A Review of DR K–12 English Language Learner Projects and Their Contribution to Research

This session explores the role of funding programs in shaping research agendas. The springboard for discussion is a case study that investigated DR K12 contribution to research in science and mathematics education for English language learners.

Date/Time: 
Wednesday, August 6, 2014 - 9:45am to 11:45am
2014 Session Types: 
Mini-plenary Presentation

This session explores the role of funding programs in shaping research agendas through deliberate and targeted funding for priority areas. With the English language learner (ELL) population in U.S. schools on the rise and a growing demand for expansion and development of STEM education, intersecting research in these two fields represents an important effort to address pressing issues in U.S. schools and the STEM workforce.

The session starts with a presentation of a case study investigating whether the NSF DR K12 program made a unique contribution to research in the fields of science and mathematics education for ELLs. The case study compared DR K–12-funded research projects from 2007 to 2011 with other (non DR K12-funded) research in terms of research topics, design, methods, outcomes, and researcher expertise. Findings indicated that the funding and the emphases of the DR K12 program did influence the research, suggesting that funding programs can shape research agendas by providing deliberate and targeted funding for priority areas.

The discussion engages the participants to explore two topics. First, what are the implications of the case study for future research on STEM with ELLs? Second, what is the role of funding programs for priority areas where targeted funding would be particularly helpful and ways in which funding agencies could promote progress in such areas? These topics are pertinent and urgent, given the current context of the Common Core State Standards and the Next Generation Science Standards for all students, including ELLs.