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IES Grant

Title: GlobalEd 2
Center: NCER Year: 2013
Principal Investigator: Brown, Scott Awardee: University of Connecticut
Program: Education Technology      [Program Details]
Award Period: 4 years (6/1/2013 5/30/2017) Award Amount: $3,477,944
Goal: Efficacy and Replication Award Number: R305A130195

Co-Principal Investigator: Kimberly Lawless

Purpose: GlobalEd 2 (GE2) was developed and tested over the past 4 years through an IES Development and Innovation grant in the education technology program (Expanding the Science and Literacy Curricular Space: The GlobalEd II Project). GE2 is a set of online, problem-based learning (PBL) simulations for middle school students that focus on the multidisciplinary nature of social studies as an expanded curricular space for students to learn and apply scientific literacies and concepts in an international context. GE2 is grounded in empirical research findings drawn from multiple fields that influence science education. This efficacy study will randomly assign students to treatment and control conditions in order to ascertain the direct impact of GE2 on eighth-grade students’ STEM literacies, knowledge and attitudes, and to determine if these results vary across diverse groups from both urban and suburban environments.

Project Activities: Researchers will rigorously test the efficacy of GE2 in improving student skills in argumentation in writing, science knowledge, and self-efficacy. Researchers will test the efficacy of GE2 in covering one topic over one semester with a cohort of urban and suburban students and then replicate findings with a second cohort of students. Studies will examine the generalizability of the impact of GE2 across a different science topic; evaluate the impact of exposure to GE2 across a full year of instruction (i.e., covering both topics, one per semester); and consider how student, teacher, and school variables moderate (and/or mediate) the response to the intervention.

Products: The products of this project will be evidence of the efficacy of GE2 for improving eighth-graders’ science literacies, including science knowledge and process skills science knowledge and process skills, and peer-reviewed publications.

Structured Abstract

Setting: This study for GE2 will be conducted in suburban and urban classrooms in Connecticut and Illinois.

Sample: The sample for these studies includes 216 8th-grade classrooms, 6000 students, and 36 teachers. The sample is equally split between urban and suburban classrooms.

Intervention: GE2 is a set of online, problem-based learning (PBL) simulations for middle school students that explores the multidisciplinary nature of helping students to learn and apply scientific literacies and concepts. Students within a classroom will be assigned to represent a particular country (e.g., China) over one semester, and must gain knowledge about it in order to successfully represent the country’s viewpoints and concerns in the dialogue with students in other classrooms, who are representing other countries. GE2 links classrooms of students, otherwise isolated from one another by physical distance and socio-economic boundaries in synchronous and asynchronous scientific argumentation through use of the internet.

Control Group: Students in the control group will receive the standard “business-as-usual” instruction based on the district curriculum.

Research Methods and Design: Using a three-level randomized block design (students, classrooms, and teachers), data collection will occur over 4 years utilizing the same teachers but different cohorts of students. All participating teachers will teach at least two periods of 8th-graders each day. For each teacher, one classroom is randomly assigned to participate in GE2 and the other classroom to the control condition; because the GE2 intervention is heavily dependent on technology, whose access is controlled by the research team, the chance of contamination between treatment and control conditions is very unlikely. In Year 1, the topic of investigation will be Water. In Year 2, the same topic will be covered, both with teachers from Year 1 and teachers new to the study. In Year 3, all the teachers will continue to participate, but with a new topic (Climate). Finally, in Year 4, the same teachers will cover both topics, one per semester. Students in both treatment and control groups will be assessed at three points (pre- and post- simulation and 4 months after the end of the simulation). Researchers will collect information on fidelity of implementation of GE2 and moderators (e.g., gender, race, SES) as predictors of treatment effects.

Key Measures: This study will utilize researcher-developed measures of written scientific argumentation, science topic knowledge, and self-efficacy in science and writing to measure the proximal effects of the GE2 program and student outcomes. The distal effects will be measured by the Scientific Literacy Assessment, an instrument measuring science knowledge/process skills based on a subset of the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) 2003 assessment, and a researcher-developed instrument measuring interest in future education and careers in science.

Data Analytic Strategy: A three-level (students, classrooms, and teachers) linear hierarchical regression model will be used to investigate the impact of GE2 on the student-level outcomes described above. Interactions of treatment with gender and urbanicity will be included in certain models to examine the moderating effects of these variables. The sustainability of GE2 effects will be examined by including multiple post-treatment measurement occasions in the models. The mediating effects of teacher fidelity variables will be explored via multi-level structural equation models.

Related IES Projects: Expanding the Science and Literacy Curricular Space: The GlobalEd II Project (R305A080622)