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IES Grant

Title: Culturally Responsive Teaching for Student Equitable Achievement (CuRTSEA): A Professional Development Program
Center: NCER Year: 2021
Principal Investigator: Wisniewski, Robin Awardee: RTI International
Program: Teaching, Teachers, and the Education Workforce      [Program Details]
Award Period: 4 years (07/01/2021 – 06/30/2025) Award Amount: $1,999,135
Type: Development and Innovation Award Number: R305A210146

Co-Principal Investigators: Hong,Yihua; Lopez, Francesca; Dean, Ceri

Purpose: The purpose of CuRTSEA is to develop, refine, and test a teacher professional development (PD) program for culturally responsive teaching (CRT) designed to improve teacher knowledge, beliefs, and practices related to historically underserved minority students. The project will focus on Hispanic students and their teachers in 9th grade to address research-based needs of the Hispanic population and the importance of the 9th grade learning. CuRTSEA aims to improve Hispanic students' engagement and the relationship with teachers, reduce disciplinary problems, and ultimately increase their attendance and academic achievement.

Project Activities: Researchers will develop and refine CuRTSEA over a 2-year period, followed by a pilot test of the program's potential efficacy and cost. A total of six high schools with 16 teachers per school will participate in this study. The first 2 years of the study will involve one school per year and will focus on program development and iteration with a primary aim of identifying the CuRTSEA program content and materials for pilot implementation. The third year will focus on piloting the fully developed program and evaluating the program promise. Four schools and their teachers will be randomly assigned to treatment (CuRTSEA) or control (business-as-usual) conditions. Researchers will analyze and triangulate data from multiple sources. Data on program usability, feasibility, and implementation fidelity will be collected from teacher surveys, workshop and meeting observations, teacher focus groups, leader interviews, and teacher meeting logs during both development and pilot years. In Year 3, data on student outcomes will also be collected using student surveys and administrative records.

Products: Products include a fully developed CRT PD program that includes content and activity materials for critical reflection and asset-based teaching with structures for teacher professional learning and leader support. Researchers will make the program publicly available on the project website for both research purposes and general use. They will share findings locally, statewide, and nationally to researchers, practitioners, community members, and policymakers through blogs, meetings, conferences, and publications.

Structured Abstract

Setting: The project will take place in 3 high schools in Escondido Union High School District and 3 high schools in Vista Unified High School District. Both districts are in San Diego County in Southern California and are similarly challenged by low academic proficiency of Hispanic students and present a significant need to increase Hispanic achievement and improve teacher CRT practices.

Sample: The program will target teachers who are assigned to 9th-grade classrooms in the sampled schools. A total of 96 teachers and 1,800 students will be involved in the study.

Intervention: The proposed CRT PD program consists of 2 components: (1) critical reflection and (2) asset-based teaching. The program will take place over a 9-month time period and consist of workshops, teacher team meetings with classroom practice, and coaching.

Research Design and Methods: Design-based implementation research will be used to develop and refine the CuRTSEA program in two schools (one per district) during the first 2 years. In Years 3 and 4, a pilot study will be conducted to evaluate potential program efficacy, employing a cluster-randomized design in which two new schools within each district will be randomly assigned to the program or control condition.

Control Condition: For the pilot study, the control condition will be business-as-usual.

Key Measures: In the 2 years of iterations, measures related to program implementation will be collected using teacher surveys, workshop and team observations, teacher focus group, leader interviews, and teacher meeting logs. For the pilot study, teacher outcomes include implicit bias assessed through Implicit Association Test and teacher self-reported CRT knowledge, beliefs, self-efficacy, and practices and their collective efficacy. Student outcomes include student self-reported engagement and teacher-student relationship, obtained from web-based surveys, and academic performance and behavior recorded in administrative records including disciplinary referrals, attendance, grades, and end-of-course performance.

Data Analytic Strategy:  The research team will use a variety of qualitative and quantitative approaches to assess the usability, feasibility, implementation fidelity, cost, and promise of the CuRTSEA program.

Cost Analysis: The team will estimate costs using the ingredients approach and calculate costs on a per-teacher basis in the pilot test.