The following individuals were awarded seed grants for the 2015-2016 academic year:
Theodore Chao and Michael Battista, Department of Teaching and Learning
Developing and pilot testing of an electronic environment for helping elementary teachers attend to and understand their student’s mathematical thinking
Research shows that students’ mathematics learning is greatly improved when teachers explicitly attend to their students’ mathematical thinking and use research-based interpretations of that thinking to make decisions about subsequent teaching activities. However, mastering the pedagogical skills of exposing and understanding the unique ways that each student reasons about mathematics requires years of constant professional support (Jacobs, Lamb, & Philipp, 2010). Research on the professional development of teachers indicates that one way of providing this support is to create professional learning communities. Other research indicates the efficacy of video clubs, a modification of the proven Japanese Lesson Study model (Van Es & Sherin, 2010). While these mechanisms show success, they require time and space for teacher collaboration that do not exist in the modern US school climate. To help solve this problem, we propose to develop and pilot test a new electronic environment in which teachers collaborate virtually to learn how to assess, interpret, and instructionally guide the development of their students’ mathematical reasoning. Using the junior PI’s expertise in learning technology and the senior PI’s research-proven Cognition Based Assessment (CBA) Learning Progressions methodology, we will build a mobile/online environment in which mathematics teachers collaborate on learning to use CBA to assess, interpret, and instructionally guide the development of their students’ mathematical thinking. This system will enable teachers to easily upload video of their students explaining how they solve specially designed CBA assessment tasks and to collaboratively analyze and discuss these videos, while at the same time, learning to make research-based interpretations of students’ reasoning.
Cristian Gugiu and Mihaiela Gugiu, Department of Educational Studies
Do background variables matter to ratings of teacher effectiveness?
The national movement to hold teachers accountable has led to the development of value-added modeling (VAM). This family of analytical procedures purports to measure growth in student achievement and attribute it to teacher effectiveness. Yet, debate persists about whether the growth is solely attributable to teachers or possibly also to exogenous variables. The standard VAM method claims to control for all extraneous variables but this claim has not been fully vetted. This study will test the claim against several parental and child factors found to predict academic achievement. We will also investigate the personnel and policy implications of VAM for “ineffective” teachers.
Michael Betz and Anastasia Snyder, Department of Human Sciences
The shale boom’s effect on the distribution of income and wealth in rural communities: implications for families
Recent advancement of new technologies that have opened up once unrecoverable natural gas reserves locked in shale formations thousands of feet below the surface have begun to revolutionize American energy security, as well as transform the communities in which the resource extraction occurs. The expansion of shale gas drilling is still in its infancy and while significant work has begun to determine the economic, environmental, and social impacts on the drilling communities, many questions remain unanswered. The explosion of shale gas drilling has myriad effects on the mostly rural communities in which it is occurring, with residents and households having experiences varying from mild to transformative, according to their prior economic circumstances and household composition. We are proposing to investigate how shale gas development in the United States is affecting household economic outcomes and financial behavior across the income distribution and according to family composition. One of the most challenging aspects of our research is that shale gas development occurs almost exclusively in rural areas where data is limited. We plan to overcome this difficulty by accessing the United States Census Bureau’s restricted access data, which contains detailed data on rural households.
Kelly Purtell, Department of Human Sciences, and Jessica Logan, CCEC
Producing high quality childcare: Barriers and best practices in Columbus childcare centers
Although quality of child care is a key ingredient in the preparation of children for elementary school, only a small portion of child care centers are considered ‘high quality’ by researcher and policymaker standards alike. Furthermore, little is known about what strategies child care centers can use to improve their quality or barriers that prevent them from doing so. The goal of this project is to redress this gap through the development of a new online survey and the examination of responses to this survey by child care center directors across Columbus.