The National Science Foundation has funded the Pittsburgh Public Schools’ Local Systemic Change (LSC) and Urban Systemic Programs in K–12 mathematics and science. EDC is performing an evaluation of the programs. The evaluation is formative, shaping the work of teachers, teacher leaders, and administrators, and summative, looking at the impact of the work on teaching, learning, and district policies.
The Ford Partnership for Advanced Studies (Ford PAS) program includes an interdisciplinary high school curriculum that challenges students academically while also developing their problem-solving, teamwork, and communication skills.
Through its national network of school districts, CSE created and disseminated Selecting Computer-Based High School Science Curricula: A Guide for Teachers. The guide enables teachers to maximize the growing and considerable investment this country is making in technology. Research shows that a scientific and technical education is critical for students to function in and contribute to society. The guide is available through the CSE Web site.
In this project, EDC staff synthesize research, undertaken since 1984, that examines the impact of inquiry science instruction on student outcomes. A range of studies are included, such as quantitative and qualitative research, formal experimental models, ethnographies, dissertations, and teacher-led studies. This project increases understanding of inquiry’s impact and helps explain the reasons for its effects.
The WEEA Equity Resource Center was a national center that for 25 years promoted gender-equitable education for all students. The center offered educators and others a range of resources to help make gender equity a reality in the classroom and in educational systems, focusing especially on equity for girls and women who face multiple barriers due to gender and race, ethnic origin, disability, or age. The center’s funding ended in 2003 and select resources and information continue to be available through the achieved Web site.
EDC created this K–6 standards-based science curriculum, whose topics reflect a balance of life, physical, and earth sciences. The 17 modules and accompanying kits provide a hands-on, inquiry-based approach that builds skills and explores concepts through exciting science experiences. The curriculum, published by Kendall/Hunt, was revised in 2004. Four new modules are currently in production.
EDC developed and field-tested this biology curriculum for grades 9 and 10. The curriculum addresses the needs of all students and connects understanding of core biological principles with applications to social, health, economic, and other critical issues. The curriculum, published by Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company, includes an implementation guide to support users.
EDC is collaborating with three universities to study how classroom teachers in grades four through eight can provide access to a rigorous, standards-based curriculum to students with disabilities. Over five years, REACH is developing and studying instructional approaches that support all students as they engage in challenging content learning in language arts (EDC), mathematics (University of Puget Sound), science (University of Michigan), and social studies (University of Delaware). The project has a special focus on the discourse practices that students use in learning rigorous content.
EDC and the Concord Consortium collaborated to develop “web-labs”: online genetics applications designed for middle and high school students. The project supports teachers’ use of the software by customizing it to teach specific genetics concepts and content. Project staff also developed teachers guides and other support materials.
In collaboration with the National Institute of Out-of-School Time (NIOST), EDC’s Center for Science Education worked with six science centers around the country to introduce design-engineering activities into afterschool programming. CSE developed the curricula for the engineering projects; NIOST provided technical support for their implementation. Through monthly workshops, science centers introduced the curricula to program leaders of participating community agencies.
CSE is developing Explore It!, an out-of-school curriculum in which children explore familiar phenomena in an extended manner using simple materials to foster science learning. These investigations will provide an experiential foundation for the development of concepts aligned with the national standards addressed in formal school curricula.
This project has produced a high school curriculum that integrates academic (biology) and technical (biotechnology) education to create opportunities for all students to progress to higher education and to enter the high-skilled workforce. EDC works with education and industry advisors to ensure that the curriculum meets these goals. In this phase, we field-tested, evaluated, and revised two units, Microbe Detectives: Solving a Medical Mystery and A Genetic Puzzle: The Search for a Solution.
dot-EDU was an information and communication technology (ICT) intervention mechanism for USAID Missions seeking to improve education systems in their respective countries. dot-EDU sought to assist developing countries in strengthening learning systems that improve quality, expand access, and enhance equity through carefully planned applications of digital and broadcast technologies. The dot-EDU mission had two foci. First, dot-EDU provided training and technical assistance to support USAID Missions in developing and implementing technology-assisted applications.
EDC’s Gender, Diversities, and Technology Institute works at the intersection of gender, race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, disability, culture, and sexual orientation seeking to understand how technology can support the development of democracy and human rights. Projects focus on increasing participation in and distributing ownership of the “new knowledge society” brought about by emerging technologies.
The FunWorks is a digital library of career exploration resources for youth ages 11 to 15. The FunWorks provides “real world” experiences and uses children’s current interests and passions, such as music and sports, to help them explore exciting future careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The site was designed for and by children—over 300 young people have participated in the design and launch of this one-of-a-kind collection from the initial concept to design, usability testing, and launch.
This three-year research project, funded through the NSF’s Evaluation Capacity Building program, is developing and rigorously testing the Inquiring into Science Instruction Observation Protocol (ISIOP), which helps evaluators determine the nature of inquiry science instruction and the extent to which elements of it are present in middle school classroom teaching. The protocol relies on work from two other projects at EDC—Inquiry Synthesis and the Middle-Grades Science Mentoring Program—in addition to existing instruments from other researchers.
GSDL provides high-quality digital resources to: (1) help educators promote interest and engagement with STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education by learners of all ages, particularly females; (2) encourage learners to pursue science education and future careers in science; (3) provide an inter-disciplinary examination of the role of gender in the creation, teaching, and learning of science; and (4) build community among all interested users for the purposes of inquiry, information exchange, best practices development, and mentoring.
EDC serves as the external evaluator for the University of Connecticut’s School Structure and Science Success project. The evaluation will focus on both the process and progress towards evaluation goals, such as (1) whether the project implementation is proceeding as planned; (2) to what extent the goals are being met; and (3) what the impact and value are of different aspects of the project.
The ITEST (Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers ) Learning Resource Center at EDC held a convening to develop a theoretical research framework to guide future research on youth motivation in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), with a particular emphasis on populations most underrepresented in the STEM workforce.
Participants focused on two guiding questions:
What is currently known about motivation in STEM for underrepresented youth?
What can be done to cultivate new research around STEM motivation for underrepresented youth?
The National Science Digital Library (NSDL) is an online portal for education and research on learning in
Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). The NSDL Youth Resources project (NYR) is designed to increase utilization of the NSDL by middle school students and their teachers by adding relevant, high-quality and engaging content. The project focuses on the quality, accessibility, and interactivity of content to determine what student’s identify and conceptualize as high-quality online STEM content.
Teachers’ Domain: Engaging Alaska Natives with the Geosciences collection aims to increase Alaska Natives’ exposure to and involvement with geoscience-related issues that are directly relevant to their lives. CCT will conduct the evaluation of the collection to examine the ways in which teachers are accessing and using the media materials and the impact on both native and non-native Alaskan high school students.
EDC is conducting a two-year pilot study to address critical methodological challenges inherent in doing longitudinal research linking informal science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) experiences and school achievement: first, addressing selection bias through careful selection of a comparison group that is comparable to the intervention group, and second, developing a qualitative design that both complements and extends the quantitative data collected.
Middle and high school students performed better on science subject tests when their teachers had taken professional development in that same subject, according to a study conducted by EDC researchers published this month by the journal Kappan.
EDC co-sponsored a special report on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education in USA Today that appeared over New Year’s weekend. The report, prepared by Media Planet, was distributed in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, and Cleveland, reaching more than three million readers.