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IES Contract

Title: Inq-ITS Online Labs for High School Physics and Physical Science
Center: NCER Year: 2019
Principal Investigator: Sao Pedro, Mike Awardee: Apprendis
Program: Small Business Innovation Research      [Program Details]
Award Period: 2 years (6/26/2019 – 6/25/2021) Award Amount: $899,959.61
Type: Phase II Development Award Number: 91990019C0037

Purpose: The research team fully developed and tested Inq-ITS Online Labs for High School Physics and Physical Science. The product automatically scores how students use mathematics when applying science inquiry practices based on actions they take within the labs, not multiple choice or fill-in-the-blank questions. Teachers use an alerting dashboard that notifies them when and exactly how students struggle. The product responds to the need that U.S. students continue to fall behind on science, having dropped from 17th in 2008 to 25th in 2015 on an international comparison. The drop is due, at least in part, to a lack of mathematics and inquiry competencies.

Project Activities: During Phase I in 2018, the team prototyped four self-scoring labs that integrated mathematics practices with other science inquiry practices. Each lab featured a testable question where students hypothesized about the mathematical relationships between variables, and tools to graph, model, and analyze data to draw conclusions. Researchers surveyed 185 grade 9 students and found the prototype operated as intended. Students reported learning from teachers' feedback, driven by alerts of when they struggled. Teachers reported that the technology increased awareness of which students were having difficulty and how they struggled.

In Phase II, the team expanded the product to 20 labs and expanded its capacity to assess how students integrate "using mathematics" practices. Specifically, the team developed new algorithms to auto-score how students make predictions with mathematics, built new lab activities, integrated new the assessments into the teacher alerting dashboard, and completed iterative research to inform refinements.

A pre-post pilot study was conducted at the end of Phase II with 4 educators and 236 students. Results demonstrated the usability and feasibility of the labs, as implementation occurred as planned. Results also demonstrated that students improved from pre- to post- test at graphing and making predictions with mathematical models with prompts from educators. A randomized controlled trial that had been planned was not able to be employed at the conclusion of Phase II due to challenges causes by the COVID19 pandemic.

Product: In this project, the team developed a performance-based lab for the high school level. The Inq-ITS Performance Based Labs for High School Physics and Physical Science integrates "using mathematics" practices with other science practices to study physics/physical science phenomena. An accompanying teacher dashboard generates immediate, diagnostic, and actionable alerts driven by algorithms that assess how students integrate using mathematics practices during their virtual investigations. Teachers use the insights gleaned from the immediate alerts to inform individual and whole classroom instructional practices. Resources support the alignment of the labs to learning goals and assist with implementation.

Related IES Projects: ASSISTment Meets Science Learning (AMSL) (R305A090170), The Development of an Intelligent Pedagogical Agent for Physical Science Inquiry Driven by Educational Data Mining (R305A120778), Inq-Blotter: Revolutionizing How Teachers Identify and Support Students Needing Help During Inquiry (EDIES15C0018), Recognizing How Teachers Identify and Support Students Needing Help During Inquiry (EDIES16C0014), Real-Time Formative Assessment of NGSS Mathematics Practices for High School Physical Science (91990018C0022)