Time filter

Source Type

San Francisco, CA, United States

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: Core R&D Programs | Award Amount: 871.15K | Year: 2016

Researchers at ETR Associates will conduct a mixed methods longitudinal study on the malleable factors that affect community college students? persistence in information and communications technologies (ICT) classes and careers. The project involves a partnership between a research organization, about 25 community colleges, and five external advisors with expertise in higher education research, policy, and teaching. It will test and extend theories of student persistence and build on the team?s prior research on community college pathways to four-year computer science majors. The study will produce evidence on factors that influence retention, degree attainment, and technical skills development for community college students in ICT fields and inform future research about appropriate theory and measurement tools for use in studies about community college to ICT career pathways. Research results will inform investments in broadening participation programs, institutional and classroom policies and procedures, and intervention programs designed to increase persistence in ICT programs.

The research team will test a portion of an expanded and adapted theory of student persistence to investigate how different factors influence community college students? outcomes. The project will investigate three research questions: (1) What baseline factors (individual, relational, and institutional) are most related to the intentions of community college students to complete their ICT courses? (2) What baseline and interim factors are most related to completion of the ICT course? And (3) What baseline, interim, and current factors are most related to other indicators of success that include program completion, technical skill development, and enhanced workforce capacity? Data analyses will proceed from descriptive and bivariate analyses to multilevel linear and logistic regression analyses. These will be guided by theory as well as prior research on the role of individual, relational, and institutional factors in career pathways. The study will yield evidence about what leads to retention, degree attainment, and technical skills development for underrepresented community college students in information and communications technologies.

This project is supported by NSFs EHR Core Research (ECR) program. The ECR program emphasizes fundamental STEM education research that generates foundational knowledge in three thematic areas: STEM learning and learning environments, broadening participation, and STEM workforce development.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: Core R&D Programs | Award Amount: 277.92K | Year: 2016

ETR Associates and the College of Charleston will conduct a collaborative research project that is designed to increase diversity in computer science by exploring whether boot camps build students adaptive expertise and how the actual preparation aligns with computing workforce expectations for knowledge and competencies. The study will be conducted in Silicon Valley in California and Silicon Harbor in South Carolina and will yield (1) models of the attributes of effective software developers from the perspective of universities, coding boot campus, and software development companies; (2) a conceptual framework of how software development workforce needs align with training preparation, and how variations in the preparation of adaptive expertise can inform efforts to broaden participation; and (3) longitudinal case studies of students from underrepresented groups from the two types of training settings. The results will inform researchers, educators, and employers about the knowledge and coursework necessary to develop adaptive software developers who are prepared for the computer science workforce.

The researchers will use a three-phase mixed-methods approach to investigate the following research questions: (1) What kinds of software development learning opportunities are offered by undergraduate programs? What kinds are offered at coding boot camps? (2) How well do the different training settings align with regional software development industry needs? and (3) What kinds of learners are attracted to the different learning opportunities and why? They will triangulate the findings across multiple data sources, follow a tested process for developing a conceptual framework, and use a rigorous set of procedures for analysis. Data will include surveys, interviews, and focus groups.

This project is supported by NSFs EHR Core Research (ECR) program. The ECR program emphasizes fundamental STEM education research that generates foundational knowledge in three thematic areas: STEM learning and learning environments, broadening participation, and STEM workforce development.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: | Award Amount: 321.10K | Year: 2014

This project will develop advanced methods for automatically generating scenarios that are intrinsically motivating, responsive to the users behavior, and potentially beneficial in many spheres of the economy and culture. As numerous existing communication media are merging, computer-based narratives have become increasingly complex, significant, and influential. However, at present they are inflexible and ignore the characteristics and goals of the individual user. For many of our most pressing societal needs - from more effective education to addressing climatology challenges - a key component of any approach is motivation. Intrinsic motivation, which involves performing an activity because it is inherently interesting, is often associated with deep learning and creativity. This project employs an approach that combines types of reasoning drawn from computational creativity and logic programming to meet this challenge.

The research will demonstrate the first successful scenario generator, dynamically combining narrative and simulated action, and showing that generation can be guided by domain models, laying the foundation for projects to leverage generated scenarios for intrinsically motivating learning and other activities. In so doing, it will execute a novel evaluation plan that will produce a more refined understanding of the relationship between intrinsic motivation and learning, including the interrelated categories of engagement, agency, and valuation of outcomes by comparing player experience of integrated scenario systems with and without allowing the users choices to influence the challenges and narrative. It is hoped that this research will demonstrate the utility of heterogeneous architectures for enabling previously-impossible experiences for users in a wide range of interactive experiences. A specific focus is creation of a computer-based educational experience focused on meteorological shifts, made possible by this projects technical advances and informed by its findings related to user motivation and learning.

While the research community has had some success in generating both narrative and simulated action, generating both together presents novel research questions. Further, to meet social needs, this generation must be capable of being guided by pedagogical and other explicitly-represented goals. This research seeks to achieve two fundamental advances. First, the project will demonstrate a successful scenario generator, showing that generation can be guided by domain models, which will enable future projects to leverage generated scenarios for intrinsically motivating learning and other activities. Second, user studies will support the first empirically grounded understanding of the effects of narrative and action responsiveness and variation on user experience, particularly engagement, motivation, and learning. By demonstrating successful scenario generation, this project will turn attention to the scenario as a potential fundamental unit for educational software, with the potential to reach underrepresented groups and produce significant economic benefit.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: STEM + Computing (STEM+C) Part | Award Amount: 598.61K | Year: 2015

This work examines the extent to which community-based technology centers that incorporate open educational resources can provide the educational structure needed to motivate and prepare underserved high school students, particularly Latino/a students in rural communities, for careers in computer science (CS). Community centers are uniquely positioned to provide access to relevant technology and instruction, scaffolding for CS learning, and a network of support, but there is little research on how to optimize their impact for youth that are poorly served by their local school systems. This project will lead to a model for other community technology centers to build educational and career pathways by leveraging online resources, linking them to national CS standards as well as local industry needs and supporting that learning with effective mentorship. It will result in a set of recommended strategies that informal education centers can use to effectively deliver and complement formal school-based CS education.

This is a partnership between a research organization, ETR Associates and the Digital NEST, a community technology center that serves Latino/a high school students. The work examines the efficacy of a suite of educational techniques tailored specifically for CS education in informal settings. The pedagogical component focuses on the effective use of badges as motivational learning devices through the development of digital credentials. Students will engage in hybrid online CS courses aligned with CSTA K-12 CS standards. In the process, this work assesses the social and motivational factors that affect engagement and retention in CS education in community-based informal settings. Given that less than a quarter of all high schools in the United States offer formal computing education, this research is positioned to address the growing need for CS education in informal settings and particularly students in rural settings.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: REAL | Award Amount: 1.06M | Year: 2013

This study aims to improve educational practices by filling critical gaps in research on the impact of relationships on mathematics achievement for Latino students. The study has two main objectives: First, the PIs will use longitudinal data and advanced statistical approaches to understand factors that influence mathematics attitudes and achievement during the transition from elementary to middle school. Second, the PIs will apply the expectancy-value model to the prediction of mathematics behavior and performance. Surveys will be collected from 300 Latino mothers, students, and their math teachers near the end of 5th grade, at the beginning and end of 6th grade, and at the beginning of 7th grade.

The intellectual merit is its potential to advance understanding of how and why interest in mathematics develops or declines over time, and how parents and teachers respond to these changes. The work will address broader impacts and benefit society by contributing to the body of literature concerning Latino students in STEM and has the potential to influence both parental behaviors and teaching practices as they relate to underrepresented populations. A graduate student will be trained to develop and apply analytic tools for interdependent data to STEM education content, helping to address the critical shortage of quantitative methodologists. The findings will be disseminated to researchers, teachers, parent and teacher educators, and parents.

Discover hidden collaborations