Virtual School Meanderings

May 27, 2016

Promoting the Fundamentals for Success Among Diverse Learners | SRI Education Notes | May 2016

Also from Wednesday’s inbox…

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SRI Education Notes

Denise Glyn Borders Vice President, SRI Education

Promoting the Fundamentals for Success Among Diverse Learners

At SRI Education, we know that incremental improvement is not going to be enough to help our society succeed in the 21st century. That’s why all our research aims to tackle accelerated learning and foundations for success, including writing, coding, and personal success skills. And we aim to provide these foundations to all learners, including children, adults, and those with autism or other special needs. Below, four stories share how our recently completed studies are making an impact on fundamentals for success among diverse learners. You’ll also find some mentions of recent awards earned by SRI researchers, as well as links to news on our work on the right.

Enjoy,
Denise Glyn Borders
President, SRI Education

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Follow @SRI_Education for the latest in education research!Whether it’s a gathering of NSF-funded STEM researchers, a White House summit on next-generation STEM high schools, or an education research conference, we’ll be your eyes and ears to discover news, key findings, and useful resources. Be sure to add us to your education Twitter lists. @SRI_Education

Photo of Barbara Means tweet on evidence and edtech tools

:: In the News

Improving Teacher Evaluation

Our March 2016 report Replacing Teacher Evaluation Systems with Systems of Professional Growth: Lessons from Three California School Districts and Their Teachers’ Unions was the subject of the April 13thEdSource article, Districts, unions innovate to evaluate teachers.

Photo of Bill Gates speaking

Education Technology That Supports Struggling Students

On April 20, Bill Gates cited our Lessons Learned from Early Implementations of Adaptive Courseware in his keynote address at the Arizona State University Global Silicon Valley Summit. Adaptive learning courseware uses computer algorithms to analyze data collected as students interact with online learning environments.

This project was also featured in an April 18national education news article. SRI Education Researcher Vanessa Peters wrote an opinion piece, How Can Technology Impact Outcomes in Introductory College Courses? for EdSurge.


:: Stay Connected

Go to the SRI Education Twitter page

Click here to go to the SRI Facebook page. Click here to go to the SRI Education Twitter page Click here to go to the SRI YouTube page. Click here to go to the SRI LinkedIn page. Click here to go to the SRI Google+ page.


SRI Education is tackling the most complex issues in education to help students succeed. We work with federal and state agencies, school districts, major foundations, nonprofit organizations, and international and commercial clients to assess learning gains, use technology for educational innovation, and address risk factors that impede learning.

Visit sri.com/education.

SRI Education
333 Ravenswood Avenue
Menlo Park, CA 94025

1100 Wilson Boulevard
Suite 2800 (28th floor)
Arlington, VA 22209

© 2016 SRI International. SRI Education is a division of SRI International. SRI International is a registered trademark and SRI Education is a trademark of SRI International. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

Adults working together

How Research Can Raise the Bar on Developing Adults’ Skills in 21st Century Careers

In the United States today, millions of people are unemployed and underemployed—making economic stability out of reach for themselves and their families. These numbers are not driven solely by lack of education or technical knowledge, but also by a broad need in the workforce to develop adults’ personal success skills.SRI Education and the Joyce Foundation recently released a report that discusses how evidence-based research provides guidance for promoting personal success skills for adults who are striving to build sustainable 21st century careers.

Personal success skills are the capabilities that enable adults to deal with the challenges, relationships, transitions, and social systems that make up working life. Important abilities include basic job readiness, self-directed learning, self-management, personal responsibility, effective communication, career management, and everyday problem solving. “In our world of rapidly changing technology, workforce needs, and economic conditions, people need well-developed personal success skills to get good jobs and keep them,” said Nikki Shechtman, senior researcher for SRI Education and lead author on the report. Learn more about the report, Empowering Adults to Thrive at Work, from our recent blog post.

Girl working in a computer lab

Measuring Student Learning About Computing

President Obama’s recent initiative Computer Science for All (CS4All) emphasizes the need to teach computer science as part of the regular K-12 curriculum. An important part of teaching is measuring learning; teachers measure student learning so that they can better help students learn. Likewise, students and parents want schools to document what students know about computational thinking, and what they can do with that knowledge. Whereas tests exist for conventional school subjects like math, there are almost no relevant assessments available for K-12 learning about computer science education – and a lack of assessments could adversely effect the growth of Computer Science for All.

SRI researchers are addressing this pressing need by defining effective assessments of difficult-to-measure concepts in computer science education in ways that are appropriate for K-12 settings. Evidence-based assessment of student learningis at the heart of what researchers in SRI Education’s Center for Technology in Learning have been focused on for decades. Building on this foundation, we’re leading the application of new methods and technologies to design effective assessments of difficult-to-measure problems in computer science education. To learn more about the design of these assessments, see the full blog post from Daisy Rutstein and Shuchi Grover.

Students in a classroom

Turning Autism Research into Support for Learning

Autism affects people and their ability to function in a variety of ways across the spectrum. For those who have mild to moderate autism and are considered “high functioning,” many do well in high school but fare poorly in postsecondary settings. In fact, the vast majority of students with autism do not go to college and have one of the lowest college enrollment rates across all disability categories and the general population. To learn more about this issue and probe for potential solutions, SRI researchers spent the past four years completing 12 studies on supporting transition-age youth and young adults with autism. These studies relied on data from the National Longitudinal Transition Study-2 (NLTS2), which was conducted by SRI for the U.S. Department of Education and collected data from more than 11,000 high school students receiving special education services over 10 years.

The first major finding, which led to many other questions, was that 34 percent of people who have autism and attend college choose science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM) majors, which is a significantly higher proportion than any other disability group and much higher than the general population, which is closer to about 20 percent. Read more findings from the 12 studies in Jennifer Yu’s blog post, Turning Autism Research into Support for Learning.

Students writing

Teacher Professional Development Can Make a Positive Impact on Students’ Writing Skills

Can teacher professional development have a positive impact on students’ writing skills? To explore this question, a research team from SRI’s Center for Education Policy conducted a two-year randomized controlled trial of the National Writing Project’s College-Ready Writers Program (CRWP). CRWP combines professional development, curricular resources, and formative assessment. The program was implemented in 22 districts across 10 states delivered by 12 Writing Project sites. While many studies of professional development programs have been randomized controlled trials, most have found no impact on student academic outcomes. However, this study found a positive, statistically significant effect on the four attributes of student argument writing—content, structure, stance, and conventions—measured by the National Writing Project’s (NWP) Analytic Writing Continuum for Source-Based Argument.

The National Writing Project invited the study’s principal investigator, Alix Gallagher, to join a presentation on Capitol Hill to share the evaluation results with Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), ranking member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, as well as other interested policymakers. This unique opportunity allowed SRI researchers to bring important findings directly to the individuals who have the authority to set policy and affect change. To read more about these exciting findings, see Dr. Gallagher’s recent blog post.

AERA 2016 logo

SRI Education’s Daniela Torre & Jared Boyce Receive AERA 2016 Dissertation Awards!

AERA Dissertation Awards recognize the exceptional research accomplishments of recent doctoral graduates. This year, Daniela Torre received the Division L (Educational Policy and Politics) Dissertation of the Year award for her dissertation, How Classroom Context Impacts the Academic Achievement of English Learners in a New Immigrant Destination.  Dr. Torre earned her Ph.D. in leadership and policy studies in the Department of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations at Vanderbilt Univeristy. She is currently a researcher in our Center for Education Policy, where she works on the Evaluation of IDEA’s Charter School Program grant in Texas funded by the U.S. Department of Education, the Evaluation of the New Generation of Educators Initiative in California funded by the Bechtel Foundation, and the Evaluation of the McKnight Foundation’s Education and Learning Program.

Jared Boyce received the 2016 Outstanding Dissertation Award from the Advanced Studies of National Databases Special Interest Group for his dissertation, Commitment and Leadership: What We Know From the Schools and Staffing Survey. Dr. Boyce earned his Ph.D. in educational leadership from Teachers College at Columbia University. He is currently a researcher in our Center for Technology in Learning, where he works on a variety of projects, including the Next-Generation Courseware Challenge, the Data-Intensive Exploration of the Links Between SES and STEM Learning, and the Montana Continuous Improvement in Education Research to Improve Secondary School Literacy Outcomes.

This email was sent to mkbarbour@gmail.com.

April 6, 2016

SRI Education Notes | Spring is Here! | April 2016

From Tuesday’s inbox…

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SRI Education Notes

Denise Glyn Borders
Vice President, SRI Education

Spring is Here!

Spring is a time for renewal and reinvigoration, and nowhere is that more apparent than in the education research community. Each spring, we gather with colleagues from academic and research institutions from across the country and around the world to share new findings, insights, and effective practices at educational research conferences. In this issue, you’ll find a glimpse of some of the presentations that SRI Education’s researchers are sharing at conferences hosted by the Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness (SREE), the American Educational Research Association (AERA), and the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC).

Check out a full list of SRI Education researchers presenting at AERA (with links to sessions).

Enjoy,
Denise Glyn Borders
President, SRI Education

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Oh, the places you’ll go
when you follow @SRI_Education!Whether it’s a gathering of NSF-funded STEM researchers, a White House summit on next-generation STEM high schools, or an education research conference, we’ll be your eyes and ears to discover news, key findings, and useful resources. Be sure to add us to your education Twitter lists in plenty of time for AERA. @SRI_Education

Go to the SRI Education Twitter pageGo to the SRI Education Twitter pageGo to the SRI Education Twitter pageGo to the SRI Education Twitter pageGo to the SRI Education Twitter pageGo to the SRI Education Twitter page

:: Stay Connected

Click here to go to the SRI Facebook page. Click here to go to the SRI Education Twitter page Click here to go to the SRI YouTube page. Click here to go to the SRI LinkedIn page. Click here to go to the SRI Google+ page.


SRI Education is tackling the most complex issues in education to help students succeed. We work with federal and state agencies, school districts, major foundations, nonprofit organizations, and international and commercial clients to assess learning gains, use technology for educational innovation, and address risk factors that impede learning.

Visit sri.com/education.

SRI Education
333 Ravenswood Avenue
Menlo Park, CA 94025

1100 Wilson Boulevard
Suite 2800 (28th floor)
Arlington, VA 22209

© 2016 SRI International. SRI Education is a division of SRI International. SRI International is a registered trademark and SRI Education is a trademark of SRI International. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

The College-Ready Writers Program:  Teacher PD that Makes a Difference

The College-Ready Writers Program:
Teacher PD that Makes a Difference

States across the nation have adopted new standards to advance students’ writing skills; however, most students are not experiencing instruction that aligns with those standards. Because the new standards require a new way of teaching, identifying supports to help teachers make substantial shifts in writing instruction is imperative. The National Writing Project (NWP) designed the College-Ready Writers Program (CRWP) to improve writing instruction—specifically argument writing instruction—in secondary schools. The program consists of teacher professional development that focuses on teaching students how to read and evaluate non-fiction sources that provide information and express a range of viewpoints about relevant and debatable issues, make their own claims about these issues, and support these claims in writing using evidence drawn from source material.

To learn whether CRWP could make a significant impact on both teacher instruction and student achievement, SRI Education researchers conducted a 2-year randomized controlled trial. Twelve NWP sites provided CRWP professional development for teachers in 22 high-poverty rural school districts across 10 states. An overwhelming number of English language arts teachers (76% across 22 districts) participated in at least 45 hours of professional development each year of the program. We found that CRWP has positive effects on both teacher practices and students’ argument writing. The professional development significantly impacted the instruction students experienced, leading teachers to spend more time on complex writing tasks such as connecting evidence to an argument and less time on writing conventions. Students in CRWP districts outperformed students in control districts on three key attributes of argument writing – content, structure, and stance.

SRI researchers presented these evaluation results at the recent Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness (SREE) conference. For more information on the College-Ready Writers Program, visit our recent blog on the topic.

Developing an Early Mathematics Assessment to Evaluate School Readiness for Young Learners

Developing an Early Mathematics Assessment to Evaluate School Readiness for Young Learners

On Friday afternoon, Sara Vasquez and Ximena Dominguez, along withRegan Vidiksis of the Education Development Center (EDC), will help get AERA underway with their sessiondiscussing the development of an early mathematics assessment to evaluate young children’s school readiness. Learning mathematics early in childhood is essential to ensure children’s school readiness. However, research suggests that children from economically disadvantaged communities often do not have the same opportunities to develop key foundational mathematics skills as their better-resourced peers. Because young children spend much of their time learning at home with their families, supporting children’s learning of early mathematics at home is also crucial to ensuring school readiness.

To meet that need, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB)-Public Broadcasting System (PBS) created theReady to Learn (RTL) initiative, supported by the U.S. Department of Education. RTL delivers engaging, high-quality educational programming and resources through technology platforms to create experiences that enhance young children’s learning. To evaluate how these media experiences could benefit early mathematics learning, researchers at SRI Education and Education Development Center (EDC) conducted a series of studies to measure the impact of these mathematics resources on children’s school readiness. In one of these studies, researchers needed to assess a specific set of mathematics skills that were not aligned to existing assessments, which therefore would be unlikely to detect learning in these areas.

To assess the promise of the PBS KIDS PEG+CAT Intervention, the research team developed an assessment aligned to the early mathematics skills targeted in the program, but not activities and tasks in the media resources themselves. By employing an evidence-centered design approach to develop a standardized assessment for early mathematics, researchers ensured proper measurement of skills, while avoiding bias due to over-alignment between activities in the program and activities in the assessment. At AERA, Vasquez and Dominguez will share this assessment development process to support other efforts that may need to develop assessment methodology, in addition to the assessment tool itself. For more on the study, see the full blog post.

Balancing Widespread Use and Positive Learning Impacts of Educational Technology

Balancing Widespread Use and Positive Learning Impacts of Educational Technology

On Monday at AERA, Barbara Means and Vanessa Peters will discuss their recent evaluation using scaling and learning outcome data from 22 “Next Generation” digital learning projects. Today, technology developers can get their innovations into the hands of many users quickly, giving them the opportunity to gather user feedback they can use for product improvement. Educational technology product design is no exception, as illustrated by the Khan Academy, which grew from a few YouTube videos to a million users in less than four years and now features more than 5,000 online learning resources.

In theory, the rapid scaling, massive amount of user data, and continuous iteration that are part of the Silicon Valley Way result in better products, which in turn lead to growth in market share. But is this really true for educational technology products? Within schools and colleges, a pleasing experience using technology is not enough. The purpose of introducing new technologies is to improve learning outcomes. There’s an argument to be made that things that are the easiest to adopt because they do not require changing normal practice are unlikely to improve learning outcomes significantly.

The study findings revealed that the features associated with widespread scale were quite different from those associated with positive impacts. This tension between scaling and producing consistently positive outcomes has significant implications not just for educational technology developers, but also for learning technology adopters, policymakers, and funders who need to consider digital learning innovations for education systems. For more on the study, see Barbara’s full blog post.

SRI Researcher Jose Blackorby SRI Researcher Andrew Krumm

Using “Big Data” to Personalize Learning

Increasing amounts of student data are being collected, and we’re working to help educators learn how to use those data to make better, more timely and precise instructional decisions to increase individual student learning. SRI researchers Andrew Krumm and Jose Blackorby, along with colleagues from the University of Wisconsin, University of Kansas, and Texthelp Ltd., will lead a Program Chair Featured Session at this year’s Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) convention.

Personalization, Big Data, and the Changing World of Special Education will describe the movement of personalization and the range of sources of new data available to educators, new approaches for analyzing and presenting data, and the challenges in making sense of and using the data. If you’ll be at CEC, don’t miss this presentation and Q&A session on Friday, April 15 at 9:15 am in Room 130.


Check out a full list of SRI Education researchers presenting at AERA.

With links directly to sessions!

AERA program

This email was sent to mkbarbour@gmail.com.

April 1, 2016

CTL Visits the White House – CTL Research Update – March 2016

From Tuesday’s inbox…

CTL: Insightful design, research, and evaluation of innovative learning environments and assessments

Barbara Means

CTL Visits the White House!

Last November and December, CTL’s Barbara Means and Eric Snow were invited to attend separate meetings at the White House. Means was part of the first-ever White House Summit on Next-Generation High Schools, which focused on expanding opportunities for students underrepresented in STEM to acquire 21st century and STEM skills. The summit brought together government leaders, including Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to the President, National Science Foundation Director France Córdova, and over 100 philanthropists, educators, researchers, and students involved in reshaping the high school experience. Summit attendees discussed ways to redesign high schools to be more personalized, incorporate real-world and hands-on experiences, and expand STEM opportunities for underrepresented groups. Means’ own research on Inclusive STEM High Schools relates closely to the last of these goals. Private organizations represented at the meeting pledged more than $375 million in donations to support Next-Generation High School efforts.

Eric SnowEric Snow attended a 1-day workshop held to give a variety of stakeholders working in the primary-12 computer science education (P-12 CS ed) space an opportunity to share their progress and to brainstorm new ways to expand computer science access even further. As part of this, senior administration officials wanted to hear the Principled Assessment of Computational Thinking (PACT) team’s views on creative “blue sky” approaches to enhance computer science learning outcomes, rather than just inputs. The workshop was attended by approximately 50 people from a wide range of research, academic, government, and private organizations. The activities were organized around a series of lightning talks followed by self-selected group discussions on topics emerging from the talks. The administration officials wanted to hear tangible requests from each group on how they can provide human, material, and/or financial support for moving the P-12 CS ed reform effort forward.


Meet Howard T. Everson Co-Director for Assessment Research at the Center for Technology in Learning

Meet Howard T. Everson, Co-Director for Assessment Research

CTL welcomes Howard Everson, as co-director of Assessment Research. Working with Assessment Research DirectorGeneva Haertel, Everson will lead the design and development of innovative technology-based assessments of student proficiency in STEM-related disciplines.

Everson’s experience directing research for the College Board and ETS, as well as the National Assessment of Educational Progress Statistical Services Institute, will be leveraged to help states and school districts use student assessments strategically in their efforts to implement new college and career-ready standards. In collaboration with CTL colleagues, Everson will design and lead studies of the validity of learning assessments embedded within online games and other digital learning environments. Learn more about Everson’s work.


SRI Education & EDC Host the NSF Next Generation STEM Forum

SRI Education & EDC Host the NSF Next-Generation STEM Forum

Last November, SRI Education and EDC jointly organized theNext-Generation STEM Learning for All Forum at the request of the National Science Foundation and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. The three official goals of the forum were to (1) showcase NSF-funded research and development and inform policymakers about the potential to transform STEM learning and education, (2) engage a broad community of stakeholders in envisioning the future of STEM learning and in strategizing how to achieve impact, and (3) facilitate networking across stakeholder groups to leverage skills and strengthen coordination toward national goals for STEM education. Approximately 200 state, district, school, and university leaders, federal agency representatives, and policymakers gathered to participate in 75 presentations throughout the day. By the time the forum came to a close, nearly a million Twitter users saw at least one tweet about #NSFnextgenSTEM. Check out a sampling of the event’s tweets!


Progress Toward Quality K-12 STEM Education: Resources for Policymakers, Researchers, and Educators

Progress Toward Quality K-12 STEM Education: Resources for Policymakers, Researchers,
and Educators

STEM education quality has a major impact on economic prosperity. While the United States has the ability to measure outputs of the educational system, such as student test scores and career choices, the country does very little to measure key inputs of STEM education quality – the components in the “black box” of education that influence student achievement and career interests. We can’t improve what we don’t measure – and it is time for the United States to start paying attention to aspects of STEM teaching and learning that can enhance all students’ STEM interest and competencies.

To that end, the National Research Council highlights 14 indicators of progress in the nation’s STEM education in the 2013 report Monitoring Progress Toward Successful K-12 STEM Education, including student learning, educators’ capacity, and policy and funding initiatives. This K-12 STEM Education indicator system can illuminate areas where improvement is needed and education practices should be modified. Such a system of indicators is designed to drive improvement, not to serve as a formal accountability system. Recently, three education policy experts contributed concept papers exploring the research and policy implications of the indicators system. In addition, SRI Education developed a road map for measuring and reporting on the K-12 STEM Education indicator system, presenting available data as well as an agenda to support the future data collection. Learn more about these resources.

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Quoted: Five Things About Efficacy That Should Be Intuitive, But Are Not

Flipped Learning Technologies to Watch in 2016

Published: Thawing from a Long Winter in Computer Science Education

A Framework for Evaluating Implementation of Community College Workforce Education Partnerships and Programs

Blogged: Beyond Screen Time: Insights on Using Digital Media With Young Children

Developing a Theory of Change for Your Innovation Project

Trending: Innovating Pedagogy 2015


Don’t miss our June issue featuring Cyberlearning ’16: Designing for Deeper, Broader, and More Equitable Learning. Hosted by SRI and EDC.


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Contact CTL


SRI Education

SRI Education, a division of SRI International, is tackling the most complex issues in education to help students succeed. We work with federal and state agencies, school districts, major foundations, nonprofit organizations, and international and commercial clients to address risk factors that impede learning, assess learning gains, and use technology for educational innovation. The mission of SRI’s Center for Technology in Learning (CTL) is to improve learning and teaching through innovation and inquiry. Much of our work is conducted in educational settings such as classrooms, afterschool programs, and teacher education programs.


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© 2016 SRI International. SRI International is a registered trademark and SRI Education is a trademark of SRI International. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

February 4, 2016

SRI Education Notes | Innovation for 21st Century Learning | February 2016

From Monday’s inbox…

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SRI Education Notes

Denise Glyn Borders Vice President, SRI Education

Innovation for 21st Century Learning

Celebrated educator John Dewey once said, “If we teach today’s students as we taught yesterday’s, we rob them of tomorrow.” At SRI, we strive to foster 21st century learning practices using rigorous research and collaborations with cutting-edge practitioners. In this month’s SRI Education Notes, we’re highlighting examples of our contributions to innovative education research and practices. Find out about our work on developing inclusive STEM schools, supporting mathematics learning for preschoolers, ensuring career readiness, identifying factors that lead to postsecondary success for students with disabilities, and more.

Enjoy,
Denise Glyn Borders
President, SRI Education

Forward this newsletter
to a friend!


Oh, the places you’ll go
when you follow @SRI_Education!Whether it’s a gathering of NSF-funded STEM researchers, a White House summit on next-generation STEM high schools, or an education research conference, we’ll be your eyes and ears to discover news, key findings, and useful resources. Be sure to add us to your education Twitter lists in plenty of time for AERA.@SRI_Education

Go to the SRI Education Twitter pageGo to the SRI Education Twitter pageGo to the SRI Education Twitter pageGo to the SRI Education Twitter page

:: Stay Connected

Click here to go to the SRI Facebook page. Click here to go to the SRI Education Twitter page Click here to go to the SRI YouTube page. Click here to go to the SRI LinkedIn page. Click here to go to the SRI Google+ page.


SRI Education is tackling the most complex issues in education to help students succeed. We work with federal and state agencies, school districts, major foundations, nonprofit organizations, and international and commercial clients to assess learning gains, use technology for educational innovation, and address risk factors that impede learning.

Visit sri.com/education.

SRI Education
333 Ravenswood Avenue
Menlo Park, CA 94025

1100 Wilson Boulevard
Suite 2800 (28th floor)
Arlington, VA 22209

© 2016 SRI International. SRI Education is a division of SRI International. SRI International is a registered trademark and SRI Education is a trademark of SRI International. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

Inclusive STEM High Schools

Can Inclusive STEM High Schools Narrow the STEM Gap for Underrepresented Students?

Previous research has shown that many students, especially those from groups underrepresented in STEM, don’t complete the right courses in high school to be prepared for a STEM major in college. If we truly want to increase the participation of underrepresented groups in STEM, we need transformational changes in high school educational opportunities.

Two states, North Carolina and Texas, have taken strides toward meeting this challenge by supporting the creation of inclusive STEM-focused high schools at scale. What sets these high schools apart from traditional high schools is that they admit students on the basis of their interest in STEM, either through open admissions or lottery, rather than on the basis of test scores. Inclusive STEM high schools target underrepresented groups and provide all their students with a four-year experience designed to prepare them for STEM courses in college.

To determine how effective inclusive STEM high schools are at contributing to improved academic outcomes for underrepresented groups, SRI Education and George Washington University have been conducting the iSTEM research project, funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). We are investigating the extent to which inclusive STEM high schools contribute to improved academic outcomes and their impacts on students’ interest in STEM careers and expectations for postsecondary study. Our research is ongoing, but preliminary results are encouraging. We found that attending an inclusive STEM high school enhances a student’s identity as someone who practices science, aspirations for postsecondary education, and interest in one or more STEM careers.

Read more about our study and early findings in a recent blog post by Barbara Means.

Beyond Screen Time: Insights on Using Digital Media With Young Children

Beyond Screen Time: Insights on Using Digital Media With Young Children

From family rooms to policy papers, the conversation about young children and media is changing. Along with the ubiquity of media and technology comes the awareness that keeping children away from screens might not be possible or even desirable. So a key question is how to use digital media and technology with young children to support their learning and development. Researchers from the Education Development Center (EDC) and SRI Education recently released findings from a joint study that illustrated how public media resources—specifically the PBS KIDS show Peg+Cat—could support productive media experiences for children and their parents. Parents and children in the PBS KIDS treatment group engaged with a set of Peg+Cat videos, online games, a tablet-based app, and print activities over a 12-week period while comparison group families continued with their media use.

Study findings indicated positive outcomes. Children in the PBS KIDS group showed stronger improvement than the comparison group in key math skills, including ordinal numbers, spatial relationships, and identifying 3-D shapes. Parents in the PBS KIDS group reported more joint parent-child technology use and more conversation connecting media, mathematics, and daily life than parents in the comparison group. PBS KIDS group parents also reported increased confidence in helping their children learn math and agreed that technology was a valuable tool for doing so.

The study findings coincide with profound shifts in the conversation about the use of digital media with young children. Acknowledging that “screen time” is becoming simply “time,” the American Association of Pediatrics is preparing to release new recommendations for children’s screen time. In this context, the findings from the PBS KIDS study are especially pertinent. For more on the study, see the full blog postby Savitha Moorthy.

SRI Researcher Lynn Newman Featured on Inside IES Research

SRI Researcher Lynn Newman Featured on Inside IES Research

A December 18, 2015, post on the Inside IES Research blog featured an interview with SRI’s Lynn Newman, along with Joseph Madaus from the University of Connecticut. The conversation focused on their study of factors associated with postsecondary success for students with disabilities. They found that students with disabilities who received universally available supports (e.g., tutoring, writing centers) were more likely to persist in and complete postsecondary programs but that fewer than half of students with disabilities used those supports.

See the full blog post to find out what factors led to increased use of learning supports in postsecondary school and what lessons were learned from the study for students and families, secondary educators, postsecondary educators, and researchers.

Miya Warner, Ph.D.

Education Perspectives From Researcher Miya Warner

Miya Warner, Ph.D. is the co-principal investigator of the evaluation of the California Linked Learning District Initiative, a major systemic effort in nine school districts to transform high schools through industry-themed programs that connect classroom study to real-world experiences. This is the seventh year of SRI’s evaluation.

1. What makes Linked Learning a unique and promising approach to high school reform?

In the last century, high school was a place where students were placed into an academic or career (vocational) track. In contrast, Linked Learning takes seriously the need to prepare students for collegeand career by striving to integrate rigorous academics with career technical education and work-based learning experiences. Specifically, Linked Learning pathways provide comprehensive programs of study that connect learning in the classroom with real-world applications outside school to better engage all students, particularly low-income and disadvantaged youth. Importantly, the goal of the California Linked Learning District Initiative was to build district systems to support Linked Learning pathways rather than implement the approach at individual schools or a network of isolated pathways across different districts. School reform efforts tend to come and go without making much lasting change because teachers and administrators know that when the funding ends, they will be asked to move on to the next program. The focus on the district systems was a strategic decision by the Irvine Foundation to make Linked Learning part of the fabric of these districts so it would persist beyond the funding for the initiative.

2. What was the most significant finding from the latest Linked Learning report? What are the implications?

At a time when Linked Learning is expanding rapidly in California, we found evidence that pathway quality plays a key role in these positive findings for students. In addition to certified pathways, we looked at outcomes for students in career pathways that had not been certified in the Linked Learning approach, and we didn’t find the same positive outcomes. Certification indicates that pathways have implemented certain structures such as integration of career technical education course sequences and work-based learning experiences into students’ overall program of study. The lack of positive findings for noncertified pathways suggests that a career theme is not enough to produce positive effects on student outcomes. As more and more schools and school districts adopt the Linked Learning approach, it will be critical that they attend to high-quality teaching that integrates academics with career technical education courses and work-based learning experiences. Without this focus, Linked Learning is unlikely to impact student learning in a meaningful way. Read more about California’s Linked Learning Initiative.

This email was sent to mkbarbour@gmail.com.

December 22, 2015

Broadening Student Participation in Secondary Computer Science Through Principled Assessment of Computational Thinking – CTL Research Update – December 2015

A busy blogging day trying to clear out the inbox before the holidays…

CTL: Insightful design, research, and evaluation of innovative learning environments and assessments

Broadening Student Participation in Secondary Computer Science Through Principled Assessment of Computational Thinking

Broadening Student Participation in Secondary Computer Science Through Principled Assessment of Computational Thinking

As part of the NSF-funded Principled Assessment of Computational Thinking (PACT) projects, SRI Educationhas been working with curriculum authors and teachers, assessment experts, and computer scientists to develop assessments for Exploring Computer Science (ECS). ECS is a new high school curriculum that focuses on developing students’ problem-solving and computational thinking skills.

ECS was designed to support the creation a more diverse pipeline to computer science education and careers by targeting urban high schools and expanding the participation of traditionally underrepresented students in introductory computer science. The goal of this effort is to increase the enrollment of women and minorities who remain underrepresented in those attaining computer science degrees and entering computer science careers.

The ECS curriculum is spreading rapidly in response to demand from school districts nationwide. Teachers implementing the curriculum need high-quality assessments of student learning so they can understand their students’ computational thinking skills and help students learn those skills. The SRI PACT team designed and developed assessment tasks that elicited students’ problem solving and inquiry skills in authentic contexts and gave them opportunities to represent their skills in their own words and ways. Continue reading about PACT and the ECS assessments.


Incorporating the Vision of the Next Generation Science Standards into Instruction and Assessment

Incorporating the Vision of the Next Generation Science Standards into Instruction and Assessment

Center for Technology in Learning (CTL) senior researcherChristopher Harris along with Joseph Krajcik, Director of the CREATE for STEM Institute at Michigan State University, were invited to co-lead two professional development workshops this past summer to support the implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) in California. In July, Harris and Krajcik were invited by the National Science Teachers’ Association to present a full day professional development workshop – Implementing NGSS in Secondary Science Classrooms – to an audience of over 200 science teachers and district leaders in Anaheim, CA. In August, Harris and Krajcik were invited by the California Science Project to present a two-day professional development workshop, Implementing NGSS Instruction and Assessment, at a convening at California State University, East Bay, in Hayward, CA. Participants included California State University faculty regional directors for the California Science Project, representatives from county offices of education, and district science leaders and teachers representing K-12 science. In both workshops, Harris and Krajcik shared insights from their NSF-funded work focused on supporting teachers in implementing instruction and assessment to help students achieve the ambitious learning goals of the NGSS.


Innovative Pedagogy 2015

Innovative Pedagogy 2015

Every year since 2011, the UK’s Open University has released a report called “Innovating Pedagogy” on important educational trends for teachers and policymakers. The 2015 edition of this widely followed report was developed through collaboration between researchers at the Institute of Educational Technology in The Open University and the Center for Technology in Learning. Innovating Pedagogy 2015 introduces ten pedagogies—methods and practices for teaching—that already influence educational practice or offer opportunities for the future. By ‘innovative pedagogies,’ we mean theories and practices of teaching, learning and assessment for the modern, technology-enabled world. The report has already been downloaded 20,000 times. Learn more and get your free copy.


Research on Media-rich Science and Literacy Learning at Home

Research on Media-rich Science and Literacy Learning
at Home

CTL researchers, with long-time partners at EDC’s Center for Children and Technology, will conduct a suite of innovative formative and summative evaluation research studies for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) under the U.S. Department of Education’s Ready to Learn program. CPB and partners will develop new television and multimedia resources to prepare children to succeed in school by engaging preschool and young elementary school children and their families in science and literacy-themed learning at home and in community settings. SRI and EDC researchers will conduct studies that inform the development of new resources and measure their effectiveness. Learn more about prior RTL research results.


Mathematica and SRI selected to run Rapid Cycle Technology project

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Educational Technology selected Mathematica (prime) and CTL in a highly competitive process to conduct Rapid Cycle Technology Evaluations of educational software applications (apps) in K-12 settings. The primary goal of this initiative is to build capacity in schools and districts to make evidence-based decisions on apps, taking into account the specific needs of their students and local context. Apps can address a variety of goals and audiences, ranging from specific academic skills (e.g., math, science, ELL) to social emotional learning and teacher professional development. The project aims to establish a high standard for low-cost, quick turnaround evaluations by providing sites with models, tools, and resources that they can use to guide their own testing. These resources will be piloted and then field tested in at least two cycles from now through early 2017, with an optional two-year extension period.

Blog Post: Examining Research Support for a Digital, Blended Learning Mathematics Curriculum

Blog Post: Mentoring Girls in Computer Science

Report: A Framework for Evaluating Implementation of Workforce Education Partnerships and Programs


Don’t miss our February Research Update!

Learn about the CTL staff invited to White House events and the NSF forum CTL co-produced with EDC: Next Generation STEM Learning for All.


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SRI Education

SRI Education, a division of SRI International, is tackling the most complex issues in education to help students succeed. We work with federal and state agencies, school districts, major foundations, nonprofit organizations, and international and commercial clients to address risk factors that impede learning, assess learning gains, and use technology for educational innovation. The mission of SRI’s Center for Technology in Learning (CTL) is to improve learning and teaching through innovation and inquiry. Much of our work is conducted in educational settings such as classrooms, afterschool programs, and teacher education programs.


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This email was sent to mkb@wayne.edu.

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