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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.
Denise Glyn Borders
President, SRI Education
:: Find us at AERA
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
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.
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SRI at SREE: Supporting Evidence-Based Investments from Preschool Through College and BeyondThis 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.
Sharing Findings on Early Childhood Development and Connections to K-12 at SRCDAs 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.
Phil 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
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.
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