Researcher: Michele Moses
In this project, we examine affirmative action policies in diverse national contexts, highlighting the cases of Brazil, Bulgaria, France, India, South Africa, and the United States. In light of the controversies surrounding educational efforts aimed at equality of higher education access and opportunity in those countries and others, it is an opportune time to examine and discuss affirmative action’s history, policy, and major controversies in each nation, as well as issues such as group vs. individual rights, elite vs. non-elite educational institutions, government vs. private sector roles, or voluntary vs. state mandated affirmative action. We provide a comparative examination of how different national and social contexts affect how affirmative action policy is conceptualized, discussed, implemented, and justified. The use of multiple lenses serves to strengthen the overall credibility of evidence-based claims used in legal and policy discussions.
Merging Findings from a Multi-Year Classroom Research Study into Innovative Models for Undergraduate Teacher Education
Principal Investigator: Elizabeth Dutro
This project seeks to facilitate equitable opportunities for writing engagement and success for children in high-poverty classrooms by combining two areas of inquiry. First, the project brings findings from TREO, an equity-focused four-year classroom-based research collaboration between Elizabeth and K-12 teachers, to bear on a writing methods course for undergraduate elementary preservice teachers. Second, the writing course will be designed to take up TREO findings, particularly related to that project's identification of a "pedagogy of testimony and critical witness" in the context of models of teacher education centered on "core practices" and "ambitious instruction" being implemented and studied as part of a national consortium of scholars across disciplines in teacher education.
Principal Investigator: Erin Furtak
ELEvATE is funded by the REESE program at the NSF. This is a study that follows three teams of high school biology for four years as they iteratively develop, enact, and revise formative assessments linked to a learning progression for natural selection. The effectiveness of the formative assessments is determined by tracing changes in teacher practice and student learning.
Principal Investigator: Joe Polman
CISL is a National Science Foundation Cyberlearning grant begun in 2012 to investigate the potential of learning environments that involve high school students in data journalism, both in school science classes and in internships. This collaborative project with University of Missouri-St. Louis and Saint Louis University examines the science and data literacy fostered when students use cyberlearning technologies to critique and create infographics related to science and technology topics.
CSR-CO is an Investing in Innovation (i-3) project in collaboration with Denver Public Schools. We are working with science, social studies, and language arts middle school teachers and their students to teach them how to use CSR to support reading comprehension and content learning. Students apply comprehension strategies while reading expository text in small, collaborative, student-facilitated groups.
Computational Thinking for Teaching Computing (CT4TC) explores the influence of mediation as a pedagogical and scaffolding approach employed by teachers to implement Scalable Game Design curriculum, and assess subsequent impact on student motivation, performance and ownership. Expected outcomes include verification of a theory of broadening participation in computing and the development of assessment instruments for measuring learning outcomes in computer science education.
Principal Investigator: Ben Kirshner
CCI aims to foster sustained and systemic opportunities for marginalized students to ask critical questions about their schools and participate in efforts to improve them. We do this by partnering with secondary school teachers who participate in professional development focused on three practices: sharing power with students, facilitating conversations about educational equity, and facilitating a youth participatory research action project. CCI has been funded by the Spencer Foundation, CU Office of Outreach and Engagement, and Women Investing in School of Education (WISE).
Principal Investigator: Margaret Eisenhart
An outreach and research project combining delivery of an after-school program to spark high school girls' interest in engineering with a 7-year longitudinal study of the girls as they completed high school and moved on to college or work. Funded by NSF HRD 1036662.
El Pueblo Mágico After-School Program
Principal Investigator: Kris Gutiérrez
Research Associate: Lisa Schwartz
This University/School/Community partnership involves providing undergraduate students who aspire to be elementary school teachers the opportunity to learn more about STEM practices that promote student learning as they participate with local elementary school children in a designed learning environment called El Pueblo Mágico (“The Magical Community”). In this program, second to fifth graders and CU undergraduate and graduate students together engage in meaningful and complex learning activity that utilizes play, imagination, technology, and rich problem-solving and language tools all oriented toward STEM-related learning. For example, on any given day a visitor to El Pueblo would see CU children and undergraduates collaborating in a technology-rich environment to develop computational thinking skills, STEM-oriented making and tinkering activities, new media literacy practices such as digital storytelling, as well as opportunities to participate in gaming activities such as chess and in social media practices designed for youth. With regular access to the mentorship of undergraduate and graduate student partners, children engage in long-term projects in which they have opportunities to develop problem-solving skills, investigate scientific and health-related topics, and gain expertise as designers in cyber environments. The program currently enrolls approximately 120-150 children in under-resourced schools and 50 undergraduate practicum students each semester, while working to expand across university sites and the state of Colorado.
A Study of Place-Based Research Partnerships
Principal Investigator: Bill Penuel
This study is a a longitudinal study of the role of place-based research partnerships with school districts in supporting research use. Research partnerships are a special form of intermediary organization. Rather than “translating” research done by others and “disseminating” it to policy makers and practitioners, research partnerships engage in joint research and development activities with practitioners. Research partnerships seek to identify problems of practice that the school districts are facing, co-design solutions with practitioners, implement the design, and then study this process and its results. In this study, being conducted in collaboration with Principal Investigator Cynthia Coburn of Northwestern University, we are studying the dynamics of collaboration between researchers and practitioners in place-based research partnerships and how these dynamics are influenced by the design of the partnership and the local context. We are also examining how these dynamics influence both research and use of research by districts in decision-making.
High School Opportunity Structures, Figured Worlds of STEM, and Choice of Major and College Destination
Principal Investigator: Margaret Eisenhart
Longitudinal study of (1) the opportunities for high school students to pursue STEM interests in 4 Denver-are high schools; (2) the meanings that these students and their parents give to STEM interests and pursuits; and (3) the students' choice of college and major post-high school graduation; data from the Denver study will be compared to similar data collected in Buffalo, NY. Funded by NSF DRL 1007964.
Co-Principal Investigator: Bill Penuel
The "Inquiry Hub" project brings together a partnership of educational researchers, computer scientists, school district leaders, curriculum developers, interactive resource providers, and multiple publishers of STEM curricula to undertake a systemic approach to learner-centered teaching that promotes adaptability and responsiveness to the differing needs of diverse learners. The partnership integrates several prominent technology and curriculum innovations resulting from prior NSF support, which are being deployed in iterative cycles of user-driven, design-based implementation research.
Co-Principal Investigator: Ben Kirshner
The International Youth Organizing study explores the role community organizing plays in youth civic engagement and development, with a particular emphasis on how each organization and its social-cultural features influence young people's engagement. The research includes organizations in Ireland, South Africa, and the United States. Methods include extended ethnographic case studies and longitudinal surveys of young people's attitudes and experiences. The project is funded by Atlantic Philanthropies, the Hazen Foundation, and the Cricket Island Foundation.
Co-Principal Investigator: Erin Furtak
Principal Investigator: Jennifer Knight (MCDB)
Co-Principal Investigator: Sarah Wise (EBIO)
This study explores the relationship between instructor practices around clicker questions and the quality of argumentation within small groups of students in introductory-level EBIO and MCDB lecture courses.
This international study surveys STEM departments throughout the world to develop an international census of Learning Assistant programs and their characteristics. In addition to characteristics of Learning Assistants (LAs) that have been studied through the LATEST research project, this project studies the impact of the LA program on faculty development and institutional change. Collaborative qualitative and quantitative studies are taking place among various universities throughout the nation to examine contextual and overarching themes that exist in various implementations of the LA model. An annual, international workshop takes place at CU Boulder for universities to adopt the program. Regional workshops are just beginning to emerge with the 2013 launching of the regional workshop forum. National and international statistics are displayed on the Learning Assistant Alliance website, which will ultimately be populated with materials and data sharing portals.
This research project tests the effectiveness of the LA model in terms of Learning Assistants’ (LAs’) development of content knowledge, pedagogical knowledge, and their practice in K-12 schools. Three interacting research teams investigate three questions about content knowledge: the Discipline-Based Educational Research (DBER) team, pedagogical knowledge: the Conceptions of Teaching and Learning (CTL) team, and teaching practices in K-12 classroom once LAs become teachers, the K-12 team.
The Literacy Squared research project involves over 4,000 Spanish speaking children and 250 teachers in four states. The project is investigating biliteracy acquisition in Spanish and English via a paired literacy program for children in grades K-5. Components of the project include: research, assessment, professional development and instruction using a holistic biliteracy framework.
This project within the network is a survey-based research study that is examining children’s participation in connected learning environments in late elementary and middle school and the relationship of participation to valued outcomes. These outcomes include interest development, persistence in learning, civic participation, and development of a positive sense of the future. The CU-Boulder team will work with CLRN network members to develop and pilot the survey at different research sites. The team will oversee data collection and analysis of results. A unique feature of the methodology will be reliance on a team of youth ethnographers as co-researchers on the project. The youth ethnographers will use GIS tools and other digital media to map connected learning opportunities for children and youth in their community and help the survey team refine items related to participation in connected learning environments. The team envisions the youth ethnographers’ maps and the longitudinal data collection feeding into a participatory, community-based process to increase coordination of learning opportunities for children and youth.
Principal Investigator: Bill Penuel
The Exploratorium comes together with the Education Development Center, Inverness Research, TERC, the University of Colorado Boulder, and the University of Washington to form a Research+Practice (R+P) Collaboratory. The Collaboratory seeks to address and reframe the gap between research and practice in K-12 STEM education. This gap persists despite decades of work by many leading organizations, associations, and individuals. Attempts to close the gap have generally focused on creating resources and mechanisms that first explain or illustrate "what research says" and then invite educators to access and integrate findings into practice.
The purpose of this study is to understand and document the role of community-based non-profit organizations in the enactment of the Ford Foundation’s More and Better Learning Time (MBLT) initiative in Colorado. Case studies will document the work that each organization is doing to foster an equity-focused agenda around more and better learning time. The second strand of our partnership will be to provide “on-demand” research support to community-based organizations. This study is funded by the Ford Foundation.
Task Leader: Bill Penuel
The Coaching Companion is a tool that been designed to support Head Start coaches and teachers as they engage in the coaching process. NCQTL's Practice-Based Model is a cyclical process that involves:
- Planning goals and action steps
- Engaging in focused observations
- Reflecting on and sharing feedback about teaching practices
A key element of the practice-based coaching model is the use of videos of practice. The Coaching Companion allows you to upload private videos for discussion as part of your shared action plan.
This project builds on the collective induction philosophy that undergirds the successful NSF-funded Noyce programs at the University of Colorado Boulder. The project is integrating, expanding, and aligning teacher preparation, induction, and leadership by bringing together Noyce Teacher Teams of teachers and prospective teachers with different levels of experience. The focus of each team of veteran, novice, and prospective teachers is on conducting classroom research and the goal of this centralizing activity is the critical examination of assumptions about teaching and learning. The mechanism by which such reflection occurs is scientific inquiry into one’s own practice, the practices of others, and the practices of students. This design is like that of any scientific laboratory-knowledge generation with all participants playing critical, productive roles as knowledge producers as well as expert learners. The project is a collaboration of the University of Colorado Boulder, Adams 12 5-Star Schools, Boulder Valley, Cherry Creek, Denver Public Schools, Englewood, Jefferson County, Mapleton, and St. Vrain Valley school districts and includes Colorado Legacy Foundation as a partner. The design of this project reaches beyond the buzzwords of "inquiry-based" and "student-centered" and into the realm of fundamental reorganization of learning contexts for teachers. The Streamline to Mastery Phase II research team activities serve as mechanisms both for the professional growth of participants and as a model for how scientific inquiry into personally and professionally meaningful problems leads to collective knowledge generation.
This project adapts, further develops, and tests a physics curriculum that addresses needs for: (1) a research-based, high school physics curriculum to address core process called for by the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), (2) a hybrid curriculum that holds closely to the canon of physics, but allows for innovative, explorative approaches that value students’ cultural experiences and linguistic resources, developed especially for English language learners, (3) professional development for teachers of physics who are not prepared to teach in ways that facilitate the model-based reasoning called for by the NGSS, (4) interdisciplinary topics to be incorporated into college preparatory disciplinary courses, because students live in a world in which interdisciplinary topics such as renewable energy and the design of efficient energy environments are increasingly relevant to their lives and future contributions to society.
Co-Principal Investigator: Bill Penuel
Funded by the National Science Foundation, this study is examining the efficacy of the benefits of PBIS for supporting science teaching and students' science learning. A unique feature of the study’s design is an analytic focus on the conditions needed to implement the curriculum in ways that improve student learning in light of the new Framework for K-12 Science Education and Next Generation Science Standards. The study is led by SRI International and is being performed in collaboration with Michigan State University and the University of Colorado Boulder.
The study launched in August 2012 and involves approximately 100 sixth grade science teachers and more than 3,000 students from 42 middle schools. The goal is to understand the impact of the curriculum on student achievement, classroom implementation, and teacher practice.
Director: Bill McGinley
This project combines the creative power of writing and the visual arts as a way for middle school students to envision a sense of shared community designed to inspire others to act on challenges that members of their communities might face. We make this possible by providing students with instruction in the power and possibility of constructing Public Narrative through art, writing, research, and service. Public narrative combines stories of Self with stories of Us. It is the expressive art of translating values and beliefs into action. The primary goal of this project is to help students discover and create the manner in which their own life stories (stories of Self) are an integral part of shaping and defining the values and visions of the community in which they live (stories of Us). Through a year-long series of leadership and service-based expeditions and classroom workshops (TYS and Our Town), students will photograph, draw, write, research, and document issues of importance in their communities around which they would like to take action.
REME is a four-year project designed to examine the effectiveness of a culturally responsive multi-tiered Response to Intervention (RTI) model on the reading achievement of English language learners (ELLs) in grades K-3. REME includes five primary components considered necessary for success with ELLs in reading: 1) three-tier RTI model; 2) research-based literacy instruction and interventions appropriate for ELLs; 3) culturally and linguistically responsive teaching practices; 4) multiple sources of assessment data; and 5) ecological decision-making.
Principal Investigator: Joe Polman
SciJourn is a National Science Foundation Discovery Research K-12 grant based at the University of Missouri-St. Louis (where Dr. Polman was a faculty member until 2012). The project, begun in 2008, developed and researched an innovative and flexible curriculum that involves high school students in science news reporting in order to increase their engagement with STEM and their science literacy.
Principal Investigator: Valerie Otero
The Streamline to Mastery program is an experiential professional development program with a design that is based on the structure of the Colorado Learning Assistant program. The idea is that teachers build expertise, mastery, and agency by participating in building a professional development program for themselves and for other teachers. The goal is critical examination of our own assumptions about teaching and learning. In addition, teachers gain leadership and agency by participating in the national dialogue regarding teaching and teacher quality while presenting their research at national research conferences. This research is conducted in their classrooms with the help of doctoral students and Noyce Fellows. The long-term goal is to establish a community of scholars that consists of K-12 teachers, university faculty, university-based doctoral students, and prospective teachers (particularly Noyce Fellows), all responsible for the education of K-12 students and the education of future teachers.
With funding from the California-based Noyce Foundation, Oregon State University researchers John Falk, Lynn Dierking and Nancy Staus (with William Penuel and colleagues at University of Colorado Boulder) have launched the four-year longitudinal SYNERGIES--Understanding and Connecting STEM Learning in the Community project to understand how, when, where, why and with whom children access and use STEM resources in their daily lives.
Principal Investigator: Elizabeth Dutro
TREO convened a collaborative research group comprised of early career K-12 teachers and university-based researchers to center classroom-based inquiry in three areas: (a) the relationship between the difficult experiences that some children and youth bring to school and the curriculum, instruction, policy and social environments they encounter in literacy classrooms; (b) how, by whom, and to what effects understandings of students’ lives are documented and interpreted in schools and classrooms; (c) the theoretical and practical implications of humanities frameworks that centrally account for and critically examine challenging life experiences and the consequential narratives constructed in their wake. (WISE, Weener Fund, IMPART, CU Outreach, CARTSS)
Understanding How Educational Outreach Affects the Social Contexts and Aspirations of Low-Income Students
Principal Investigator: Michele Moses
The research examines how I Have a Dream (IHD), a comprehensive outreach program for low-income youth, ages 8-23, affects its participants’ life options. IHD is a national program with independently run local organizations. It has three core areas of emphasis: (1) Academic Skills, (2) Emotional Intelligence and Relationships, and (3) Life Skills. The program aims to assist students to be at or above grade level in core academic areas. The approach centers on connecting with students, building relationships and social skills, and partnering with families. Two major goals are high school graduation and pursuit of postsecondary education.
This research examines how the Boulder County, Colorado program affects the contexts of the students’ lives and their educational aspirations. Grounded in a framework that integrates key concepts such as the social context of choice, habitus, and adaptive preferences, we use mixed methods (i.e., descriptive statistics, social network analysis, and qualitative interviewing and observations) to investigate the following primary questions:
- How does participation in I Have a Dream affect students' social capital, context of choice, and preferences related to educational engagement and aspirations?
- How do student participants (“Dreamers”) develop and maintain their social networks? How do those networks afford them opportunities?
Collaborative Community Research for Economic Development in a Denver Neighborhood
This project is situated in a Denver neighborhood characterized as “food insecure.” We have been invited by a local non-profit to provide professional development for community leaders invested in changing the health, educational, and economic outcomes for the neighborhood. Our role is to provide professional development for community residents, in their role as promotoras or community connectors, to become co-researchers with us to better understand the assets and barriers facing the development of the neighborhood.
Funded through CU's Innovative Seed Grant Program. The purpose of the funding is to develop a prototype user interface that will use Google Tools to allow teachers at remote schools to participate in a facilitated professional learning community experience.