From the National Center for Education Research (NCER)
IES Funds $100 Million Reading for Understanding Research Initiative
Attendees at kick-off meeting for the Reading for
Understanding Research Initiative
The Institute for Education Sciences recently announced the six research teams who will participate in the new Reading for Understanding Research Initiative Network: the Educational Testing Service, Florida State University, Ohio State University, Strategic Education Research Partnership Institute, University of Illinois at Chicago, and the University of Texas at Austin.
The purpose of the Reading for Understanding Initiative is to aggressively attack and derive solutions for enabling students to understand what they read in sufficient depth for their success in school, work, and society.
Over 130 researchers representing linguistics, cognitive psychology, developmental psychology, reading, speech and language pathology, and assessment are joining together to improve reading comprehension for all students from preschool through high school. To accelerate the basic research process, the Reading for Understanding Network will work in close collaboration to rapidly develop and test new approaches and interventions in multiple content areas and grades.
Central to the success of the initiative is the full participation of teachers and other school-based personnel in the design and interpretation of the research studies and interventions. Over the next 5 years, IES will spend more than $100 million on the Reading for Understanding Network to engage in rapid development of instructional strategies, technology, curricula, teacher professional development, and assessments to enable all students in preschool through grade 12 to read with understanding.
For more information on the Reading for Understanding Research Initiative, visit http://ies.ed.gov/ncer/projects/program.asp?ProgID=62.
$96 Million in Funding for 40 New NCER Grants
NCER recently announced funding for the second round of FY 2010 grant applications in three research programs. Under the education research grants program, 36 grants were awarded across a variety of topics.
Under the research program on evaluation of state and local programs and policies, two new grants were awarded. In addition, grants to establish two new research and development centers were awarded: one to study cognition and mathematics instruction and the other to study how to scale up effective schools.
The newly funded projects address a wide range of educational issues. For example,
- Researchers at the University of Georgia will evaluate the efficacy of the Instructional Conversation model on improving the academic development of English learners in upper elementary grades. The Instructional Conversation approach seeks to increase cognitive, affective, and English language proficiency skills through highly interactive and participative small group discussions with a clear instructional goal. Teachers will be trained to conduct Instructional Conversation sessions with small groups of English learners. Researchers will assess students' English language proficiency, affective skills, reasoning and problem solving, and reading. They will examine whether the level of English language proficiency moderates the effect of Instructional Conversation on the academic outcomes.
- Researchers at Stanford University will use several large-scale datasets to examine the availability of early childhood education programs throughout the country, explore the extent to which child care policies and regulations may affect the supply of supplemental child care, and study the career trajectories of early childhood workers.
- California's Early Assessment Program is designed to reduce the need for remediation of students in the California State University system. In this program, students agree to participate in additional assessments during their junior year of high school to receive feedback on their college readiness. A team of researchers at the University of California, Davis, will evaluate the efficacy of this program on student course-taking in the senior year of high school and on student applications to the California State University system. They also will study the degree to which prior academic achievement, gender, race/ethnicity, and English learner status moderate the effects of participating in the Early Assessment Program.
- The National Center for Cognition and Mathematics Instruction, awarded to WestEd, will redesign a widely used middle school mathematics curriculum—Connected Math Project—using well-established cognitive principles and will test whether the redesigned curriculum supports improved mathematics outcome.
For a list of new awards, visit http://ies.ed.gov/ncer/projects/10awards3.asp.
For links to current Request for Applications, visit http://ies.ed.gov/funding/.
FY 2010 Small Business Innovation Research Awards Announced
IES recently awarded 20 contracts under the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program to proposals designed to develop and evaluate technological solutions to education problems.
The six Fast-Track Awards (in amounts up to $850,000 for 30 months) will support the development of a commercially viable education technology product and research to demonstrate the feasibility, usability and promise of the product for achieving the intended outcomes. The 14 Phase I Awards (in amounts up to $100,000 for 6 months) will support the development of a functioning prototype of an education technology product and research to determine the feasibility of the prototype.
Two of the Fast-Track projects include:
- Researchers at Insight Learning Technology, Inc. will support high school students' algebra learning by developing a suite of engaging web-based learning modules. The technology will adapt to individual learner's strengths and weaknesses, and will provide monitoring and assessment information to guide teacher instruction.
- Researchers at One Planet Education Network will develop a web-based virtual recreation of Machu Picchu National Sanctuary in Peru. In this environment, middle school students will explore the Incan culture, and will be challenged to uncover the engineering, hydrology, agricultural, and urban planning techniques that Incan builders utilized. Topics will be relevant to national standards in history, mathematics, and science.
For more on the SBIR program and a complete list of awards, go to http://ies.ed.gov/ncer/sbir.