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Los Angeles, CA, United States

Pearson P.D.,University of California at Berkeley | Moje E.,University of Michigan | Greenleaf C.,WestEd
Science | Year: 2010

We use conceptual and empirical lenses to examine synergies between inquiry science and literacy teaching and learning of K-12 (kindergarten through high school) curriculum. We address two questions: (i) how can reading and writing be used as tools to support inquiry-based science, and (ii) how do reading and writing benefit when embedded in an inquiry-based science setting? After elaborating the theoretical and empirical support for integrated approaches, we discuss how to support their implementation in today's complicated curricular landscape. Source

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: DISCOVERY RESEARCH K-12 | Award Amount: 3.00M | Year: 2013

Project Summary
Using Math Pathways & Pitfalls to Promote Algebra Readiness is a 4-year Full Research and Development project that creates a set of materials for middle grades students and teacher professional development that would support the learning of early algebra. Building on their prior work with an elementary version, the efficacy study focuses on the implementation of the principals underlying the materials, fidelity of use of the materials, and impact on students learning.
The projects goals are to: 1) develop an MPP book and companion materials dedicated to algebra readiness content and skills, 2) investigate how MPP transforms pedagogical practices to improve students algebra readiness and metacognitive skills, and 3) validate MPPs effectiveness for improving students algebra readiness with a large-scale randomized controlled trial.

The iterative design and efficacy studies produce research-based materials to increase student learning of core concepts in algebra readiness. Though the focus of the project is algebra readiness, the study also examines the validity of the pedagogical approach of MPP. The MPP lesson structures are designed to help students confront common misconceptions, dubbed pitfalls, through sense-making, class discussions, and the use of multiple visual representations. If the pedagogical approach of MPP proves to be successful, the lesson structures can be presented as an effective framework for instruction that extends to other content areas in mathematics and other disciplines.

The project addresses a critical need in education, and the potential impact is large. Math achievement in the U.S. is not keeping pace with international performance. The current project focuses on algebra readiness skills, an area that is critical for future success in mathematics. Algebra often serves as a gatekeeper to more advanced mathematics, and performance in algebra has been linked to success in college and long-term earnings potential. Longitudinal studies indicate that students taking rigorous high school mathematics courses are twice as likely to graduate from college as those who do not. Thus, adequately preparing students for algebra can dramatically affect educational outcomes for students. The current project broadens the participation of underrepresented groups of students in math and later science classes that require strong math skills. The intervention builds on materials and pedagogical techniques that have demonstrated positive outcomes for diverse students. The targeted districts have large samples of English language learners and students from groups traditionally underrepresented in STEM so that we may evaluate the impact of the intervention on these populations. At the end of the project, the publication quality materials will be readily available to teachers and districts through our website www.wested.org/mpp.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: Core R&D Programs | Award Amount: 1.50M | Year: 2016

Researchers will examine the fidelity and quality of their implementation of Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) in response to an extensive professional development program of workshops and professional learning communities. In addition the study will investigate how individual teacher background characteristics, their personal beliefs about science teaching and learning, the characteristics of their students, and other contextual variables affect such implementation. Study findings will inform district and state policy makers about types of supports teachers need to implement NGSS successfully, and will differentiate between supports for various teacher backgrounds and student groups. As such, the project will support improved science teaching in more sites and for more students nationwide.

NGSS classroom implementation will be observed in four California districts receiving extensive professional development and related implementation supports through a program funded by the Bechtel Foundation. The research will include individual case studies and a cross-case analysis on a set of 20 middle school teacher leaders and 40 rank-and-file middle school teachers receiving various levels of support. Teachers will be recruited based on sampling criteria that include prior science teaching experiences, teaching conditions, teacher content backgrounds, characteristics of students served, and location. For each teacher case, researchers will inspect lesson plans and curricular documents, conduct classroom observations, collect teaching artifacts, and interview the teachers. In addition, researchers will conduct teacher surveys, and a survey of students opportunities to learn. This project is supported by NSFs EHR Core Research (ECR) program. The ECR program emphasizes fundamental STEM education research that generates foundational knowledge in the field.

Venezia A.,WestEds Regional Educational Laboratory | Jaeger L.,WestEd
Future of Children | Year: 2013

The vast majority of high school students aspire to some kind of postsecondary education, yet far too many of them enter college without the basic content knowledge, skills, or habits of mind they need to succeed. Andrea Venezia and Laura Jaeger look at the state of college readiness among high school students, the effectiveness of programs in place to help them transition to college, and efforts to improve those transitions. Students are unprepared for postsecondary coursework for many reasons, the authors write, including differences between what high schools teach and what colleges expect, as well as large disparities between the instruction offered by high schools with high concentrations of students in poverty and that offered by high schools with more advantaged students. The authors also note the importance of noncurricular variables, such as peer influences, parental expectations, and conditions that encourage academic study. Interventions to improve college readiness offer a variety of services, from academic preparation and information about college and financial aid, to psychosocial and behavioral supports, to the development of habits of mind including organizational skills, anticipation, persistence, and resiliency. The authors also discuss more systemic programs, such as Middle College High Schools, and review efforts to allow high school students to take college classes (known as dual enrollment). Evaluations of the effectiveness of these efforts are limited, but the authors report that studies of pre-college support programs generally show small impacts, while the more systemic programs show mixed results. Dual-enrollment programs show promise, but the evaluation designs may overstate the results. The Common Core State Standards, a voluntary set of goals and expectations in English and math adopted by most states, offer the potential to improve college and career readiness, the authors write. But that potential will be realized, they add, only if the standards are supplemented with the necessary professional development to enable educators to help all students meet academic college readiness standards, a focus on developing strong noncognitive knowledge and skills for all students, and the information and supports to help students prepare and select the most appropriate postsecondary institution. © 2013 The Trustees of Princeton University. Source

Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: Core R&D Programs | Award Amount: 1.11M | Year: 2014

WestEd proposes to study the Technical Education and Literacy in Schools (TEALS) program. TEALS, a pioneering work-place intervention of the non-profit Microsoft YouthSpark program, provides multi-year, on-the-job computer science education professional development to high school teachers. The project will identify an effective learning model to prepare in-service teachers to teach computer science. To ensure the model meets workplace requirements, all research will take place in an authentic high school learning context. In addition, the project will synthesize existing research on computer science education, integrate research with practice, and contribute to the development of theory around computer science pedagogy.

This project addresses a major barrier to increasing the number of qualified K-12 computer science teachers in the U.S. Few avenues currently exist for pre-service and in-service teachers to train in computer science pedagogy and become certified to teach computer science. As computer science is becoming increasingly important for many kinds of careers, improving teaching in this area is in the national interest.

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