Students

Supporting Teachers to Develop Equitable Mathematics Instruction Through Rubric-Based Coaching (Collaborative Research: Hill)

This project brings together a successful mathematics rubric-based coaching model (MQI Coaching) and an empirically developed observation tool focused on equity-focused instructional practices, the Equity and Access Rubrics for Mathematics Instruction (EAR-MI). The project measures the effects of the coaching model on teachers' beliefs and instructional practices and on students' mathematical achievement and sense of belonging in mathematics.

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
2100961
Funding Period: 
Wed, 09/01/2021 to Sun, 08/31/2025
Full Description: 

Creating supportive middle school mathematics learning spaces that foster students' self-efficacy and mathematics learning is a critical need in the United States. This need is particularly urgent for mathematics classrooms with students who have been historically marginalized in such spaces. While many instructional improvement efforts have focused on broadening access to mathematical ideas, fewer efforts have paid explicit attention to the ways instructional practices may serve to marginalize students. Supporting teachers in identifying and refining their equitable mathematics instructional practices is a persistent challenge. This project brings together a successful mathematics rubric-based coaching model (MQI Coaching) and an empirically developed observation tool focused on equity-focused instructional practices, the Equity and Access Rubrics for Mathematics Instruction (EAR-MI). The project's work integrates the EAR-MI rubrics into the MQI Coaching model with 24 middle grades mathematics coaches supporting 72 teachers at grades 5-8. The project measures the effects of the coaching model on teachers' beliefs and instructional practices and on students' mathematical achievement and sense of belonging in mathematics. The project also investigates how teachers' attitudes and beliefs impact their participation and what teachers take away from engagement with the coaching model.

The project makes use of a delayed-treatment experimental design to investigate effects on teacher beliefs and practices and student achievement and sense of belonging. A cohort of 14 coaches are randomly selected to participate in the coaching in Years 2 and 3, with the remaining 10 coaches assigned to a business-as-usual model in Year 2 and engaging in the training in Year 3. Coaches engage in a 4-day summer training to become acquainted with the model with coaching cycles and follow-up meetings during the school year. Each coach will engage teachers in 8-10 coaching cycles in treatment years. Data on the nature of the coaching includes logs and surveys from the coaches. Teachers submit surveys related to their beliefs and practices and two lessons each at the start and end of the academic year for analysis. Student assessment data, course grades, and administrative data, combined with survey data from students on classroom belonging and perceptions of ability and confidence in mathematics, are used to describe student outcomes. Teacher outcomes are captured through the analysis of classroom video, surveys about ethnic-racial identity and racial attitudes, beliefs about students and instruction, and beliefs about and efficacy for culturally responsive teaching. The project uses a set of survey measures with established reliability and validity, adapting some instruments to include specific indicators related to the equity and access rubrics. Analysis of the data uses a multi-level model accounting for the clustering of teachers within schools and students within classrooms and schools.

Supporting Teachers to Develop Equitable Mathematics Instruction Through Rubric-based Coaching (Collaborative Research: Litke)

This project brings together a successful mathematics rubric-based coaching model (MQI Coaching) and an empirically developed observation tool focused on equity-focused instructional practices, the Equity and Access Rubrics for Mathematics Instruction (EAR-MI). The project measures the effects of the coaching model on teachers' beliefs and instructional practices and on students' mathematical achievement and sense of belonging in mathematics.

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
2100793
Funding Period: 
Wed, 09/01/2021 to Sun, 08/31/2025
Full Description: 

Creating supportive middle school mathematics learning spaces that foster students' self-efficacy and mathematics learning is a critical need in the United States. This need is particularly urgent for mathematics classrooms with students who have been historically marginalized in such spaces. While many instructional improvement efforts have focused on broadening access to mathematical ideas, fewer efforts have paid explicit attention to the ways instructional practices may serve to marginalize students. Supporting teachers in identifying and refining their equitable mathematics instructional practices is a persistent challenge. This project brings together a successful mathematics rubric-based coaching model (MQI Coaching) and an empirically developed observation tool focused on equity-focused instructional practices, the Equity and Access Rubrics for Mathematics Instruction (EAR-MI). The project's work integrates the EAR-MI rubrics into the MQI Coaching model with 24 middle grades mathematics coaches supporting 72 teachers at grades 5-8. The project measures the effects of the coaching model on teachers' beliefs and instructional practices and on students' mathematical achievement and sense of belonging in mathematics. The project also investigates how teachers' attitudes and beliefs impact their participation and what teachers take away from engagement with the coaching model.

The project makes use of a delayed-treatment experimental design to investigate effects on teacher beliefs and practices and student achievement and sense of belonging. A cohort of 14 coaches are randomly selected to participate in the coaching in Years 2 and 3, with the remaining 10 coaches assigned to a business-as-usual model in Year 2 and engaging in the training in Year 3. Coaches engage in a 4-day summer training to become acquainted with the model with coaching cycles and follow-up meetings during the school year. Each coach will engage teachers in 8-10 coaching cycles in treatment years. Data on the nature of the coaching includes logs and surveys from the coaches. Teachers submit surveys related to their beliefs and practices and two lessons each at the start and end of the academic year for analysis. Student assessment data, course grades, and administrative data, combined with survey data from students on classroom belonging and perceptions of ability and confidence in mathematics, are used to describe student outcomes. Teacher outcomes are captured through the analysis of classroom video, surveys about ethnic-racial identity and racial attitudes, beliefs about students and instruction, and beliefs about and efficacy for culturally responsive teaching. The project uses a set of survey measures with established reliability and validity, adapting some instruments to include specific indicators related to the equity and access rubrics. Analysis of the data uses a multi-level model accounting for the clustering of teachers within schools and students within classrooms and schools.

Supporting Teachers to Develop Equitable Mathematics Instruction Through Rubric-based Coaching (Collaborative Research: Wilson)

This project brings together a successful mathematics rubric-based coaching model (MQI Coaching) and an empirically developed observation tool focused on equity-focused instructional practices, the Equity and Access Rubrics for Mathematics Instruction (EAR-MI). The project measures the effects of the coaching model on teachers' beliefs and instructional practices and on students' mathematical achievement and sense of belonging in mathematics.

Award Number: 
2100830
Funding Period: 
Wed, 09/01/2021 to Sun, 08/31/2025
Full Description: 

Creating supportive middle school mathematics learning spaces that foster students' self-efficacy and mathematics learning is a critical need in the United States. This need is particularly urgent for mathematics classrooms with students who have been historically marginalized in such spaces. While many instructional improvement efforts have focused on broadening access to mathematical ideas, fewer efforts have paid explicit attention to the ways instructional practices may serve to marginalize students. Supporting teachers in identifying and refining their equitable mathematics instructional practices is a persistent challenge. This project brings together a successful mathematics rubric-based coaching model (MQI Coaching) and an empirically developed observation tool focused on equity-focused instructional practices, the Equity and Access Rubrics for Mathematics Instruction (EAR-MI). The project's work integrates the EAR-MI rubrics into the MQI Coaching model with 24 middle grades mathematics coaches supporting 72 teachers at grades 5-8. The project measures the effects of the coaching model on teachers' beliefs and instructional practices and on students' mathematical achievement and sense of belonging in mathematics. The project also investigates how teachers' attitudes and beliefs impact their participation and what teachers take away from engagement with the coaching model.

The project makes use of a delayed-treatment experimental design to investigate effects on teacher beliefs and practices and student achievement and sense of belonging. A cohort of 14 coaches are randomly selected to participate in the coaching in Years 2 and 3, with the remaining 10 coaches assigned to a business-as-usual model in Year 2 and engaging in the training in Year 3. Coaches engage in a 4-day summer training to become acquainted with the model with coaching cycles and follow-up meetings during the school year. Each coach will engage teachers in 8-10 coaching cycles in treatment years. Data on the nature of the coaching includes logs and surveys from the coaches. Teachers submit surveys related to their beliefs and practices and two lessons each at the start and end of the academic year for analysis. Student assessment data, course grades, and administrative data, combined with survey data from students on classroom belonging and perceptions of ability and confidence in mathematics, are used to describe student outcomes. Teacher outcomes are captured through the analysis of classroom video, surveys about ethnic-racial identity and racial attitudes, beliefs about students and instruction, and beliefs about and efficacy for culturally responsive teaching. The project uses a set of survey measures with established reliability and validity, adapting some instruments to include specific indicators related to the equity and access rubrics. Analysis of the data uses a multi-level model accounting for the clustering of teachers within schools and students within classrooms and schools.

Leveraging the Power of Reflection and Visual Representation in Middle-Schoolers' Learning During and After an Informal Science Experience (Collaborative Research: Uttal)

This project addresses a longstanding problem in informal science education: how to increase the likelihood of consequential STEM learning from short duration experiences such as field trips.

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
2115905
Funding Period: 
Fri, 10/01/2021 to Tue, 09/30/2025
Full Description: 

This project addresses a longstanding problem in informal science education: how to increase the likelihood of consequential science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) learning from short duration experiences such as field trips. Although informal learning experiences can greatly contribute to interest in and knowledge of science, there is a shared concern among educators and researchers that students may have difficulty recalling and using scientific information and practices emphasized during these experiences, even though doing so would further their science learning. Nonetheless, science learning is rarely, if ever, a "one-shot deal." Children acquire knowledge about science cumulatively across different contexts and activities. Therefore, it is important that informal science learning institutions identify effective practices that support the consolidation of learning and memory from exhibit experiences to foster portable, usable knowledge across contexts, such as from informal science learning institutions, to classrooms, and homes. To this end, this Research in Service to Practice project seeks to harness the power and potential of visual representations (e.g., graphs, drawings, charts, maps, etc.) for enhancing learning and encouraging effective reflection during and after science learning experiences. The project promises to increase learning for the 9,000+ 5th and 6th grade students from across the rurality and growing diversity of the state of Maine who annually participate in LabVenture, a 2.5-hour exploration of the Gulf of Maine ecosystem at Gulf of Maine Research Institute. The research will provide new and actionable informal science learning practices that promote engagement with visual representations and reflection, and science understandings that can be applied broadly by informal science institutions.

The project is grounded in the idea that visual representations, including drawings, can both enhance science learning and encourage reflection on doing science that can support extension of that learning beyond a singular informal science experience. The project uses design-based research to address the following research questions: (1) Does reflection during an informal science learning experience promote students’ retention and subsequent use of science information and practices that are part of the experience? (2) Does interpreting and constructing visual representations, such as drawings, improve students’ understanding and retention of information, and if so, how and when?  and (3) Does combining visual representations and narrative reflections confer benefits on students’ science learning and engagement in science practices both during the informal learning experience, and later in their classrooms and at home? These questions will be pursued in collaboration with practitioners (both informal educators and classroom teachers) and a diverse team of graduate and undergraduate student researchers. Approximately 600 student groups (roughly 3000 individual students) will be observed during the LabVenture experience, with further data collection involving a portion of these students at school and at home. The project will yield resources and video demonstrations of field-tested, empirically based practices that promote engagement with visual representations and reflection, and science understandings that can travel within students' learning ecosystem. In support of broadening participation, the undergraduate/graduate student researchers will gain wide understanding and experience connecting research to practice and communicating science to academic and nonacademic audiences.

Leveraging the Power of Reflection and Visual Representation in Middle-Schoolers' Learning During and After an Informal Science Experience (Collaborative Research: Dickes)

This project addresses a longstanding problem in informal science education: how to increase the likelihood of consequential STEM learning from short duration experiences such as field trips.

Award Number: 
2115603
Funding Period: 
Fri, 10/01/2021 to Tue, 09/30/2025
Full Description: 

This project addresses a longstanding problem in informal science education: how to increase the likelihood of consequential science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) learning from short duration experiences such as field trips. Although informal learning experiences can greatly contribute to interest in and knowledge of science, there is a shared concern among educators and researchers that students may have difficulty recalling and using scientific information and practices emphasized during these experiences, even though doing so would further their science learning. Nonetheless, science learning is rarely, if ever, a "one-shot deal." Children acquire knowledge about science cumulatively across different contexts and activities. Therefore, it is important that informal science learning institutions identify effective practices that support the consolidation of learning and memory from exhibit experiences to foster portable, usable knowledge across contexts, such as from informal science learning institutions, to classrooms, and homes. To this end, this Research in Service to Practice project seeks to harness the power and potential of visual representations (e.g., graphs, drawings, charts, maps, etc.) for enhancing learning and encouraging effective reflection during and after science learning experiences. The project promises to increase learning for the 9,000+ 5th and 6th grade students from across the rurality and growing diversity of the state of Maine who annually participate in LabVenture, a 2.5-hour exploration of the Gulf of Maine ecosystem at Gulf of Maine Research Institute. The research will provide new and actionable informal science learning practices that promote engagement with visual representations and reflection, and science understandings that can be applied broadly by informal science institutions.

The project is grounded in the idea that visual representations, including drawings, can both enhance science learning and encourage reflection on doing science that can support extension of that learning beyond a singular informal science experience. The project uses design-based research to address the following research questions: (1) Does reflection during an informal science learning experience promote students’ retention and subsequent use of science information and practices that are part of the experience? (2) Does interpreting and constructing visual representations, such as drawings, improve students’ understanding and retention of information, and if so, how and when?  and (3) Does combining visual representations and narrative reflections confer benefits on students’ science learning and engagement in science practices both during the informal learning experience, and later in their classrooms and at home? These questions will be pursued in collaboration with practitioners (both informal educators and classroom teachers) and a diverse team of graduate and undergraduate student researchers. Approximately 600 student groups (roughly 3000 individual students) will be observed during the LabVenture experience, with further data collection involving a portion of these students at school and at home. The project will yield resources and video demonstrations of field-tested, empirically based practices that promote engagement with visual representations and reflection, and science understandings that can travel within students' learning ecosystem. In support of broadening participation, the undergraduate/graduate student researchers will gain wide understanding and experience connecting research to practice and communicating science to academic and nonacademic audiences.

Leveraging the Power of Reflection and Visual Representation in Middle-Schoolers' Learning During and After an Informal Science Experience (Collaborative Research: Haden)

This project addresses a longstanding problem in informal science education: how to increase the likelihood of consequential STEM learning from short duration experiences such as field trips.

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
2115610
Funding Period: 
Fri, 10/01/2021 to Tue, 09/30/2025
Full Description: 

This project addresses a longstanding problem in informal science education: how to increase the likelihood of consequential science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) learning from short duration experiences such as field trips. Although informal learning experiences can greatly contribute to interest in and knowledge of science, there is a shared concern among educators and researchers that students may have difficulty recalling and using scientific information and practices emphasized during these experiences, even though doing so would further their science learning. Nonetheless, science learning is rarely, if ever, a "one-shot deal." Children acquire knowledge about science cumulatively across different contexts and activities. Therefore, it is important that informal science learning institutions identify effective practices that support the consolidation of learning and memory from exhibit experiences to foster portable, usable knowledge across contexts, such as from informal science learning institutions, to classrooms, and homes. To this end, this Research in Service to Practice project seeks to harness the power and potential of visual representations (e.g., graphs, drawings, charts, maps, etc.) for enhancing learning and encouraging effective reflection during and after science learning experiences. The project promises to increase learning for the 9,000+ 5th and 6th grade students from across the rurality and growing diversity of the state of Maine who annually participate in LabVenture, a 2.5-hour exploration of the Gulf of Maine ecosystem at Gulf of Maine Research Institute. The research will provide new and actionable informal science learning practices that promote engagement with visual representations and reflection, and science understandings that can be applied broadly by informal science institutions.

The project is grounded in the idea that visual representations, including drawings, can both enhance science learning and encourage reflection on doing science that can support extension of that learning beyond a singular informal science experience. The project uses design-based research to address the following research questions: (1) Does reflection during an informal science learning experience promote students’ retention and subsequent use of science information and practices that are part of the experience? (2) Does interpreting and constructing visual representations, such as drawings, improve students’ understanding and retention of information, and if so, how and when?  and (3) Does combining visual representations and narrative reflections confer benefits on students’ science learning and engagement in science practices both during the informal learning experience, and later in their classrooms and at home? These questions will be pursued in collaboration with practitioners (both informal educators and classroom teachers) and a diverse team of graduate and undergraduate student researchers. Approximately 600 student groups (roughly 3000 individual students) will be observed during the LabVenture experience, with further data collection involving a portion of these students at school and at home. The project will yield resources and video demonstrations of field-tested, empirically based practices that promote engagement with visual representations and reflection, and science understandings that can travel within students' learning ecosystem. In support of broadening participation, the undergraduate/graduate student researchers will gain wide understanding and experience connecting research to practice and communicating science to academic and nonacademic audiences.

Measuring the Effectiveness of Middle School STEM Innovation and Engineering Design Curricula

Researchers from Georgia Tech have developed a three-year middle school Engineering and Technology course sequence that introduces students to advanced manufacturing tools such as computer aided design (CAD) and 3D printing, incorporates engineering concepts such as pneumatics, robotics and aeronautics, increases student awareness of career paths, and addresses the concerns of technical employers wanting workers with problem solving, teamwork, and communication skills.

Award Number: 
2101441
Funding Period: 
Wed, 09/01/2021 to Sun, 08/31/2025
Full Description: 

Inclusion of engineering in the Next Generation Science Standards has led to increased opportunities for K-12 students to learn engineering related concepts and skills, and learn about engineering career paths. However, a persistent challenge is the lack of high-quality, research-based engineering curricular resources that align with science and math education standards. Further, the opportunities for K-12 students to also learn about manufacturing and how manufacturing is related to engineering, math, and science are limited. Researchers from Georgia Tech have developed a three-year middle school Engineering and Technology course sequence that introduces students to advanced manufacturing tools such as computer aided design (CAD) and 3D printing, incorporates engineering concepts such as pneumatics, robotics and aeronautics, increases student awareness of career paths, and addresses the concerns of technical employers wanting workers with problem solving, teamwork, and communication skills. This DRK-12 impact study project will investigate the effectiveness of STEM-Innovation and Design (STEM-ID) curricula in approximately 29 middle schools, targeting 29 engineering teachers and approximately 5,000 students across middle grades in Georgia. This impact research study will determine whether STEM-ID courses are equally effective across different demographic groups and school environments under normal implementation conditions and whether the courses have the potential to positively impact a vast number of students around the country, particularly students who have struggled to stay engaged with their STEM education. It is a critical part of a larger effort to move the STEM-ID curricula, developed with NSF support, from the research lab to large-scale practice in schools.

To facilitate large-scale implementation, the project will transfer all curriculum and teacher support materials to an online dissemination site, develop just-in-time teacher support materials to embed within the curriculum, create an online professional development platform, and conduct professional learning in multiple areas of the state. The project team will then assess the transferability of the STEM-ID curricula and identify teacher outcomes that affect the implementation. They will also examine the generalizability of the curriculum by measuring student outcomes in STEM academic achievement and on social-emotional scales. The project’s research questions consider 1) contextual factors that influence scaling; 2) the fidelity of implementation, curriculum adaptations and sustainability; 3) the effects of professional development on teachers’ engineering self-efficacy and instructional practices; 4) the effect of participation on student academic performance in mathematics and science; 5) the effect of participation on student social-emotional outcomes; and 5) the relationship between the way STEM-ID is implemented and the student outcomes.  To examine the effects of STEM-ID on achievement and achievement growth, the investigators will use a multilevel growth model and mediation analysis to explore if the intervention’s effect on achievement was mediated by students’ engagement, academic self-efficacy, and/or interest in STEM. Additionally, drawing upon Century and Cassata’s Fidelity of Implementation framework (FOI), they will examine the array of factors that influence implementation of the STEM-ID curricula across diverse school settings.

Building Insights through Observation: Researching Arts-based Methods for Teaching and Learning with Data

This project will use visualizations from an easily accessible tool from NOAA, Science On a Sphere, to help students develop critical thinking skills and practices required to effectively make meaning from authentic scientific data. The project will use arts-based pedagogies for observing, analyzing, and critiquing visual features of data visualizations to build an understanding of what the data reveal. The project will work with middle school science teachers to develop tools for STEM educators to use these data visualizations effectively.

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
2101310
Funding Period: 
Thu, 07/01/2021 to Mon, 06/30/2025
Full Description: 

Innovations in data collection, infrastructure, and visualization play an important role in modern society. Large, complex datasets are accessible to and shared widely with the public. However, students need to learn how to interpret and reason about visualizations of scientific data. This project will use visualizations from an easily accessible tool from NOAA, Science On a Sphere, to help students develop critical thinking skills and practices required to effectively make meaning from authentic scientific data. The project will use arts-based pedagogies for observing, analyzing, and critiquing visual features of data visualizations to build an understanding of what the data reveal. The project will work with middle school science teachers to develop tools for STEM educators to use these data visualizations effectively. This project focuses on visual thinking skills that have been found to apply in both science and art: describing, wondering, recognizing uncertainty, and interpreting with evidence.

The project will conduct foundational research to understand the ways in which arts-based instructional methods and geospatial data visualization can be successfully applied by science teachers. The research will examine: (1) the ways in which arts-based instructional methods can be successfully applied by STEM teachers; (2) critical elements in the process of learning and applying these techniques to influence teachers’ content, pedagogical, and technological knowledge; and (3) for which transferable data literacy skills these approaches show most promise with children. This project will use a design-based research framework to develop data literacy teaching approaches in partnership with middle school teachers. The research process will include data about teachers’ development and students’ learning about data literacy. Data to be collected include qualitative and quantitative information from teachers and students.

Reducing Racially Biased Beliefs by Fostering a Complex Understanding of Human Genetics Research in High School Biology Students (Collaborative Research: Donovan)

The project will refine a genetics education curriculum, called Humane Genome Literacy (HGL), in order to reduce belief in genetic essentialism. This research will provide curriculum writers and educators with knowledge about how to design a humane genetics education to maximize reductions in students’ genetic essentialist beliefs. The research findings will demonstrate how to support teachers who wish to reduce beliefs in genetic essentialism by teaching students about the complexity of human genetics research using the HGL learning materials.

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
2100864
Funding Period: 
Wed, 09/01/2021 to Sun, 08/31/2025
Full Description: 

Genetic essentialism is the belief that people of the same race share genes that make them physically, cognitively, and behaviorally uniform, and thus different from other races. The project will refine a genetics education curriculum, called Humane Genome Literacy (HGL), in order to reduce belief in genetic essentialism. This research will provide curriculum writers and educators with knowledge about how to design a humane genetics education to maximize reductions in students’ genetic essentialist beliefs and minimize the threat of backfiring (unintentionally increasing belief in essentialism). The research findings will demonstrate how to support teachers who wish to reduce beliefs in genetic essentialism by teaching students about the complexity of human genetics research using the HGL learning materials.  Project research findings, learning materials, and professional development institutes will be made available to educators and researchers across the country who desire to teach genetics to reduce racial prejudice.

To prepare for the research, the project will revise and augment the project’s existing HGL curriculum and professional development institutes.  In year one, the project will develop new versions of the HGL interventions. Using these materials, the project will train teachers to implement new versions of the HGL interventions in their classrooms. Researchers will video and audio record a sample of teachers and students as they learn. These data will be analyzed qualitatively to: (1) examine how the conceptual change of genetic essentialism was promoted or impeded by interactions between teachers, students, and the materials; and (2) identify and corroborate general factors undergirding the backfiring effect.  Knowledge constructed through these studies will be used to revise the HGL interventions and PDIs.  In year three, using the revised versions of the HGL intervention, the project will conduct a cluster randomized trial (CRT). The CRT will compare the HGL interventions to a well-defined “business as usual” genetics curriculum, using a statistically powerful and geographically diverse sample (N = 135 teachers, N = 16,200 students, from 33 states). Using data from the CRT, the project will identify classrooms where the interventions reduced essentialism, had no effect on it, and where it backfired. Then, the project will use stimulated recall methods to interview the teachers and students in those classrooms to make sense of factors that contributed to these outcomes. The project will use this information to develop the final version of the HGL interventions and PDI materials. By the end of year four, the project will have trained an additional 90-100 teachers to use HGL interventions, reaching an additional 10,800-12,000 students, in at least 33 different states.

Reducing Racially Biased Beliefs by Fostering a Complex Understanding of Human Genetics Research in High School Biology Students (Collaborative Research: Duncan)

The project will refine a genetics education curriculum, called Humane Genome Literacy (HGL), in order to reduce belief in genetic essentialism. This research will provide curriculum writers and educators with knowledge about how to design a humane genetics education to maximize reductions in students’ genetic essentialist beliefs. The research findings will demonstrate how to support teachers who wish to reduce beliefs in genetic essentialism by teaching students about the complexity of human genetics research using the HGL learning materials.

Lead Organization(s): 
Partner Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
2100876
Funding Period: 
Wed, 09/01/2021 to Sun, 08/31/2025
Full Description: 

Genetic essentialism is the belief that people of the same race share genes that make them physically, cognitively, and behaviorally uniform, and thus different from other races. The project will refine a genetics education curriculum, called Humane Genome Literacy (HGL), in order to reduce belief in genetic essentialism. This research will provide curriculum writers and educators with knowledge about how to design a humane genetics education to maximize reductions in students’ genetic essentialist beliefs and minimize the threat of backfiring (unintentionally increasing belief in essentialism). The research findings will demonstrate how to support teachers who wish to reduce beliefs in genetic essentialism by teaching students about the complexity of human genetics research using the HGL learning materials.  Project research findings, learning materials, and professional development institutes will be made available to educators and researchers across the country who desire to teach genetics to reduce racial prejudice.

To prepare for the research, the project will revise and augment the project’s existing HGL curriculum and professional development institutes.  In year one, the project will develop new versions of the HGL interventions. Using these materials, the project will train teachers to implement new versions of the HGL interventions in their classrooms. Researchers will video and audio record a sample of teachers and students as they learn. These data will be analyzed qualitatively to: (1) examine how the conceptual change of genetic essentialism was promoted or impeded by interactions between teachers, students, and the materials; and (2) identify and corroborate general factors undergirding the backfiring effect.  Knowledge constructed through these studies will be used to revise the HGL interventions and PDIs.  In year three, using the revised versions of the HGL intervention, the project will conduct a cluster randomized trial (CRT). The CRT will compare the HGL interventions to a well-defined “business as usual” genetics curriculum, using a statistically powerful and geographically diverse sample (N = 135 teachers, N = 16,200 students, from 33 states). Using data from the CRT, the project will identify classrooms where the interventions reduced essentialism, had no effect on it, and where it backfired. Then, the project will use stimulated recall methods to interview the teachers and students in those classrooms to make sense of factors that contributed to these outcomes. The project will use this information to develop the final version of the HGL interventions and PDI materials. By the end of year four, the project will have trained an additional 90-100 teachers to use HGL interventions, reaching an additional 10,800-12,000 students, in at least 33 different states.

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