Middle School

PUM (PhysicsUnionMathematics) Exploration

The PuM project develops and conducts research on a learning continuum for seamless instruction in middle school physical science and high school physics. The ultimate goal is to use physics as the context to develop mathematics literacy, particularly with students from underrepresented populations and special needs students. The research component analyzes the effects of the curriculum on students' learning while simultaneously investigating teachers' pedagogical content knowledge in a variety of forms.

Lead Organization(s): 
Partner Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
0733140
Funding Period: 
Sat, 09/01/2007 to Tue, 08/31/2010

Diagnosing Teachers' Multiplicative Reasoning

This project is developing and evaluating a test form that diagnoses teachers' capacities in two closely connected cases of reasoning about multiplicative relations among quantities: fractions and proportions. Teachers' responses to test items will be informative about their capacities to reason about content in ways that support student’s thinking. The project is developing instruments using a new class of psychometric models called Diagnostic Classifcation Models (DCMs) that are based on categorical latent variables.

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
1125621
Funding Period: 
Wed, 09/17/2008 to Thu, 09/30/2010
Project Evaluator: 
Daniel Bolt

Learning Progressions for Scientific Inquiry: A Model Implementation in the Context of Energy

The project has had three major areas of focus:  (1) Offering professional development to help elementary and 6th grade teachers become more responsive teachers, attending and responding to their students' ideas and reasoning; (2)  Developing web-based resources (both curriculum and case studies) to promote responsive teaching in science; and (3) research how both teachers and students progress in their ability to engage in science inquiry. 

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
0732233
Funding Period: 
Tue, 01/01/2008 to Mon, 12/31/2012
Project Evaluator: 
Lawrence Hall of Science

A Longitudinal Randomized Trial Study of Middle School Science for English Language Learners (Project MSSELL) (Collaborative Research: Irby)

Project MSSELL will conduct a two-year randomized trial longitudinal evaluation of an enhanced standards-based science curriculum model. In Year 1, the project will refine and pilot the model based on learnings from its previous developmental phase and implementation with K-3 grade students. In Years 2 and 3, the enhanced model will be implemented and studied with fifth- and sixth-grade students.

Partner Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
0822153
Funding Period: 
Mon, 09/01/2008 to Fri, 08/31/2012
Project Evaluator: 
Dr. David Frances

Improving the Effectiveness of Teacher Diagnostic Skills and Tools

In this project teachers are introduced to the \"Diagnoser\" software and diagnostic testing both in workshops and online environments. The project is categorizing facets of student thinking in three more content areas: Properties of Matter, Heat and Temperature, and the Particulate Nature of Matter for students in grades five to ten. The project is also developing a framework for using diagnostic classroom tools in the delivery of professional development.

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
0455796
Funding Period: 
Fri, 04/15/2005 to Thu, 03/31/2011

A Digital Resource for Developing Mathematics Teachers' TPCK

This project aims to advance the preparation of preservice teachers in middle school mathematics, specifically on the topic of proportionality, a centrally important and difficult topic in middle school mathematics that is essential to students’ later success in algebra. To address the need for a workforce of high-quality teachers to teach this mathematics, the project is developing a digital text that could be widely used to communicate the unique transitional nature of middle school mathematics.

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
0918339
Funding Period: 
Tue, 09/01/2009 to Fri, 08/31/2012
Project Evaluator: 
Mark St. John, Inverness

Exploring the Frontiers of Science with Online Telescopes

This project researches the use of cyberinfrastructure to implement a strategy for using online telescopes as a laboratory to engage middle and high school students in cutting edge science research while providing them with significant new opportunities to apply STEM concepts, practice inquiry, and design and learn about the nature of scientific discovery.  

Partner Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
0733252
Funding Period: 
Sat, 09/15/2007 to Tue, 08/31/2010
Project Evaluator: 
Lynn Baum, JCM Associates LLC

Honing Diagnostic Practice: Toward a New Model of Teacher Professional Preparation and Development

This project is developing a science teacher education model focused on the establishment of a diagnostic learning environment through formative assessment as a powerful instructional practice for promoting learning of all students (grades 5–12) on the topic of energy with the goal of increasing the understanding of the processes through which teachers develop the requisite knowledge, skills, and dispositions for effective deployment of a formative assessment instructional cycle.

Project Email: 
Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
0822342
Funding Period: 
Mon, 09/01/2008 to Sat, 08/31/2013
Project Evaluator: 
Horizon Research Inc.

Developing Contingent Pedagogies: Integrating Technology-enhanced Feedback into a Middle School Science Curriculum to Improve Conceptual Teaching and Learning

SRI International developed a formative assessment intervention that integrates classroom network technologies and contingent curriculum activities to help middle school teachers adjust instruction to improve student learning of Earth science concepts. The intervention was tested as part of a quasi-experimental study within an urban school district in Colorado that includes ethnically and economically diverse student populations. Findings indicate significant student learning gains for students in implementation classes as compared to students in comparison classes.

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
0822314
Funding Period: 
Mon, 09/01/2008 to Tue, 08/31/2010
Project Evaluator: 
Christy Kim Boscardin
Full Description: 

SRI is developing a formative assessment intervention that integrates existing classroom network technologies (GroupScribbles and Classroom Performance Systems), interactive formative assessments, and contingent curriculum activities to help teachers adjust instruction to improve middle school student learning of selected Earth science concepts (the rock cycle, forces that shape Earth's surface, and plate tectonics). To test the hypothesis that integrating response system technology, assessment, and curriculum can improve K-12 science teaching and learning, the project is developing and testing (1) pedagogical routines for teachers to follow when using classroom network technologies, (2) diagnostic questions for teachers to elicit student preconceptions, (3) decision rules for teachers to use alternative learning activities that supplement an existing geoscience curriculum, (4) training materials that prepare teachers to enact the intervention, and (5) research- and classroom-based instruments that measure changes in teacher instructional practice, student thinking, and student achievement. The intervention is being tested in two urban school districts located in two western states (Colorado and California) that have ethnically and economically diverse student populations.

Application of Evidence-centered Design to States Large-scale Science Assessment

This project aims to (1) determine ways in which Evidence-Centered Design enhances the quality of large-scale, technology-based science assessments for middle school grades and high school equivalency; (2) implement resulting procedures in operational test development; (3) evaluate the efficiency, effectiveness and generalizability of these procedures, and (4) disseminate findings to the assessment community.

Award Number: 
0733172
Funding Period: 
Sat, 09/01/2007 to Fri, 08/31/2012
Project Evaluator: 
Haynie Research and Evaluation--Doreen Finkelstein, Kathleen Haynie
Full Description: 

The project began as a collaborative research effort among six organizations—a non-profit research company (SRI International), a university (University of Maryland), a commercial test publishing company (Pearson), Minnesota’s (MN) state department of education, a software engineering firm (Codeguild, Inc.), and an educational evaluation firm (Haynie Research and Evaluation). Due to changes in the affiliation of key personnel, the project transitioned to a collaboration among five organizations--SRI International, ETS, University of Maryland, Pearson and Haynie Research and Evaluation. Together these groups designed and implemented several studies to document the influence of evidence-centered design when applied to Pearson's science assessment design and development processes.

The goals of the project are: (1) to determine leverage points by which ECD can enhance the quality of large-scale technology-based assessments and the efficiency of their design, (2) to implement resulting procedures in operational test development cycles, (3) to evaluate efficiency, effectiveness and generalizability of these procedures, (4) to develop two software wizards to support design of task-based scenarios and assessment items, and (5) to disseminate findings to the assessment community.

This project will develop an exemplar set of design patterns based on the critical benchmarks identified in the Minnesota Academic Standards for science and on the GED science practice indicators and content targets. It is of particular interest in this project that elements of ECD will be applied to an existing large-scale accountability and credentialing assessments, in the context of existing test development and delivery processes.  The project is constrained to maintain adherence to existing test specifications, “look and feel” of tasks, timelines, and delivery and scoring procedures.  Rather than designing new assessment systems or re-engineering existing ones, the present project seeks to identify and implement ideas from ECD in existing large-scale, high-stakes testing programs. Principles of ECD have been implemented in several training workshops for assessment designers and item writers to support the development of scenario-based science tasks. The project's technical report series is available at http://ecd.sri.com.

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