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Feature Story: Behavioral Support Should be Culturally Responsive
Racial minority students bring to school valuable life experiences and cultural and linguistic practices. Yet, these practices are often devalued, and these students' ways of knowing, behaving, and being are considered deficiencies. Too often, the preconception in schools is that these minority students are disruptive, resistant, and unlikely to succeed. This can lead to a great disparity in who is punished for certain behaviors, held back a grade, or even assigned to special education classes. A practice called Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) aims to help students—and schools—by offering a supportive and predictable schoolwide social and academic environment. PBIS emphasizes the social and academic benefits of creating common, shared understanding of desirable behaviors among members of school communities. More...
Many doctoral programs in math education boost students' skills in qualitative research, but lack sufficient focus on quantitative methods and in data analysis techniques. With funding from the Institute of Education Sciences, Mitchell Nathan and colleagues conduct a postdoctoral training program based in research on mathematics education. This program offers up to four 2-year fellowships in which recent graduates experience a range of scientifically rigorous methods applicable to math education research. A mentoring committee selects research methods courses, colloquia, independent research, and a capstone grant writing project designed to match the needs and skills of individual participants. More...
Many community college students transfer to 4-year colleges to major in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM). Their ability to transfer successfully and to persist toward degree attainment depends in part on early course selection. Xueli Wang examines the course-taking patterns of beginning STEM majors to determine how their decisions lead to later success. This topic has not been widely studied. Wang's study promises new insight into course and program features that help contribute to efficient and effective academic STEM pathways for interested community college students. More....
A computer program under development will allow much easier coding of classroom discourse for classroom research, teacher education, and professional development. Some years ago Martin Nystrand and colleagues developed the computer program CLASS, which has identified key instructional variables promoting reading achievement. CLASS (Classroom Language Assessment System) is now used for teacher education at Michigan State and Ohio State Universities. The current version requires a team of researchers and research assistants to operate. Automating CLASS will simplify the coding of classroom discourse, reduce its cost, and increase its potential use. CLASS 5.0 will result from cutting edge research in speech recognition, discourse classification, and natural language understanding. This research is funded by the Institute of Education Sciences. More...
New digital presentation, interaction, and navigation techniques promise to engage students more deeply and dynamically with science. Sadhana Puntambekar and colleagues in Finland are working toward cloud-based digital science content to allow anytime, anywhere access to an extensive set of topics for school- and college-level STEM education. This project represents a first attempt to systematically evaluate the utility of dynamic digital texts founded on concept map-based organizations of content knowledge, across multiple content domains, learner levels, and cultures. Puntambekar says there is a potentially transformative payoff to this work in that it can lay an excellent technological foundation for dynamic digital texts of the future. More...
Preliminary results of data collected through Dr. Sadhana Puntambekar's CoMPASS project show that middle school science students working in groups containing at least one member of the opposite gender scored significantly higher than single-sex groups on a test covering the content the groups studied, according to a paper co-authored by Dana Gnesdilow, Amanda Evenstone, Julia Rutledge, Sarah Sullivan, and Puntambekar. More...
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Part of the School of Education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the 44-year-old Wisconsin Center for Education Research receives funding from the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Education, and private foundations. http://www.wcer.wisc.edu
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