, in order to link learning outcomes from the professional development to changes in instruction. Addressing these research questions will provide a deeper understanding and empirical evidence of learning within teacher collectives, the pressing national need to develop mechanisms to produce collective professional knowledge for teaching, and further efforts to understand the types of knowledge required for effective teaching.

Building a Teacher Knowledge Base for the Implementation of High-Quality Instructional Resources through the Collaborative Investigation of Video Cases (Collaborative Research: Wilson)

This project will address the pressing national need to generate shared, practice-based knowledge about how to implement freely available, high-quality instructional resources (mathematics formative assessment lessons) that have been shown to produce significant gains in student learning outcomes. It will expand a professional development model (Analyzing Instruction in Mathematics using the Teaching for Robust Understanding Framework (AIM-TRU)) that supports teacher learning about effective lesson implementation.

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
1908185
Funding Period: 
Mon, 07/01/2019 to Fri, 06/30/2023
Full Description: 

This project will address the pressing national need to generate shared, practice-based knowledge about how to implement freely available, high-quality instructional resources (mathematics formative assessment lessons) that have been shown to produce significant gains in student learning outcomes. It will expand a professional development model (Analyzing Instruction in Mathematics using the Teaching for Robust Understanding Framework (AIM-TRU)) that supports teacher learning about effective lesson implementation. The backbone of AIM-TRU is a growing, open repository of video cases available to teachers and teacher educators across the U.S. who use or are interested in using the lessons. The repository will include tools such as a facilitator's guide to support teachers and teacher educators to engage in the model and collaboratively investigate the video cases. Consequently, the work will have the potential to engage teachers and teacher educators in improving mathematics education at scale. Because the video cases will capture implementation and ideas for improving instruction in schools serving populations who are underrepresented in mathematics, AIM-TRU will serve to improve mathematics education equitably.

Research questions focus on what teachers learn about high-quality mathematics instruction and instructional materials within a community of practice, and how that learning influences their teaching. In AIM-TRU, teachers engage in the collaborative investigation of video cases utilizing a shared repertoire that includes questioning protocols adapted from the Teaching for Robust Understanding (TRU) framework. This framework articulates five dimensions of classroom instruction that are necessary and sufficient to support students in becoming powerful mathematical thinkers. This affords teachers opportunities to use the TRU dimensions as lenses to diagnose common problems of practice that arise in implementation, and propose innovations and theories for improving instruction that can be tested in real classrooms and documented in new video cases. Analytic tools will be used from frame analysis to produce empirical evidence of what teachers are learning about instruction and instructional materials along the five dimensions of TRU. These data will be mapped to a random sample of video recordings of participating teachers' instruction, scored using the TRU Math Rubric, in order to link learning outcomes from the professional development to changes in instruction. Addressing these research questions will provide a deeper understanding and empirical evidence of learning within teacher collectives, the pressing national need to develop mechanisms to produce collective professional knowledge for teaching, and further efforts to understand the types of knowledge required for effective teaching.

Developing Learning Environments that Support Molecular-Level Sensemaking

This project will investigate how high school students can be supported in developing, organizing and using knowledge of atomic/molecular behavior to make sense of phenomena such as phase changes, atomic emmision spectra and dissolution. The project will study whether an innovative college level curriculum, "Chemistry, Life, the Universe and Everything" (CLUE) can be co-modified by teachers, chemists, and researchers to help students master these difficult concepts and connections.

Partner Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
2003680
Funding Period: 
Sat, 06/15/2019 to Wed, 05/31/2023
Full Description: 

This Early Stage Design and Development (Level II) project is aimed at understanding how learning environments should be designed to support high school students enrolled in an introductory chemistry course in making sense of phenomena in terms of atomic/molecular behavior. As students do not derive many intellectual resources useful for reasoning about the particulate-level from experience, sensemaking in chemistry relies heavily on knowledge cultivated in formal instructional settings. A significant body of research on college-level learning environments indicates that centering instruction around scaffolded progressions of core ideas help students develop, organize, and use their knowledge to explain and model phenomena. Preliminary results from a study conducted by the PI and co-PI show that adapting college-level, evidence-based conceptual progressions for use in high school has the potential to aid students in connecting molecular-level structure to measurable properties. 

This research program focuses on leveraging the practical knowledge of teacher co-developers who participated in preliminary studies to realize a Next-Generation Science Standards-aligned curricular framework supportive of 3-dimensional learning in chemistry. In designing learning environments supportive of molecular-level sensemaking, the research team will consider 1) when students are prepared to grapple with the inferences required to figure out causes for observable occurrences, and 2) how sensemaking opportunities should be structured to engage students in collaborative construction and critique of explanations and models of phenomena. Student ability to engage in sensemaking will be assessed via analysis of responses to carefully designed and validated three-dimensional assessments, and analysis of the discourse practices of student groups as they engage in construction and refinement of models and explanations. This program of research will also place substantial focus on characterizing how and why teacher co-developers modify curricular materials in order that supports for productive modifications might be embedded throughout teacher-facing resources. This project will provide evidence about how students should be supported in developing, organizing, and using knowledge of atomic/molecular behavior to make sense of phenomena. Concomitant focus on the design and analysis of learning environments for high school chemistry will enable data-driven refinement of materials, and support elucidation of generalizable design principles. The aim of this research is to develop and make available materials that constitute "tool kits" for a curricular activity system (including text, teacher guides, student guides, and formative and summative assessments). Three-dimensional assessment items designed and validated in the research will be made broadly available and could serve as benchmarks for the efficacy of high school chemistry curricula nationwide.

This project was previously funded under award #1906293.

Environmental Innovation Challenges: Teaching and Learning Science Practices in the Context of Complex Earth Systems

This project will engage teams of students and teachers of grades 7-12 in four competitive Challenges to design innovative strategies for carbon mitigation in areas such as transportation, agriculture or energy use. The project expands the typical boundaries of schools by enabling teams of students in multiple locations to collaborate in model-based reasoning through online discussion forums, using social media, and crowdsourcing ideas to construct possible solutions to environmental challenges. Project research will examine the impacts of the project on student learning and engagement.

Project Email: 
Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
1908117
Funding Period: 
Thu, 08/01/2019 to Mon, 07/31/2023
Project Evaluator: 
Full Description: 

Current priorities in science education include efforts to engage students in scientific reasoning and using the knowledge and practices of science to understand natural phenomena and constructively respond to local and global challenges. This project responds to these priorities by engaging teams of students and teachers of grades 7-12 in four competitive Challenges to design innovative strategies for carbon mitigation in areas such as transportation, agriculture or energy use. The project expands the typical boundaries of schools by enabling teams of students in multiple locations to collaborate in model-based reasoning through online discussion forums, using social media, and crowdsourcing ideas to construct possible solutions to environmental challenges. Project research will examine the impacts of the project on student learning and engagement.

This early stage Design and Development study is guided by the hypothesis that competitive challenges supported by social media and crowdsourcing will engage a diverse array of students in sustained and meaningful scientific inquiry. Over a period of four years, the project will design and refine four Challenges that will engage approximately 1,000 students of ages 13-17. Project research is guided by three overarching questions related to the design of the Challenges, the influence of school contextual factors, and student learning and self-efficacy. The questions are: (1) How do features of the challenge environment support the work of teams, and the participation of students from communities historically underserved in STEM? (2) What structures within the school ecosystem support or raise obstacles to team work? And (3) Does participation in a Challenge result in the intended student outcomes. Intended outcomes include: a) Learning of basic concepts related to the science of the project focus; b) Engagement in learning disciplinary core ideas, cross-cutting concepts and science and engineering practices; c) Persistence in completing a Challenge; and d) self-efficacy in STEM. Students and their teachers will cross disciplinary boundaries as they choose concepts from chemistry, engineering, mathematics, biology, and social science to support their innovations.Teachers, students, staff members and advisors will comment and provide quidance to the teams on a range of issues through crowdsourcing. Design research will be used to examine how features of the Challenge environment supports the work of teachers and teams, and implementation research will focus on participant learning at the individual and team levels. The project will engage at least 25 teams of 3-4 students each, and researchers will track team activity during all phases of the Challenge process. A mixture of qualitative and quantitative analyses will be used to examine outcomes, and data for girls and others from underserved populations will be disaggregated for separate analyses.

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Professional Development for Teaching and Learning about Energy and Equity in High School Physics (Collaborative Research: Scherr)

This project will research and develop instructional materials and conduct professional development for teachers to help students understand energy flow. The project will create a model for secondary science teacher professional development that integrates science concepts with equity education.

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
1907815
Funding Period: 
Mon, 07/01/2019 to Fri, 06/30/2023
Full Description: 

This project will research and develop instructional materials and conduct professional development for teachers to help students understand energy flow, an important scientific concept with economic and social implications. This energy learning is the foundation for informed decision-making about sustainable and just use of energy resources. Energy issues are not only issues of science and technology, but must be integrated with civics, history, economics, sociology, psychology, and politics to understand and solve modern energy problems. Placing the scientific concept of energy in this social context presents an opportunity to advance science education as equitable and culturally responsive.

This project will create a model for secondary science teacher professional development that integrates science concepts with equity education. This model promotes a key epistemological issue: that science concepts are not culture-free or socially neutral ideas, but rather are concepts created and sustained by people in specific times and places for the purposes of (1) addressing specific social needs and (2) empowering people or groups of people. The two major components of the project are (1) the professional development experience, including both an intensive in-person summer workshop and an online professional learning community, and (2)an energy and equity portal, including an instructional materials library, an action research exchange, and a community forum for teacher discussions. The portal will provide technical resources to support the PLC, including support for sharing instructional materials and reporting on action research. The research plan includes exploratory, development and application phases. The researchers will identify teacher learning in the first iteration of PD, collect and analyze the instructional artifacts to inform how teacher engage with, participate in, and build an understanding energy as a historically and politically situated science concept. A team of scholar-videographers will observe, taking real-time field notes and making daily memos. The research team will use the instructional artifacts, video recordings, field notes, and memos as a basis for analysis through the next academic year. The result will be a nationally significant community of teacher-leaders and library of research-tested instructional materials that are responsive to students' scientific ideas, relevant to socio-political concerns about energy sustainability, respectful of students' cultures, and open to all students no matter their cultural background. Teachers participating in the project will learn to explain how scientific concepts of energy reflect culturally specific values, analyze socio-politically relevant energy scenarios, learn the historic and present-day inequities in the energy industry and in science participation, and be supported in preparing instruction for secondary students that is culturally responsive and relevant to their students' communities.

Professional Development for Teaching and Learning about Energy and Equity in High School Physics (Collaborative Research: Mason)

This project will research and develop instructional materials and conduct professional development for teachers to help students understand energy flow. The project will create a model for secondary science teacher professional development that integrates science concepts with equity education.

Partner Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
1907950
Funding Period: 
Mon, 07/01/2019 to Fri, 06/30/2023
Full Description: 

This project will research and develop instructional materials and conduct professional development for teachers to help students understand energy flow, an important scientific concept with economic and social implications. This energy learning is the foundation for informed decision-making about sustainable and just use of energy resources. Energy issues are not only issues of science and technology, but must be integrated with civics, history, economics, sociology, psychology, and politics to understand and solve modern energy problems. Placing the scientific concept of energy in this social context presents an opportunity to advance science education as equitable and culturally responsive.

This project will create a model for secondary science teacher professional development that integrates science concepts with equity education. This model promotes a key epistemological issue: that science concepts are not culture-free or socially neutral ideas, but rather are concepts created and sustained by people in specific times and places for the purposes of (1) addressing specific social needs and (2) empowering people or groups of people. The two major components of the project are (1) the professional development experience, including both an intensive in-person summer workshop and an online professional learning community, and (2)an energy and equity portal, including an instructional materials library, an action research exchange, and a community forum for teacher discussions. The portal will provide technical resources to support the PLC, including support for sharing instructional materials and reporting on action research. The research plan includes exploratory, development and application phases. The researchers will identify teacher learning in the first iteration of PD, collect and analyze the instructional artifacts to inform how teacher engage with, participate in, and build an understanding energy as a historically and politically situated science concept. A team of scholar-videographers will observe, taking real-time field notes and making daily memos. The research team will use the instructional artifacts, video recordings, field notes, and memos as a basis for analysis through the next academic year. The result will be a nationally significant community of teacher-leaders and library of research-tested instructional materials that are responsive to students' scientific ideas, relevant to socio-political concerns about energy sustainability, respectful of students' cultures, and open to all students no matter their cultural background. Teachers participating in the project will learn to explain how scientific concepts of energy reflect culturally specific values, analyze socio-politically relevant energy scenarios, learn the historic and present-day inequities in the energy industry and in science participation, and be supported in preparing instruction for secondary students that is culturally responsive and relevant to their students' communities.

Design Research on the Teaching and Learning of Conceptual Understanding in High School Chemistry Though the Use of Dynamic Visualizations of Physical and Chemical Changes

The project will establish a sustained community of practice for high school teachers skilled in the VisChem Approach and a group of new teaching and research scholars with expertise in building conceptual understanding through the effective use of visualization. The project will help students move from describing phenomena to explaining their causes from a molecular-level perspectives (e.g., carbon dioxide in climate change, DNA changes in genetically modified organisms).

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
1908121
Funding Period: 
Sun, 09/01/2019 to Sat, 08/31/2024
Full Description: 

This is a late-stage design and development proposal in the teaching strand which addresses the teaching and learning of chemistry at the secondary level, grades 10-12. There is a critical need to transform chemistry teaching and learning from an emphasis on description of phenomena to deep understanding consistent with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). The project will establish a sustained community of practice of teachers skilled in the VisChem Approach and a group of new teaching and research scholars with expertise in building conceptual understanding through the effective use of visualization. The project will help students move from describing phenomena to explaining their causes from a molecular-level perspectives (e.g., carbon dioxide in climate change, DNA changes in genetically modified organisms). With a focus on traditionally under-served groups including English Language Learners, the project will impact up to 80,000 high school chemistry students from a broad range of socioeconomic, geographic, and racial backgrounds.

This project will develop teachers' knowledge and skills to help their students build accurate molecular-level mental models to explain phenomena as opposed to the overemphasis on description with abstract symbolism and language. Three chemistry teacher cohorts (N = 64) will participate in intensive nstitutes to learn the research foundation and pedagogical moves for the VisChem approach. The approach uses carefully produced dynamic visualizations with teaching strategies informed by a cognitive learning model. Key to VisChem is communication of internal visualizations using storyboards (drawings with explanation) of chemical and physical changes. The project will use an iterative research design examining teacher and student learning in the Institutes and how they implement the learning in classrooms. Data collected will include teachers' storyboards, classroom videos, and pre/post student assessments. Evaluation will provide iterative feedback to incrementally improve the institutes during the project.

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