Dr. Erin Higgins
Telephone: (202) 245-6541
The Cognition and Student Learning (CASL) topic supports research that capitalizes on our understanding of how the mind works to inform and improve education practice in reading, writing, mathematics, science, and study skills.
Through this topic, the Institute is interested in applying theories of how the mind acquires, processes, and uses information to the improvement of education practice, including study strategies (e.g., the timing and ordering of studying, the type of practice), instructional approaches (e.g., optimal ways to present information, the role of feedback and error correction), curricula (e.g., the type and order of content presented, optimal activities and assignments), and assessment (e.g., the optimal format for questions). Under the CASL topic, the Institute also supports exploring the cognitive processes underlying the acquisition of one or multiple content areas, such as reading, writing, mathematics knowledge and skills, and science knowledge and skills. The Institute encourages applicants to the CASL topic to be actively engaged with prekindergarten and/or K–12 practitioners when formulating their research plans to facilitate the identification of research questions that are meaningful and practical in authentic education settings. Involvement of practitioners helps to ensure that the materials, tasks, assessments, and interventions developed and evaluated through the CASL topic are appropriate for the age of the students and the setting in which the research is being conducted and/or the setting in which the intervention or assessment is intended for use.
The long-term outcome of this research will be an array of tools and strategies (e.g., instructional approaches, curricula, assessments) based on principles of learning and information processing gained from cognitive science and cognitive neuroscience and documented to be efficacious for improving learning in authentic education settings.