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IES Grant

Title: Refinement of GlobalEd2 and Testing New Intervention Impact
Center: NCER Year: 2017
Principal Investigator: Lawless, Kimberly Awardee: University of Illinois, Chicago
Program: Education Technology      [Program Details]
Award Period: 3 years (07/01/2017–06/30/2020) Award Amount: $1,196,984
Goal: Development and Innovation Award Number: R305A170558

Co-Principal Investigator: Scott Brown (University of Connecticut)

Purpose: GlobalEd2 (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. The intervention was developed and evaluated through two previous grants. While data indicate the efficacy of GE2 compared to normal educational practice, data also suggest the need for additional refinements of the intervention targeted at increasing the feasibility of GE2 as a broadly scalable intervention. Specifically, the team will refine the intervention to address both the synchronous components of the curriculum and the overall length of the simulation which create logistical challenges that make it difficult for many teachers and schools to fully embrace GE2.

Project Activities: The project will first examine the impact of the synchronous components of the GE2 curriculum on student learning outcomes. Next, the researchers will refine and shorten the GE2 intervention, and test the impact of condensed versions of GE2 on student learning outcomes. Lastly, using a quasi-experimental design, the researchers will conduct a pilot study to ascertain the effect of participating in the refined GE2 intervention (GE3) on student learning outcomes compared to students receiving normal educational practice.

Products: Researchers will produce a revised GE2 curriculum, evidence of its efficacy for improving middle school students' science literacies, including science knowledge and process skills, and peer-reviewed publications.

Structured Abstract

Setting: This study will take place in classrooms in both Illinois (urban) and Connecticut (suburban).

Sample: This study will involve 36 middle grade teachers from Illinois and Connecticut. Across the three years of this grant, 2700, grade 7 and 8 students will participate in the research activities.

Intervention/Assessment: GE3 is a revision of the existing GE2 curriculum. GE2 is a set of problem-based learning, online simulations for middle school students that capitalize on the multidisciplinary nature of social studies as an expanded curricular space for students to learn and apply scientific literacies and concepts on an international landscape. Approximately 18 middle-school social studies classrooms (n~20 each) participate in each simulation. Over the course of the simulation, students learn and engage in written, scientific argumentation to reach a negotiated approach to addressing a presented problem scenario of global scientific importance.

Research Design and Methods: This project uses an iterative design process where successive versions are empirically tested and further revised. In Years 1 and 2, researchers will use pre-experimental designs were classrooms of students are randomly assigned to one of two intervention conditions. In Year 3, the team will carry out an underpowered, quasi-experimental design, in which classrooms are randomly assigned to a Treatment or NEP condition. Each study will measure intervention fidelity, using an established instrument. In Year 3, the research team will also observe NEP classes.

Control Condition: Year 3 participants in the comparison condition will be taught by the same teacher and the intervention group, but will receive only their standard social studies curricular experience or normal education practice (NEP).

Key Measures: Proximal outcomes include written argumentation quality, science topic knowledge, and self-efficacy. Distal outcomes examine socio-scientific literacy, science inquiry, and interest in pursuing future science educational opportunities and careers.

Data Analytic Strategy: The research team will use a two level, cluster randomized, hierarchical model where students are nested within teachers in Years 1 and 2. In Year 3, classrooms within teachers are randomized, so the team will employ a 3-level hierarchical linear model. Additionally, the researchers will examine two separate contrasts which are of interest, the first comparing GE3 with NEP classrooms and the second comparing treatment effects from GE3 with treatment effects from GE2.

Related IES Projects:
Expanding the Science and Literacy Curricular Space: The GlobalEd2 Project (R305A080622)
GlobalEd2: Efficacy and Replication (R305A130195)