Discovery Research K-12 (DR K-12): Descriptive Overview of Portfolio

The Discovery Research K-12 (DR K-12) program, funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) Division of Research on Learning in Formal and Informal Settings (DRL), supports high-quality research and development on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) learning and teaching. The portfolio of DR K-12 projects span what NSF has characterized as a cycle of research and development—a dynamic, ongoing process through which knowledge and products are conceived,developed, disseminated and revised.

The Community for Advancing Discovery Research in Education (CADRE) was established as the resource network that supports the DR K-12 community in advancing the state of research and evaluation in STEM education, and furthering the goals of the DR K-12 program. As part of its work, CADRE annually provides a descriptive overview of the DR K-12 portfolio, which includes the first four cohorts funded as of July 2011. The report characterizes the development and research in STEM education—on resources, models, and technologies—funded by the DR K-12 program. The specific objectives of this portfolio overview are to:

1. Describe important characteristics of the projects in the DR K-12 portfolio;

2. Explain how grantees are working towards meeting the goals of the program;

3. Identify potential areas in which syntheses and targeted thematic studies can be conducted to deepen, broaden, or advance the field’s understanding of specific aspects of STEM education;

4. Inform the support activities developed for grantees.

This overview is intended to describe the scope and depth of research and development DR K-12 has funded and to identify areas that could be advanced by further investigations by CADRE. The overview summarizes the 248 projects that met the criteria for inclusion and analysis.