The School of Education maintains long-standing partnerships with school districts in the Denver-Boulder metropolitan area. District partners improve the quality of university programs by sending clinical professors to team-teach at CU-Boulder and by providing practicum and student teaching experiences for our students. Likewise, CU faculty members work with teachers on implementing research-based practices and evaluating curriculum and instruction. Partner districts also participate in the Partners in Education (PIE) program, which is a Master’s degree pathway for new teachers that offers extensive professional development with expert mentors.
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 teachers 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 and Project Director: Alison Boardman
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).
El Pueblo Mágico After-School Program
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.
Principal Investigator: Derek Briggs
The Center for Assessment, Design, Research and Evaluation (CADRE) is engaged in an ongoing effort to evaluate the effect of Denver Public School’s Professional Compensation (ProComp) system on teaching practice, teacher retention and student outcomes. This project, which is funded by both Denver Public Schools and the Denver Classroom Teachers Association, seeks to further the body of knowledge concerning the use of merit pay systems in public schools The results of this work are being used inform possible changes to the district’s compensation practices.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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: 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: Derek Briggs
The purpose of this project is to facilitate a method of teacher evaluation that provides information useful for instruction, and evidence that teachers regard as an authentic basis for evaluating student academic growth. Colorado Senate Bill 10-191 requires all school districts to adopt educator evaluation systems that include evidence of student learning. Staff from the Center for Assessment, Design, Research and Evaluation (CADRE) in CU-Boulder’s School of Education are engaged in a multi-year project in collaboration with the National Center for Improvement of Educational Assessment and the Denver Public School District to improve the process used assess and evaluate student growth through the use of a “Student Learning Objectives.” A novel aspect of this work is using research on learning trajectories in mathematics as a framework for creating targets for what students are expected to learn, and assessments capable of providing diagnostic information for targeted instruction.
Writing Pedagogies for Equity, Connection, and Learning: A CU Teacher Education-Elementary School Partnership
Principal Investigator: Elizabeth Dutro
This project focuses on the design and study of an undergraduate writing methods course in the Elementary Teacher Education Program embedded in a deep partnership with a Title I Front Range elementary school. The course is taught on-site at the school and teacher education students build relationships with children and engage in a cycle of observation of mentor teachers, collaborative instructional planning, rehearsal, enactment, and debrief of instruction. The course culminates in a field trip for children to visit CU-Boulder. The project focuses on three interwoven goals: 1) designing and studying an innovative model of practice-based methods preparation in the teaching of writing; 2) collaborating with novice teachers to understand their response and take up critical and affective lenses on children’s positioning in classrooms and the intellectual and relational work of teaching and 3) collaborating as teacher educators (including classroom teachers) to design and hone teacher education partnerships and pedagogies that support novice teachers in the practices and dispositions that foster children’s opportunities to integrate the full range of their knowledge and experience into school writing practices. The project connects to Elizabeth Dutro’s research and the collaborative research of the Core Practices Consortium, a group of researchers from leading institutions in teacher education research.
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