Virtual School Meanderings

April 8, 2015

Conference Highlights | SRI Education Notes | April 2015

From Tuesday’s inbox…

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SRI Education Notes - June 12, 2014

Denise Glyn Borders<br /><br />
Vice President, SRI Education

Friends and colleagues:

As researchers, building knowledge, capacity, and community around our work in education is essential. Sharing innovative methods and highlighting significant findings at conferences and professional meetings is one way SRI researchers shape the field, make connections, and form collaborations. Throughout 2015, SRI researchers have presented and participated in discussions about their work at conferences across the country. In this latest issue of SRI Education Notes, enjoy selected details of these experiences and a preview of the work SRI researchers will share at the upcoming American Educational Research Association (AERA) Annual Meeting.

Enjoy,
Denise Glyn Borders
President, SRI Education

:: Find us at AERA

Download a printer-friendly list of
SRI Ed presentations here

Thursday, April 16

How Local Actors Make Sense of Tracking/Competing Policy Initiatives,Rebecca Anne Schmidt

Friday, April 17

Division C, Section 1e: Development of Assessments in Computer Science and Engineering Education, Marie Bienkowski, Daisy Wise Rutstein, Eric B. Snow

Measuring Change in Achievement and Social-Emotional Growth Among After-School Participants in the United States and the United Kingdom, Ann House, Patrik Lundh

Parental Involvement and Student Success: International Perspectives,Lynn Newman

STEM Integration in K–12 Education: Status, Prospects, and an Agenda for Research, Barbara M. Means

Midwest Child–Parent Centers, Pre-Kindergarten to Third Grade, Erika Gaylor, Katherine Ferguson, Donna Spiker

“Systems of Assessments” for Deeper Learning of Computational Thinking in K–12, Shuchi Grover

Designing an Online Computer Science Course for Deeper Computational Learning in Middle School, Shuchi Grover

Saturday, April 18

New Tools, New Voices: Innovations in Understanding and Analyzing Life-Wide Ecologies for Youth Interest-Driven Learning, Timothy Podkul, Denise Sauerteig

Advanced Technologies for Learning SIG Paper Session, Shuchi Grover

Sunday, April 19

Promoting Equitable Access to 21st-Century Skills: Global and Local Designs for Professional Learning, Linda F. Shear

Evidence-Based Technology Integration Scenarios, Vanessa L. Peters

Disability, Poverty, and Postschool Outcomes: Exploring School and Family Influences, Mary M. Wagner, Lynn A. Newman

Writing for Students With Significant Cognitive Disabilities: It’s More Than Just Writing Their Names, Renée Cameto

Design-Based Research: Coming of Age for a Versatile Methodology Supporting Diverse Research and Learner Needs,Shuchi Grover

Monday, April 20

Topics in Test Development, Daisy Wise Rutstein, Ximena Dominguez

Enhancing Achievement and Creativity Via Technology, Carlin Llorente, Savitha Moorthy

English Learner Access to Core Content: Critically Examining Linguistic Stratification in Schools, Haiwen Wang

Transition Planning and Postsecondary Outcomes for Individuals With Disabilities, Lynn Newman, Harold Javitz

:: Stay Connected

Click here to go to the SRI Facebook page. Click here to go to the SRI Facebook page Click here to go to the SRI Facebook page. Click here to go to the SRI Facebook 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 address risk factors that impede learning, assess learning gains, and use technology for educational innovation.

Visit sri.com/education.

SRI Education
333 Ravenswood Ave.
Menlo Park, CA 94025

© 2015 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.

Supporting Evidence-Based Investments from Preschool through College and Beyond

SRI at SREE: Supporting Evidence-Based Investments from Preschool Through College and Beyond

This year’s SREE spring conference in Washington, DC, focused on the role of research in understanding and supporting learning and growth from preschool through college and beyond.

SRI Education early childhood, education reform, and digital learning experts braved one of DC’s famous blizzards to present findings and contribute to valuable discussions. Findings from SRI Education studies like these support evidence-based investments in digital learning and family support services. Erika Gaylor, Donna Spiker, and Xin Wei presented with Erin Lease and Arthur Reynolds, University of Minnesota, on the Midwest Child-Parent Center PreK-3rd Grade School Reform Model. The group reported on the goals and preliminary outcomes of the Child-Parent Centers Expansion Project, a reform model aimed at improving short- and long-term outcomes of participating children and families. The project has a quasi-experimental design to examine the impact of the model on kindergarten readiness and second grade school achievement, as well as parent involvement in children’s education and learning.

Savitha Moorthy and Phil Vahey presented in a session on improving math outcomes through curriculum and teacher expectations. Savitha presented a recent Ready to Learn randomized controlled trial in pre-K classrooms with Shelley Pasnik of EDC, Preschool Teachers Can Use a Transmedia Curriculum Supplement to Support Young Children’s Mathematics Learning. In this study, pre-K teachers who were provided with a 10-week math curriculum supplement including digital games and shows reported significant increases in their confidence and comfort with certain early mathematics concepts. Additionally, the children in their classrooms had significantly higher scores on the supplement-aligned math assessment than the two other study conditions. Phil presented findings from the Next Generation Preschool Math (NGPM) evaluation, Improving Mathematics Learning by Integrating Curricular Activities with Innovative & Developmentally Appropriate Digital Apps. The study was designed to examine the NGPM program of digital math games and traditional preschool activities. The results provide preliminary evidence that NGPM improves preschool children’s understanding of unit-specific mathematics content and that it was feasible for teachers to integrate tablet-based games in preschool classrooms.

An SRCD poster session

Sharing Findings on Early Childhood Development and Connections to K-12 at SRCD

As recognition for the importance of early childhood development grows nationally, SRI’s early childhood researchers continue to shape what is known about programs and practices that support young children.

SRI’s presence at the biennial meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD) in Philadelphia from March 19 to 21 showcased a sample of promising findings for effective early child development and education.

SRI Education’s Erika Gaylor facilitated “How to get from ‘P’ to ‘K’?” Lessons learned from developers, evaluators, and policy analysts of three early childhood initiatives,” a roundtable discussion on preschool to third grade approaches that hold promise to help close achievement gaps. The discussion, which featured SRI’s Shari Golan as a panelist, focused on one of the biggest obstacles to preK-3 work: bridging the traditional boundaries of the early learning and the K-12 education systems. Several early childhood initiatives in Minnesota including an effort to improve preK-3 literacy achievement, a Child Parent Center program model that provides comprehensive education and family support services for preK-3, and two innovative programs funded by Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge (RTT-ELC), were discussed. These initiatives are attempting to promote continuity of goals, assessment, curriculum, and professional development between PreK and K to strengthen connections between early education and the K-12 system.

SRI researchers also presented their study findings at the SRCD’s many poster sessions. Erika Gaylor, Donna Spiker, &Xin Wei shared early findings from their i3 evaluation of an early math intervention in Chicago Public Schools. Abby Winerpresented two posters related to social-emotional development: “The Impact of Demographic and Social Risk on Young Children’s Social and Emotional Competence” and “Becoming Prosocial: Reliability of Individual Differences in Early Prosocial Behavior”. Sarah Gerard and Danae Kamdar presented the findings of a randomized controlled trial on an intervention that integrates digital media with traditional hands-on activities to support early math teaching and learning in pre-K classrooms in New York City and the San Francisco Bay area. SRI’s early childhood research continues to contribute evidence-based findings on the effectiveness of initiatives and strategies to promote early learning and child development.

From Austin to Chicago, SRI Researchers Share Findings That Bridge Research to Practice

Christopher Harris presented at the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) National Conference in Chicago March 12–15, which was focused on the Next Generation Science Standards. Christopher and SRI alumni Angela DeBarger and Bill Penuel led several sessions, including an interactive session for nearly 500 attendees on assessing NGSS in the classroom and a full day professional development institute on designing NGSS-aligned assessments. After talking with district leaders, state-level staff, and assessment companies at the conference, Christopher noted that there is a real need for principled yet practical approaches for creating assessments that integrate practices and content, especially those that can be used at multiple levels of the education system.

SxSW EduPhil Vahey continued his U.S. tour for Next Generation Preschool Math with a stop at SXSWEdu, where he joined Shelley Pasnik of EDC and Jillian Orr of WGBH Educational Foundation to discuss building the research base for STEM apps in pre-K. A recent randomized experiment showed that pre-K classrooms that used the NGPM materials made significantly more improvements in the target math skills.

Andrew Krumm presented to education researchers, practitioners, policy makers, and funders attending the Carnegie Foundation’s Summit on Improvement in Education. In keeping with the summit’s focus on “The Power of Networks: Partnerships, Collaboratives, and Communities,” Andrew and his fellow panelists shared examples of successful partnerships in order to provide strategies to help others bridge the gap between research and practice. He offered particular expertise in the intersection of learning sciences, advanced analytics, and researcher-practitioner partnerships.

Improving K-12 Computer Science Education and Assessment

Improving K-12 Computer Science Education and Assessment

Education policy makers are working on how to best support children’s learning in the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), so that understanding of core ideas grows in tandem with their abilities to use the practices of science and engineering. SRI Education computer science education researchers are focused on computational thinking knowledge and skills as part of that work. Researchers will contribute to the discussion at the annual AERA meeting, presenting at the session Development of Assessments in Computer Science and Engineering Education.

Center for Technology in Learning, Assistant Director Marie Bienkowski will present an analysis of the NGSS as part of a larger domain analysis of computer science concepts and computational thinking practices. She will interpret the NGSS Engineering practices and performance expectations as concepts that fit computer science. In contrast to work that uses computing as a way to support science inquiry or engineering design, this treats computer science in its own right as a way to teach design. Shuchi Grover will discuss developing assessments for computational thinking in K-12 settings. She will argue for the need for multiple measures or “systems of assessments” that are complementary, attend to cognitive and non-cognitive aspects of computational thinking, and contribute to a comprehensive picture of student learning. She will also describe the forms of assessments designed and tested in a middle school introductory computing curriculum.

Shuchi will also present the paper “Designing an Online Computer Science Course for Deeper Computational Learning in Middle School” describing the design considerations in the use of a middle school course ‘Foundations for Advancing Computational Thinking’ (FACT) on Stanford University’s OpenEdX MOOC platform. Shuchi willi present “Design-Based Research: Coming of Age for a Versatile Methodology Supporting Diverse Research and Learner Needs”. Co-authored with Roy Pea, this paper describes an iterative effort to design, refine, and study a blended learning curricular intervention to answer questions on the development of deeper, transferable computational thinking skills among young teens.

This email was sent to mkbarbour@gmail.com.

March 4, 2015

Key Findings from Evaluating 5 Years of Postsecondary Digital Courseware – CTL Research Update – March 2015

From Monday’s or Tuesday’s inbox – not quite sure at this stage…

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

What Can You Learn From Five Years of Funding Postsecondary Digital Courseware?

Key Findings from Evaluating 5 Years of Postsecondary Digital Courseware

As the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Postsecondary Success Strategy entered its fifth year of learning technology investments, the foundation asked what is required for technology applications to produce positive student impacts at scale. CTL researchers Barbara Means, Vanessa Peters, andYing Zheng analyzed the features of 137 different courses from 12 major postsecondary institutions and performed a quantitative meta-analysis of student outcomes to estimate the impact of digital courseware on student learning.

A key finding was that the most effective courseware innovations were developed through multiple cycles of design and implementation that were informed by data collected in pilot studies. Additionally, when reviewing projects, Means, Peters, and Zhing found that entire course redesigns produced significantly better learning outcomes than when technology was used as a supplemental resource. The full report presents a number of recommendations for organizations looking to make investments in digital courseware to enhance student outcomes.


Build IT Helps Girls, Boys, and Their Educators Pursue Computer Science Learning and Careers

Build IT Helps Girls, Boys, and Their Educators Pursue Computer Science Learning and Careers

Evaluation results of Build IT, an afterschool curriculum for middle school girls, showed significant increases in girls’ conceptual understanding of computer science (CS), interest in mathematics and CS, and knowledge of CS careers compared with a matched comparison group. With funding from NSF and the Noyce Foundation, Build IT has achieved scale and sustainability throughout the Girls Inc. network of affiliates. More than 80% of girls who have participated in Build IT are African American or Latina, with the majority from low-SES households.

Currently, SRI leads two NSF-funded studies in collaboration with CalSAC to investigate whether the Build IT curriculum has a similar impact on African American and Latino boy, girls in coeducational and single-sex classrooms, and adult educators in afterschool sites throughout California. In the Gender Equity in Afterschool Computer Science study, we compare all-boys, all-girls, and coeducational Build IT classes at 20 afterschool organizations. In the Afterschool Computer Science Educators study, we investigate the role that teaching Build IT specifically or STEM in general plays to activate or reactivate educators’ interest in CS and STEM careers. Preliminary data from our Girls Inc. evaluation suggest that Build IT may encourage educators to pursue CS education and careers.


Future Ready Schools Guide Helps Leaders Improve Ed Tech Decisions

Future Ready Schools Guide Helps Leaders Improve
Ed Tech Decisions

CTL researchers contributed to a US Department of Education report,Future Ready Schools: Building Technology Infrastructure for Learning. The White House released this report in November as part of theConnectED to the Future initiative. The Future Ready Schools guide provides practical strategies for district leaders to connect their schools, teachers, classrooms, and students to high-speed Internet. Peppered with examples of innovative strategies for addressing common challenges, the guide presents options for district leaders to consider when enhancing technology infrastructure because connectivity and circumstances vary greatly across districts. It addresses thorny implementation issues and concerns including acceptable use policies, student privacy, and security, as well as device selection, costs, and financing. This effort goes hand in hand with the President’s ConnectED Initiative, also supported by SRI Education. With the guidance provided in Future Ready Schools, along with $4 billion in public and private funding provided to schools through the ConnectED Initiative, the hope is that all students–or at least 99% of them–will gain access to the broadband tools and content needed to thrive in a globally connected world. ReadFuture Ready Schools: Building Technology Infrastructure for Learning.

Blog Post: Investigators Chart New Frontiers at Cyberlearning 2015

Report: A Content Comparison Analysis of the Next Generation Science Standards and the Michigan Science Standards

Video: NASA features CTL’s Dan Zalles and Data-enhanced Investigations for Climate Change


Don’t miss our June Research Update featuring findings from the evaluation of the Ready to Learn Initiative

Learn about recent results from our ongoing evaluation of the Ready to Learn Initiative (RTL). We will share what we have discovered about how public media materials can help low-income preschoolers develop key early mathematics skills.


Stay Connected

Click here to go to the SRI Facebook page. Click here to go to the SRI Facebook page Click here to go to the SRI Facebook page. Click here to go to the SRI Facebook page. Click here to go to the SRI Facebook page.

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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© 2015 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 10, 2015

Future Ready Schools & Linked Learning – SRI Education Notes – February 2015

From the inbox last week sometime…

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SRI Education Notes - June 12, 2014

Denise Glyn Borders<br />
Vice President, SRI Education

Friends and colleagues:

Happy new year from all of us at SRI Education. We wish you the best as you continue your efforts to improve educational opportunities and outcomes for all learners.

We have lots to report. Below, recent highlights about our work in three areas: supporting President Obama’s Future Ready Schools initiative, our focus on college and career readiness and California’s Linked Learninginitiative, and our ongoing involvement in Investing in Innovation. We offer some brief insights about research in education technology from one of our senior research scientists, plus some quick links on the right.

Enjoy,
Denise Glyn Borders
President, SRI Education

:: News & Events

SRI Education’s Center for Education Policy ranks 10th among 55 global education policy think tanks

Bridging Professional Development helps math teachers improvise and learn argumentation skills

Cyberlearning 2015: Connect, Collaborate, and Create the Future to explore integrating learning theory and emerging technology in research to practice communities

Next Gen Preschool Math Apps (SRI with EDC and WGBH), including the new Gracie and Friends, receive high ratings

SRI Education researchers compare Michigan Science Standards and Next Generation Science Standards

NASA features SRI’s Dan Zalles and Data-enhanced Investigations for Climate Change

:: Stay Connected

Click here to go to the SRI Facebook page. Click here to go to the SRI Facebook page Click here to go to the SRI Facebook page. Click here to go to the SRI Facebook page. Click here to go to the SRI Facebook 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 address risk factors that impede learning, assess learning gains, and use technology for educational innovation.

Visit sri.com/education.

SRI Education
333 Ravenswood Ave.
Menlo Park, CA 94025

© 2015 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.

Read the Future Ready Schools Guide

Future Ready Schools Guide Helps Leaders Improve Ed Tech Decisions

Funded by the US Department of Education Office of Educational Technology, SRI Education researchers helped write Future Ready Schools: Building Technology Infrastructure for Learning

Released by the White House in November as part of the ConnectED to the Futureinitiative, the Future Ready Schools guide provides practical strategies for district leaders to connect their schools, teachers, classrooms, and students to high-speed Internet. Peppered with examples of innovative strategies for addressing common challenges, the guide presents options for district leaders to consider when enhancing technology infrastructure, as existing connectivity and circumstances vary greatly across districts. It addresses thorny implementation issues and concerns including acceptable use policies, student privacy, and security, as well as device selection, costs, and financing. This effort goes in hand with the President’s ConnectED Initiative, also supported by SRI Education. With the guidance provided in Future Ready Schools, along with $4 billion in public and private funding provided to schools through the ConnectED Initiative, the hope is that all students–or at least 99% of them–will gain access to the broadband tools and content needed to thrive in a globally connected world. ReadFuture Ready Schools: Building Technology Infrastructure for Learning.

Linked Learning Takes Career Pathways to Scale

Linked Learning Takes Career Pathways to Scale

SRI Education researchers explore school-level policies, practices, and reforms to increase students’ college and career readiness

SRI Education researchers explore national, state, district, and school-level policies, practices, and reforms to help increase the college and career readiness of all students. This strategic focus is clear in our multiyear evaluation of the California Linked Learning District Initiative, funded by The James Irvine Foundation. Described recently in Education Week and EdSource, Linked Learning integrates rigorous academics and real-world experiences with the goal of improving high school graduation rates and increasing successful transitions to a full range of postsecondary education and career opportunities, particularly for low-income and disadvantaged youth. Linked Learning students complete an academic and technical program of study in an industry-themed pathway, such as engineering, biomedicine and health, law, or arts and media, and gain exposure to real-world professions through a sequence of work-based learning opportunities within that industry sector. Read more.

SRI Education Prominent Participant in<br />
Investing in Innovation (i3)

SRI Education Prominent Participant in
Investing in Innovation (i3)

In late 2014, SRI was awarded a new grant to link technology and special needs

SRI Education has played an active role in the i3 program since its inception in 2010. In addition to this new project in Virginia and California, SRI leads the SunBay Middle School Digital Mathematics Program, the subject of a validation grant in Florida. SRI also serves as the independent evaluator of 12 validation and development grants covering a wide range of interventions and methodological designs. Read more.

Barbara Means

SRI Education’s Barbara Means, Ph.D., featured speaker at American Association for the Advancement of Science

A nationally recognized leader in online and blended learning, Dr. Means will address the February AAAS Annual Meeting in remarks entitled, “Are Inclusive STEM High School (ISHS) Students Actually More Successful in STEM?”

We asked Dr. Means, author of the recent Learning Online: What Research Tells Us about Whether, When and How, to summarize her current thinking about education research regarding technology. Her response: “I’ve been studying technology-supported educational innovations for decades, using all kinds of research methods—experimental, survey, secondary data analysis, ethnographic, interview, meta-analysis. The challenge, though, is how to have significant impact on policy and practice. One approach is to get involved in producing policy documents, and I’ve had a role in some influential ones like How People Learn, the 2010 National Education Technology Plan, and Monitoring Progress Toward Successful K-12 STEM Education. These works are important in providing inspiration and an intellectual framework for policy and practice. Read more.

This email was sent to mkbarbour@gmail.com.

November 22, 2014

Influencing the Future – SRI Education Notes – November 2014

From Thursday’s inbox…

:: In the News

A First Look at Local Control Funding in California

A new study by SRI and a team of researchers from across California offers the first independent look at the implementation of the state’s Local Control Funding Formula legislation. The research found strong support from education officials but made clear they are concerned about the future of the effort and challenged by its requirements. Learn more about the study, Toward a Grand Vision: Early Implementation of California’s Local Control Funding Formula.

WGBH Launches First 8 Studios

SRI Education is part of new effort to research and develop digital and tablet material for early learners. In October, WGBH Boston announced the formation of First 8 Studios, a new digital-first production team developing digital and tablet-based content and off-screen supplemental materials for preschoolers and early learners. It has launched its first product, an app—Early Math with Gracie & Friends. The app is based on findings from the National Science Foundation-funded Next Generation Preschool Math(NGPM) research project studying the integration of digital content in preschool classrooms. WGBH partnered with SRI and Education Development Center (EDC) on the NGPM project. WGBH, SRI, and EDC have created a set of supplemental curricular materials that integrate technology-based activities with 46 original hands-on and traditional classroom activities, and a digital Teacher’s Guide that will be released in early 2015.

DaSy Center’s “Improving Data, Improving Outcomes” Conference

In September, SRI’s Center for IDEA Early Childhood Data Systems (DaSy) Center hosted its second “Improving Data, Improving Outcomes” conference in New Orleans. The meeting provided information on development and enhancement of early childhood data systems and improvement of data quality. The conference also provided information on the measurement and use of child and family outcomes data to make informed decisions. Check out the agenda and information about national frameworks, products, and states’ experiences and resources for improving policy and practice. The conference was held in partnership with the IDEA Data Center (IDC) and the Early Childhood Technical Assistance (ECTA) Center.

SRI Presents at Fall 2014 Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness (SREE) Conference in Washington D.C.

  • H. Alix Gallagher, Katrina Woodworth, CJ Park, Teresa McCaffrey and Haiwen Wang:Impact Evaluation of National Writing Project Professional Development Program
  • Barbara Means and Jessica Mislevy: Creating Means to Measure Improvements in K-12 STEM Education: A Multi-Stakeholder Collaborative Effort
  • Andrew Krumm: Using Data from Digital Environments to Better Understand Learning
  • H. Alix Gallagher, Jeremy Roschelle and Mingyu Feng: Recruiting Participants for Randomized Controlled Trials

:: Stay Connected

Click here to go to the SRI Facebook page. Click here to go to the SRI Facebook page. Click here to go to the SRI Facebook page. Click here to go to the SRI Facebook page. Click here to go to the SRI Facebook 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 address risk factors that impede learning, assess learning gains, and use technology for educational innovation. Visit sri.com/education.

SRI Education
333 Ravenswood Ave.
Menlo Park, CA 94025

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Arlington, VA 22209

© 2014 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.

Contact UsSubscribe to the
SRI Education Newsletter.

Denise Glyn Borders Vice President, SRI Education

Influencing the Future

At SRI Education, our work is really about influencing the future. We study the past and the present, to find answers to the challenges of today and, using solid evidence, illuminate the paths to tomorrow. In the midst of battles over teacher evaluation and tenure, the implementation of ambitious education standards, the use of technology in the classroom, new methods of school funding and other issues, we strive to provide knowledge and ideas that help educators and other stakeholders find effective ways forward. In this latest version of SRI Education Notes, we share some of our current efforts and highlight important new projects.

Enjoy,
Denise Glyn Borders, Ed.D.
Vice President, SRI Education


SRI Study of New System of Educator Evaluation in Massachusetts offers Lessons for Many States

Building Human Capital to Strengthen Education

SRI Study of New System of Educator Evaluation in Massachusetts Offers Lessons for Many States

The evaluation of teachers is one of the most controversial issues in education today. A range of corporate, philanthropic, and political interests are pushing for the development of evaluation systems that incorporate measurements of student performance and use those data to inform high-stakes decisions on teacher pay, tenure, and future employment.  Teachers and other educators are pushing back, saying such systems are inaccurate, ineffective and unfair and do little to inform and support the development of quality teaching.

In this highly charged situation, an SRI research team is working to provide insight, information, and ideas on how educators might move forward in ways that change the national debate on evaluation and strengthen student learning.  Working with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, SRI researchers have undertaken an examination of an interrelated series of human capital initiatives that aim to move beyond evaluation based exclusively on testing, accountability, and control to a collaborative system focused on the continual growth and development of educators.

“The effort in Massachusetts represents an important shift in how educators are evaluated,” said Roneeta Guha, the director of the project for SRI. “This system is not about firing teachers. It’s about finding ways to support and develop educators in ways that enhance their abilities to help students learn. We think it offers important lessons for education systems across the nation.” Read more.


A New Vision for After School Science Education

A New Vision for Afterschool Science Education

A new SRI study offers insights into science learning in California’s Afterschool Education and Safety (AES) programs and is helping to establish a new vision to expand and strengthen learning opportunities and interest in science for elementary school students.

“Afterschool programs have the potential to engage students in quality science learning experiences that may not fit into the regular school day,” said Ann House, Ph.D., senior researcher in SRI Education’s Center for Technology in Learning and project director for the study. “Until now, little data have been available about how much science is offered in afterschool settings. We now have a more complete picture of best practices for informal science learning and recommendations for improving and extending science offerings for children across California and nationwide.”

Conducted over five years with funding from the National Science Foundation, the study found that while most afterschool programs were interested in and trying to include science in their regular offerings, other activities such as arts, sports, or tutoring were far more common. In many afterschool programs studied, science learning opportunities were limited. Staff were not trained in how to lead science activities, and had limited opportunities for professional development and little access to quality curriculum materials or science activities. Read more.


SRI Hosts 2014 CyberLearning Summit

Curriculum Materials Make a Difference for Next-Generation Science Teaching and Learning

Do curriculum materials matter for helping students achieve new science standards? A recent study by SRI showed that project-based curriculum materials that explicitly support the features and practices called for within the new science standards have a positive effect on teaching and learning.

The study found that implementing project-based curriculum materials that help teachers engage students in authentic science practices can impact teaching practice and increase student learning. Students who participated in a project-based science curriculum outperformed students in a standard textbook curriculum on measures aligned with important core science ideas and science practices outlined in the new Next Generation Science Standards.

“Curriculum materials matter because they guide what teachers do in the classroom,” said SRI Senior Researcher Christopher Harris. “Our findings suggest that investments in well-designed materials and new assessments can make a real difference for achieving next-generation science learning outcomes.”

Read the full report.


New Projects at SRI Education

From teaching quality to technology, from early learning to evaluation, our team at SRI is deeply engaged in critical education research and projects that will inform and shape the future of education policy and practice. Here are a few new projects:

  • In Texas, as part of a charter school expansion grant with IDEA Public Schools, we are examining district capacity and the challenges of scaling up established high-performing school models.
  • Also in Texas, with funding from the Department of Justice/National Institute for Justice, we are investigating safe schools strategies in Pharr San Juan Alamo Independent School District.
  • We’re working with several campuses in the California State University system in support of their New Teacher Quality Partnership Grants. Our work developing indicators and measuring progress will help CSU campuses create new models for preparing STEM teachers and increase participation of underrepresented groups in teaching STEM subjects.
  • With funding from an Institute of Education Sciences researcher-practitioner partnership grant, we’re working with the Clark County School District in Las Vegas, Nevada, to examine and support English language learners’ science learning in the elementary grades.
  • With funding from the National Science Foundation, we’re taking on new projects on big data, learning analytics, and computer science instruction.
  • We are partnering with our colleagues at WestEd on the Department of Education, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services recently awarded National Center for Systemic Improvement.

These are just a handful of the new engagements we are excited about!

November 13, 2014

Innovative Research on Preschool Mathematics and Science Teaching and Learning – CTL Research Update, November 2014

From Monday’s inbox…

Center for Technology in Learning - Insightful design, research, and evaluation of innovative learning environments and assessments.SRI Education - Addressing critical questions about education through innovation and rigorous research.

Center for Technology in Learning Research Update – November 2014, Issue 19

Early Math with Gracie and Friends App

Innovative Research on Preschool Mathematics and Science Teaching and Learning

The Center for Technology in Learning (CTL), Education Development Center (EDC), and WGBH together designed and created a new set of iPad apps,Early Math with Gracie and Friends™, that help preschool students learn advanced yet foundational mathematics. The apps are based on the NSF-funded Next Generation Preschool Math (NGPM) project. Through multiple rounds of iteration, the collaborative team of learning scientists, content advisors, developers, and preschool teachers created the tablet-based apps as part of a curricular program that also includes hands-on activities and a Digital Teachers’ Guide to support educators in preschool classrooms. In a recent randomized controlled trial (RCT), the team found that children in classrooms that implemented the NGPM program learned more of the target mathematics than children who engaged in their regular preschool activities.

This line of work is currently being extending through the NSF-funded Next Generation Preschool Science (NGPS) project. The NGPS team is developing a curricular program to promote engagement in science practices and understanding of science concepts. The apps being developed include toolkits to support group investigations, simulations that enable children to interact with scientific phenomena, and games that provide opportunities for practice. Partner teachers are piloting activities and resources to inform future iterations in preparation for a field study in 2015.


Routledge Publishes Online Learning Book by Three CTL Authors

Developing Assessments of Student Learning in Computer Science and Computational Thinking

Computer science education and training are in the news a lot these days, but few are aware that so far no one has critically examined what students are learning from all of these efforts, especially in high school. CTL researchers Eric Snow andMarie Bienkowski have led the effort to develop the first evidence-centered assessments for Exploring Computer Science (ECS), an introductory computer science curriculum that targets 9th- and 10th-graders with no prior computer science experience. Their work with ECS complements those features of the curriculum that encourage diverse participation in computer science with the assessments of student learning that teachers—many of whom are new to teaching computer science—need to understand how their students are doing and adapt their teaching accordingly. SRI’s successful work in developing computer science assessments in the PACT project is continuing under NSF funding in two ways: (1) design and develop web-based versions of existing assessments (award DRL-1433065) and (2) leverage these assessments in a large-scale implementation study of the curriculum throughout the US (award DRL-1418149).


CTL Researchers Talk Early Learning with Media and Technology

CTL researchers facilitated an interactive session on the use of media in early STEM settings during a meeting of the Gateways East Bay STEM Network’s Early Learning Action Group. The audience included early learning practitioners and early childhood education leaders as well as informal science professionals, librarians, staff from philanthropic organizations, and faculty members from California State University (CSU) East Bay and Mills College. The presentation reviewed current policy (the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)/Fred Rogers Center position statement) as well as research and best practices on using media in preschool classrooms, providing examples from recent CTL projects, the Joint Engagement with Media project funded by the LIFE center, Next Generation Preschool Math, andReady To Learn. It was a timely opportunity for Savitha Moorthy, Carlin Llorente, and Phil Vaheyto talk directly—and share research-based experiences—with a key group of early learning stakeholders in Alameda, Contra Costa, and Santa Clara counties about a critical topic in preschool education.

Conference: Cyberlearning 2015: Connect, Collaborate, and Create the Future

Report: Recruiting Participants for Large-Scale Random Assignment Experiments in School Settings

SRI News: William Jeffrey Joins SRI International as President and CEO


Don’t miss our January Research Update, featuring:

What Can You Learn From Five Years of Funding Postsecondary Digital Courseware?

Learn about the outcomes of CTL’s review of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s portfolio of grants supporting postsecondary learning technology application projects. A new report describes what we learned from analyzing the features of 137 courses and from our meta-analysis of the impacts of this digital courseware on student learning and course completion.


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