Descriptive

Identifying and Measuring the Implementation and Impact of STEM School Models

The goal of this Transforming STEM Learning project is to comprehensively describe models of 20 inclusive STEM high schools in five states (California, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, and Texas), measure the factors that affect their implementation; and examine the relationships between these, the model components, and a range of student outcomes. The project is grounded in theoretical frameworks and research related to learning conditions and fidelity of implementation.

Lead Organization(s): 
Partner Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
1238552
Funding Period: 
Mon, 10/01/2012 to Fri, 09/30/2016
Full Description: 

The goal of this Transforming STEM Learning project is to comprehensively describe models of 20 inclusive STEM high schools in five states (California, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, and Texas), measure the factors that affect their implementation; and examine the relationships between these, the model components, and a range of student outcomes. The project is grounded in theoretical frameworks and research related to learning conditions and fidelity of implementation.

The study employs a longitudinal, mixed-methods research design over four years. Research questions are: (1) What are the intended components of each inclusive STEM school model?; (2) What is the status of the intended components of each STEM school model?; (3) What are the contexts and conditions that contribute to and inhibit the implementation of components that comprise the STEM schools' models?; and (4) What components are most closely related to desired student outcomes in STEM schools? Data gathering strategies include: (a) analyses of school components (e.g., structures, interactions, practices); (b) measures of the actual implementation of components through teacher, school principals, and student questionnaires, observation protocols, teacher focus groups, and interviews; (c) identification of contextual conditions that contribute to or inhibit implementation using a framework inclusive of characteristics of the innovation, individual users, leadership, organization, and school environment using questionnaires and interviews; and (d) measuring student outcomes using four cohorts of 9-12 students, including standardized test assessment systems, grades, student questionnaires (e.g., students' perceptions of schools and teachers, self-efficacy), and postsecondary questionnaires. Quantitative data analysis strategies include: (a) assessment of validity and reliability of items measuring the implementation status of participating schools; (b) exploratory factor analysis to examine underlying dimensions of implementation and learning conditions; and (c) development of school profiles, and 2- and 3-level Hierarchical Linear Modeling to analyze relationships between implementation and type of school model. Qualitative data analysis strategies include:(a) descriptions of intra- and inter-school implementation and factor themes, (b) coding, and (c) narrative analysis.

Expected outcomes are: (a) research-informed characterizations of the range of inclusive STEM high school models emerging across the country; (b) identification of components of STEM high school models important for accomplishing a range of desired student achievement; (c) descriptions of contexts and conditions that promote or inhibit the implementation of innovative STEM teaching and learning; (d) instruments for measuring enactment of model components and the learning environments that affect them; and (e) methodological approaches for examining relationships between model components and student achievement.

Leveraging MIPOs: Developing a Theory of Productive Use of Student Mathematical Thinking (Collaborative Research: Stockero)

The core research questions of the project are: (1) What is the nature of high-leverage student thinking that teachers have available to them in their classrooms? (2) How do teachers use student thinking during instruction and what goals, orientations and resources underlie that use? (3) What is the learning trajectory for the teaching practice of productively using student thinking? and (4) What supports can be provided to move teachers along that learning trajectory?

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
1220357
Funding Period: 
Mon, 10/01/2012 to Fri, 09/30/2016
Full Description: 

Leveraging MOSTs (Mathematically Significant Pedagogical Openings to build on Student Thinking) is a collaborative project among Brigham Young University, Michigan Technological University and Western Michigan University that focuses on improving the teaching of secondary school mathematics by improving teachers' abilities to use student thinking during instruction to develop mathematical concepts. The core research questions of the project are: (1) What is the nature of high-leverage student thinking that teachers have available to them in their classrooms? (2) How do teachers use student thinking during instruction and what goals, orientations and resources underlie that use? (3) What is the learning trajectory for the teaching practice of productively using student thinking? and (4) What supports can be provided to move teachers along that learning trajectory? The project is developing a theory of Productive Use of Student Mathematical Thinking (PUMT Theory) that articulates what the practice of productively using student mathematical thinking looks like, how one develops this practice, and how that development can be facilitated.

Design research methodology underlies the work of four interrelated phases: (1) Student thinking - testing and refining a preliminary framework by expanding an existing data set of classroom discourse video to include more diverse teacher and student populations; (2) Teachers' interactions with student thinking - assessing teachers' perceptions of using student thinking and how they make decisions about which thinking to pursue; (3) Teachers' learning about student thinking - using a series of teacher development experiments to improve teachers' abilities to productively use student mathematical thinking during instruction; and (4) Shareable products - creating useful products that are in forms that encourage feedback for further refinement. Data include video recordings of classroom instruction (to identify MOSTs and teachers' responses to them), teacher interviews (to understand their decisions in response to instances of student thinking), and records of teacher development sessions and the researchers' discussions about the teachers' development (to inform the teacher development experiments and future professional development activities). Project evaluation includes both formative and summative components that focus on the quality of the project's process for developing a PUMT Theory and associated tools and professional development, as well as the quality of the resulting products.

Leveraging MOSTs provides critical resources - including a theory, framework, and hypothetical learning trajectory - for teachers, teacher educators, and researchers that make more tangible the often abstract but fundamental goal of productively using students' mathematical thinking. The project enhances the field's understanding of (1) the MOSTs that teachers have available to them in their classrooms, and how they vary in diverse contexts; (2) teachers' perceptions and productive use of student thinking during instruction; and (3) the trajectory of teachers' learning about student thinking and how best to support movement along that trajectory. Using student thinking productively is a cornerstone of effective teaching, thus the PUMT Theory and associated supports produced by the project are valuable resources for those involved in mathematics education as well as other fields.

Leveraging MIPOs: Developing a Theory of Productive Use of Student Mathematical Thinking (Collaborative Research: Leatham)

The core research questions of the project are: (1) What is the nature of high-leverage student thinking that teachers have available to them in their classrooms? (2) How do teachers use student thinking during instruction and what goals, orientations and resources underlie that use? (3) What is the learning trajectory for the teaching practice of productively using student thinking? and (4) What supports can be provided to move teachers along that learning trajectory?

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
1220141
Funding Period: 
Mon, 10/01/2012 to Fri, 09/30/2016
Full Description: 

Leveraging MOSTs (Mathematically Significant Pedagogical Openings to build on Student Thinking) is a collaborative project among Brigham Young University, Michigan Technological University and Western Michigan University that focuses on improving the teaching of secondary school mathematics by improving teachers' abilities to use student thinking during instruction to develop mathematical concepts. The core research questions of the project are: (1) What is the nature of high-leverage student thinking that teachers have available to them in their classrooms? (2) How do teachers use student thinking during instruction and what goals, orientations and resources underlie that use? (3) What is the learning trajectory for the teaching practice of productively using student thinking? and (4) What supports can be provided to move teachers along that learning trajectory? The project is developing a theory of Productive Use of Student Mathematical Thinking (PUMT Theory) that articulates what the practice of productively using student mathematical thinking looks like, how one develops this practice, and how that development can be facilitated.

Design research methodology underlies the work of four interrelated phases: (1) Student thinking - testing and refining a preliminary framework by expanding an existing data set of classroom discourse video to include more diverse teacher and student populations; (2) Teachers' interactions with student thinking - assessing teachers' perceptions of using student thinking and how they make decisions about which thinking to pursue; (3) Teachers' learning about student thinking - using a series of teacher development experiments to improve teachers' abilities to productively use student mathematical thinking during instruction; and (4) Shareable products - creating useful products that are in forms that encourage feedback for further refinement. Data include video recordings of classroom instruction (to identify MOSTs and teachers' responses to them), teacher interviews (to understand their decisions in response to instances of student thinking), and records of teacher development sessions and the researchers' discussions about the teachers' development (to inform the teacher development experiments and future professional development activities). Project evaluation includes both formative and summative components that focus on the quality of the project's process for developing a PUMT Theory and associated tools and professional development, as well as the quality of the resulting products.

Leveraging MOSTs provides critical resources - including a theory, framework, and hypothetical learning trajectory - for teachers, teacher educators, and researchers that make more tangible the often abstract but fundamental goal of productively using students' mathematical thinking. The project enhances the field's understanding of (1) the MOSTs that teachers have available to them in their classrooms, and how they vary in diverse contexts; (2) teachers' perceptions and productive use of student thinking during instruction; and (3) the trajectory of teachers' learning about student thinking and how best to support movement along that trajectory. Using student thinking productively is a cornerstone of effective teaching, thus the PUMT Theory and associated supports produced by the project are valuable resources for those involved in mathematics education as well as other fields.

Evaluation of the Sustainability and Effectiveness of Inquiry-Based Advanced Placement Science Courses: Evidence From an In-Depth Formative Evaluation and Randomized Controlled Study

This study examines the impact of the newly revised Advanced Placement (AP) Biology and Chemistry courses on students' understanding of and ability to utilize scientific inquiry, on students' confidence in engaging in college-level material, and on students’ enrollment and persistence in college STEM majors. The project provides estimates of the impact of students' AP-course taking on their progress into postsecondary educational experiences and their intent to continue to prepare to be future engineers and scientists.

Award Number: 
1220092
Funding Period: 
Sat, 09/15/2012 to Wed, 08/31/2016
Full Description: 

This study examines the impact of the newly revised Advanced Placement (AP) Biology and Chemistry courses on students' understanding of and ability to apply scientific inquiry, on students' confidence in successfully engaging in college-level material, and on students enrollment and persistence in college STEM majors. AP Biology and Chemistry courses represent an important educational program that operates at a large scale across the country. The extent to which the AP curricula vary in implementation across the schools in the study is also examined to determine the range of students' opportunity to learn the disciplinary content and the knowledge and skills necessary to engage in inquiry in science. Schools that are newly implementing AP courses are participants in this research and the challenges and successes that they experience are also a component of the research plan. Researchers at the University of Washington, George Washington University and SRI International are conducting the study.

The research design for this study includes both formative components and a randomized control experiment. Formative elements include observations, interviews and surveys of teachers and students in the AP courses studied. The experimental design includes the random assignment of students to the AP offered and follows the performances of the treatment and control students in two cohorts into their matriculation into postsecondary educational experiences. Surveys measure students' experiences in the AP courses, their motivations to study AP science, the level of stress they experience in their high school coursework and their scientific inquiry skills and depth of disciplinary knowledge. The study examines the majors chosen by those students who enter into colleges and universities to ascertain the extent to which they continue in science and engineering.

This project informs educators about the challenges and successes schools encounter when they expand access to AP courses. The experiences of the teachers who will be teaching students with variable preparation inform future needs for professional development and support. The project provides estimates of the impact of students' AP-course taking on their progress into postsecondary educational experiences and their intent to continue to prepare to be future engineers and scientists. It informs policy efforts to improve the access to more rigorous advanced courses in STEM and provides strong experimental evidence of the impact of AP course taking. The project has the potential to demonstrate to educational researchers how to study an educational program that operates at scale.

Learning Trajectories to Support the Growth of Measurement Knowledge: Pre-K Through Middle School

This project is studying measurement practices from pre-K to Grade 8, as a coordination of the STEM disciplines of mathematics and science. This research project tests, revises and extends learning trajectories for children's knowledge of geometric measurement across a ten-year span of human development. The goal will be to validate all components of each learning trajectory, goal, developmental progression, and instruction tasks, as well as revising each LT to reflect the outcomes of the experiments.

Lead Organization(s): 
Partner Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
1222944
Funding Period: 
Wed, 08/01/2012 to Tue, 07/31/2018
Full Description: 

This project is studying measurement practices from pre-K to Grade 8, as a coordination of the STEM disciplines of mathematics and science. This four-year, mixed methods research project tests, revises and extends learning trajectories (LTs) for children's knowledge of geometric measurement across a ten-year span of human development. Specifically, research teams from Illinois State University and the University at Denver are working with children in urban and suburban schools to (1) validate and extend prior findings from previous NSF-funded research developing measurement learning trajectories with children in pre-K to Grade 5, and (2) generate and extend portions of trajectories for geometric measurement for Grades 6-8.

The project employs a form of microgenetic studies with 24-50 children per grade from pre-K through Grade 5 representing a stratified random sample from a specific set of suburban schools. These studies will test the validity, replicability and generalizability of the LTs for length, area, and volume. The goal will be to validate all components of each learning trajectory, goal, developmental progression, and instruction tasks, as well as revising each LT to reflect the outcomes of the experiments. Analysis of variance measures with pre/post assessments in an experimental/control design will complement the repeated sessions method of microgenetic analysis.

To explore and extend LTs for children in Grade 6-8, the project employs teaching experiments. This design is used to generate and extend portions of trajectories for geometric measurement, and to explore critical aspects of measurement in clinical and classroom contexts. This work is coordinated with the teaching and learning standards issued by the Council of Chief State School Officials/National Governors Association, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, the National Science Teachers Association, the American Association of the Advancement of Science, and the National Research Council with cognitive and mathematics/science education literature. Emerging constructs for the hypothetical LT levels in relation to relevant frameworks generated by other researchers and those implied by standards documents to establish ongoing sequences of the experimental interventions for grades 6-8 are being compared, critiqued and evaluated.

This project provides a longitudinal account of pre-K to Grade 8 children's ways of thinking and understanding mathematical and scientific concepts of measurement based upon empirical analysis. The resulting learning trajectory will represent state of the art integrated, interdisciplinary, theoretically- and empirically-based descriptions of increasingly sophisticated and complex levels of thinking in the domain of measurement (albeit, more tentative for Grades 6-8). This account will be used to verify and/or modify existing accounts of children's development of reasoning from short-term analyses of learning or cross-sectional studies. There are not yet integrative longitudinal studies describing this cognitive domain for area or volume measurement. This trajectory-based analysis of development and instruction supports the design and testing of integrative, formative assessment of individuals and groups of children. Such learning trajectories will be useful in implementing the standard-focused curriculum described in the Common Core State Standards Mathematics and in supporting the multiple large assessment projects currently underway

Assessing Secondary Teachers' Algebraic Habits of Mind (Collaborative Research: Stevens)

This collaborative project is developing instruments to assess secondary teachers' Mathematical Habits of Mind (MHoM). These habits bring parsimony, focus, and coherence to teachers' mathematical thinking and, in turn, to their work with students. This work fits into a larger research agenda with the ultimate goal of understanding the connections between secondary teachers' mathematical knowledge for teaching and secondary students' mathematical understanding and achievement.

Partner Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
1222496
Funding Period: 
Wed, 08/15/2012 to Sun, 07/31/2016
Full Description: 

Boston University, Education Development Center, Inc., and St. Olaf College are collaborating on Assessing Secondary Teachers' Algebraic Habits of Mind (ASTAHM) to develop instruments to assess secondary teachers' Mathematical Habits of Mind (MHoM). These habits bring parsimony, focus, and coherence to teachers' mathematical thinking and, in turn, to their work with students. MHoM is a critical component of mathematical knowledge for teaching at the secondary level. Recognizing the need for a scientific approach to investigate the ways in which MHoM is an indicator of teacher effectiveness, the partnership is researching the following questions:

1. How do teachers who engage MHoM when doing mathematics for themselves also bring MHoM to their teaching practice?

2. How are teachers' engagement with MHoM and their use of these habits in teaching related to student understanding and achievement?

To investigate these questions, ASTAHM is developing two instruments: a paper and pencil (P&P) assessment and an observation protocol that measure teachers' knowledge and classroom use, respectively, of MHoM.

The work is being conducted in two phases: (1) an instrument-refinement and learning phase, and (2) an instrument-testing and research phase. Objectives of Phase 1 are to gather data to refine the project's existing instruments and to learn about the bridge factors that impact the relationship between teachers' knowledge and classroom use of MHoM. Specific research activities include: administering the pilot P&P assessment to 40 teachers, videotaping Algebra instructions of 8 teachers, performing initial testing and refinement of the instruments, and using the data to analyze the bridge factors. Phase 2 is a large-scale study involving field-testing the P&P assessment with 200 teachers, videotaping 20 teachers and studying them using the observation protocol, collecting achievement data from 3000 students, and checking P&P content validity with 200 mathematicians. With these validated instruments in hand, the project will then conduct an investigation into the above research questions. Lesley University's Program Evaluation and Research Group (PERG) is the external evaluator. PERG is assessing ASTAHM's overall success in developing valid and reliable instruments to investigate the extent to which a relationship exists between teachers' MHoM and their classroom practice, as well as student achievement. Evaluators are also investigating whether users' coding guides for both instruments enable field-testers to effectively use and adequately score them.

This work fits into a larger research agenda with the ultimate goal of understanding the connections between secondary teachers' mathematical knowledge for teaching and secondary students' mathematical understanding and achievement. The MHoM construct is closely aligned with the Common Core State Standards-Mathematics (CCSS-M); especially its Standards for Mathematical Practice. For example, both place importance on seeking and using mathematical structure. Thus the instruments this project produces can act as pre- and post-measures of the effectiveness of professional development programs in preparing teachers to implement the CCSS-M. Mathematics teacher knowledge at the secondary level is an understudied field. Through analyses of the practices and habits of mind that teachers bring to their work, ASTAHM is developing instruments that can be used to shed light on effective secondary teaching.


Project Videos

2019 STEM for All Video Showcase

Title: Studying Teachers' Mathematical Habits of Mind

Presenter(s): Sarah Sword, Eden Badertscher, Al Cuoco, Miriam Gates, Ryota Matsuura, & Glenn Stevens

2017 STEM for All Video Showcase
Title: Assessing Secondary Teachers' Algebraic Habits of Mind

Presenter(s): Sarah Sword, Courtney Arthur, Al Cuoco, Miriam Gates, Ryota Matsuura, & Glenn Stevens

2016 STEM for All Video Showcase

Title: Assessing Secondary Teachers' Algebraic Habits of Mind

Presenter(s): Ryota Matsuura, Al Cuoco, Glenn Stevens, & Sarah Sword


Learning Mathematics of the City in the City

This project is developing teaching modules that engage high school students in learning and using mathematics. Using geo-spatial technologies, students explore their city with the purpose of collecting data they bring back to the formal classroom and use as part of their mathematics lessons. This place-based orientation helps students connect their everyday and school mathematical thinking. Researchers are investigating the impact of place-based learning on students' attitudes, beliefs, and self-concepts about mathematics in urban schools.

Lead Organization(s): 
Partner Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
1222430
Funding Period: 
Sat, 09/01/2012 to Mon, 08/31/2015
Full Description: 

Learning Mathematics of the City in The City is an exploratory project that is developing teaching modules that engage high school students in learning mathematics and using the mathematics they learn. Using geo-spatial technologies, students explore their city with the purpose of collecting data they bring back to the formal classroom and use as part of their mathematics lessons. This place-based orientation is helping students connect their everyday and school mathematical thinking.

Researchers are investigating the impact of place-based learning on students' attitudes, beliefs, and self-concepts about mathematics in urban schools. Specifically, researchers want to understand how place-based learning helps students apply mathematics to address questions about their local environment. Researchers are also learning about the opportunities for teaching mathematics using carefully planned lessons enhanced by geo-spatial technologies. Data are being collected through student interviews, classroom observations, student questionnaires, and student work.

As the authors explain, "The use of familiar or engaging contexts is widely accepted as productive in the teaching and learning of mathematics." By working in urban neighborhoods with large populations of low-income families, this exploratory project is illustrating what can be done to engage students in mathematics and mathematical thinking. The products from the project include student materials, software adaptations, lesson plans, and findings from their research. These products enable further experimentation with place-based mathematics learning and lead the way for connecting mathematical activities in school and outside of school.

Developing Principles for Mathematics Curriculum Design and Use in the Common Core Era

This project is developing principles for supporting middle school mathematics teachers' capacity to use curriculum resources to design instruction that addresses the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics. These principles are intended for: (1) curriculum developers; (2) professional development designers, to help teachers better utilize curriculum materials with respect to the CCSSM; and (3) teachers, so that they can use curriculum resources to design instruction that addresses the CCSSM.

Award Number: 
1222359
Funding Period: 
Wed, 08/15/2012 to Sun, 07/31/2016
Project Evaluator: 
Horizon Research
Full Description: 

This project is developing principles for supporting middle school mathematics teachers' capacity to use curriculum resources to design instruction that addresses the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics (CCSSM). These principles are intended for: (1) curriculum developers to help in the design of curriculum materials; (2) professional development designers and local instructional leaders, to help teachers understand and better utilize curriculum materials with respect to the CCSSM; and (3) teachers, so that they can use curriculum resources to design instruction that addresses the CCSSM. The study addresses the following research questions:

1. What design features of materials support effective instructional design?

2. What teacher and district characteristics support effective instructional design?

3. How do teachers use materials to design instruction that addresses the new CCSSM?

4. What design practices lead to instruction that addresses the progressions and practices in the CCSSM?

A sample of teachers across grades 6 - 8 and their instructional leaders will be selected, up to a maximum of 72 teachers. The sample of teachers is purposefully diverse in terms of demographic, geographic, and curriculum contexts. The curricula include NSF-funded programs as well as commercially-developed programs. The ways teachers understand and access curriculum resources in fully digital environments as well as more conventional media will be studied. Partnering institutions include the University of Rochester, Michigan State University, Western Michigan University, and Washington State University Tri-Cities.

The data collection includes surveys, assessments of teachers' mathematical knowledge for teaching, observations of teachers' use and enactment of curriculum materials, analyses of student text and associated teacher resource materials, and teacher logs. These data are used to test conjectures about: (1) how curriculum materials, particularly the teacher resources, can be better designed to help teachers productively design instruction, especially with regard to incorporating the mathematical practices in the CCSSM; and (2) how teachers can be better supported to understand and use curriculum resources. The project evaluation includes formative and summative components, providing information and assistance to ensure that the project addresses its stated goals and employs rigorous methodology. Multiple methods are being used to collect evaluation data, including observations, interviews, and document review.

The deliverables are aimed at audiences who can impact large numbers of teachers and students, such as curriculum developers, designers of professional development, and researchers. The deliverables include: (1) guidelines for curriculum developers that are intended to make curriculum resources more transparent and accessible; (2) guidelines for instructional leaders to support teachers to use curriculum materials to design instruction that addresses the rigorous features of the CCSSM, and (3) refined instruments for studying teachers' curricular practices.

CAREER: Learning to Support Productive Collective Argumentation in Secondary Mathematics Classes

Research has shown that engaging students, including students from underrepresented groups, in appropriately structured reasoning activities, including argumentation, may lead to enhanced learning. This project will provide information about how teachers learn to support collective argumentation and will allow for the development of professional development materials for prospective and practicing teachers that will enhance their support for productive collective argumentation.

Award Number: 
1149436
Funding Period: 
Sun, 07/01/2012 to Sun, 06/30/2019
Full Description: 

Doing mathematics involves more than simply solving problems; justifying mathematical claims is an important part of doing mathematics. In fact, proving and justifying are central goals of learning mathematics. Recently, the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics has again raised the issue of making and critiquing arguments as a central practice for students studying mathematics. If students are to learn to make and critique arguments within their mathematics classes, teachers must be prepared to support their students in learning to argue appropriately in mathematics. This learning often occurs during class discussions in which arguments are made public for all students in the class. The act of creating arguments together in a classroom is called collective argumentation. Teachers need to be able to support students in productively engaging in collective argumentation, but research has not yet shown how they learn to do so. This project will document how mathematics teachers learn to support their students in engaging in productive collective argumentation. The research team will follow a cohort of participants (college students majoring in mathematics education) through their mathematics education coursework, observing their engagement in collective argumentation and opportunities to learn about supporting collective argumentation. The team will continue to follow the participants into their first two years of teaching, focusing on how their support for collective argumentation evolves over time. During their first two years of teaching, the research team and participants will work together to analyze the participants' support for collective argumentation in order to help the participants develop more effective ways to support collective argumentation.

Research has shown that engaging students, including students from underrepresented groups, in appropriately structured reasoning activities, including argumentation, may lead to enhanced learning. This project will provide information about how teachers learn to support collective argumentation and will allow for the development of professional development materials for prospective and practicing teachers that will enhance their support for productive collective argumentation.

Constructing and Critiquing Arguments in Middle School Science Classrooms: Supporting Teachers with Multimedia Educative Curriculum Materials

This project is developing Earth and Space Science multimedia educative curriculum materials (MECMs) and a system to facilitate teachers' learning and beliefs of scientific argumentation. The project is investigating the impact of the MECMs on teachers' beliefs about scientific argumentation and their related pedagogical content knowledge. The overarching research question focuses on how can multimedia educative curriculum materials provide support to middle school science teachers in implementing standards for constructing and critiquing arguments.

Project Email: 
Award Number: 
1119584
Funding Period: 
Thu, 09/01/2011 to Sun, 08/31/2014
Project Evaluator: 
Naomi Hupert
Full Description: 

This project between Lawrence Hall of Science and Boston College is developing Earth and Space Science multimedia educative curriculum materials (MECM) and a system to facilitate teachers' learning and beliefs of scientific argumentation. The MECMs include videos, voice-over narratives, diagrammatic representations, images of student writings, and text. The PIs are investigating the impact of the MECMS on teachers' beliefs about scientific argumentation and their related pedagogical content knowledge. The overarching research question, with four sub questions, focuses on how can multimedia educative curriculum materials provide support to middle school science teachers in implementing standards for constructing and critiquing arguments. The four sub questions are: What factors impact teachers' implementation of argumentation instruction in the classroom? How can MECMs be designed to positively impact teachers' beliefs and their pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) about argumentation? What is the relationship between teachers' beliefs about the value of argumentation and their implementation of argumentation in the classroom? What impact do MECMs have on teachers' beliefs and PCK?

A mixed method approach is being used to assess teachers' beliefs and pedagogical content knowledge. The PIs are developing and pilot testing teachers' beliefs about scientific argumentation. They will use an iterative design process for the MECMs that will involve 50 teachers. Twenty-five phone interviews will be conducted to investigate factors that impact teachers' implementations of scientific argumentation. Three iterative cycles of design and testing include focus groups, a pilot of the MECMs in six classrooms, and a national field test of 30 classrooms. One hundred teachers will field test the assessment followed by collection of six case studies and data analyses. The project's formative and summative evaluations include monitoring and providing feedback for all activities, and assessments of program implementation and impact.

Teachers need support using field tested multimedia educative materials (MECMs) in learning and delivering science content using a scientific argumentation process. By delivering and engaging the teaching and learning process through iterative design of Earth and Space Science multimedia educative curriculum materials, this project would provide, if successful, teachers and students with the necessary literacy and knowledge about scientific argumentation. The MECMs and approach has the potential for broad implementation in middle schools and beyond for delivering Earth and Space science material to support and teach scientific argumentation.

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