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Research Projects

Faculty and staff members in the College of Education are involved with funded research and development projects valued at more than $16 million each year. Their work examines, for example, issues in teacher and school administrator preparation, curriculum and teaching in content areas such as literacy, mathematics and science, and matters of physical activity across the life span.

This page includes a sampling of current projects. View the complete annual list of active grants for more information.

Promoting Rigorous Outcomes in Mathematics and Science Education (PROM/SE)

The $35 million PROM/SE (Promoting Rigorous Outcomes in Mathematics and Science Education) project is an effort to improve K-12 teaching and learning in mathematics and science through partnerships currently involving approximately 30 school districts in Michigan and Ohio. Faculty from the Michigan State University colleges of Education and Natural Science, led by William Schmidt, will continue to analyze data and share findings with schools through 2011.

Teachers for a New Era

Michigan State University is one of 11 institutions selected to participate in the Teachers for a New Era (TNE) initiative, a landmark effort by the Carnegie Corporation to restructure teacher education and set national standards for excellence. With $5 million in funding, faculty from across campus have collaborated to improve how prospective teachers develop subject-matter knowledge, enhance assessment of teacher learning, recruit more diverse teacher candidates and create a new model for teacher induction.
Learn more.

Teacher Education and Development Study in Mathematics (TEDS-M)

Michigan State University faculty members serve as international- and U.S.-level principal investigators for the Teacher Education and Development Study in Mathematics (TEDS-M), a collaborative international effort to study the mathematics preparation of future primary and secondary teachers. Using nationally representative samples from at least 16 countries, TEDS-M aims to tell us how teacher education policies, curricula and opportunities to learn lead to effective knowledge of mathematics for teaching.
Learn more:

Environmental Literacy

Charles (Andy) Anderson and his research team are developing learning progressions that lead toward environmental science literacy for students from upper elementary school through college, with the goal of integrating their work into contemporary K-12 curriculum. The project is organized into four strands: carbon, water, bio diversity and citizenship.

Mathematics Discourse in Secondary Classrooms (M-DISC)

Beth Herbel-Eisenmann and Michael Steele, along with Michelle Cirillo of University of Delaware, are using a five-year National Science Foundation grant to design and test a set of professional development materials  that will help secondary mathematics teachers engage in productive classroom discourse practices.

Entering the Guild

Entering the Guild examines how participating in science-rich professional development activities and affiliations with a larger science educator community impact novice science teachers. The project focuses specifically on a diverse population of novice secondary science teachers and their students as they participate in programs through the Exploratorium, a science museum in San Francisco. Suzanne Wilson is co-principal investigator.

Michigan Consortium for Educational Research

The Michigan Consortium for Education Research (MCER) is a partnership between Michigan State University, University of Michigan and the Michigan Department of Education focused on answering education policy questions through high-quality research. Currently, MSU College of Education scholars Barbara Schneider and Ken Frank are collaborating with colleagues at UM to assess two major high school reforms: the Michigan Merit Curriculum and the Michigan Promise Scholarship. The team has a $5.9 million federal grant to study how the policy initiatives have affected student outcomes.

Cognitive Development Lab

The Cognitive Development Lab, directed by Kelly Mix, conducts studies related to children’s conceptual development and learning, particularly how young children develop mathematical concepts.

Constructing Value-Added Indicators of Teacher and School Effectiveness We Can Trust

MSU researchers Cassie Guarino, Mark Reckase and Jeff Wooldridge has a federal grant to evaluate and identify which commonly-used value-added models (VAMs) accurately estimate the effects of teachers, schools and instructional practices. They plan to apply new tools for checking and improving the validity of VAMs and, ultimately, develop national guidelines for dissemination.

Longitudinal Validity of Accelerometers in Youth

Karin Pfeiffer is co-principal investigator on a National Institutes of Health grant to study the validity of accelerometers – the most widely used tool for collecting objective data on physical activity. By testing the devices with the same children over four years, she and Stewart Trost of Oregon State University are expected to determine how well calculations used to interpret output from accelerometers hold up over time, especially as kids grow.

Strengthening Tomorrow's Education in Measurement (STEM)

Recent research by Professor John P. Smith, III found that conceptual deficits in U.S. elementary math curricula have likely contributed to students’ poor understanding of measurement (length, area and volume). The Strengthening Tomorrow's Education in Measurement (STEM) project continues curriculum analysis and supports efforts to put that knowledge to work in improving practice. Partners include curriculum authors, mathematics teacher educators, practicing teachers and fellow researchers.

Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning (CIRTL)

The mission of the Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning (CIRTL) is to develop a national faculty in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics committed to implementing and advancing effective teaching practices for diverse student audiences. CIRTL is a joint effort of Michigan State University, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Howard University, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt University and University of Colorado-Boulder. Ann Austin is a co-PI.

Center for Advancing Research and Communication (ARC) in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics

ARC supports National Science Foundation-funded education research projects in the STEM disciplines by offering technical assistance to investigators and communicating their findings to a larger audience. Michigan State University Professor Barbara Schneider is principal investigator of the center, which is based at the University of Chicago.

Other Notable Projects

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