Research Projects

Faculty and staff members in the College of Education are involved with externally funded research and development projects valued, in total, at more than $120 million.

This page includes a sampling of current and previous projects.

College Ambition Program

The College Ambition Program (CAP) is developing a school-wide model for helping high school students navigate the process of applying to college, especially students interested in STEM fields. In addition to providing services, the research team, led by Hannah Distinguished Professor Barbara Schneider, collects data to measure how effective CAP activities are at increasing students’ college readiness and college going. The project is funded by the National Science Foundation and the Michigan Department of Education.

Cyber Partners: Harnessing Group Dynamics to Boost Motivation for More Efficient Exercise

Deborah L. Feltz and her team in the Exergames Research Lab are researching the best ways to keep astronauts in shape on long-duration space flights. In close living quarters with prolonged weightlessness, astronauts can suffer decreased muscle, bone and cardiovascular functions. This research (funded by the National Space Biomedical Research Institute of NASA) is part of a broader effort to help space crews work together and maintain their health.

Multiple Literacies in Problem-Based Learning (PBL)

Funded by a $5 million grant from the George Lucas Educational Foundation, this project will design, develop and test new upper-elementary curriculum materials that support learning in science, literacy and mathematics. The materials will engage students in project-based learning activities aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards and the Common Core State Standards in literacy and mathematics. The project is led by Professor Joseph Krajcik, director of MSU’s CREATE for STEM Institute.

Project PLACE (Project-approach to Literacy And Civic Engagement)

Project PLACE (Project-approach to Literacy and Civic Engagement) is led by Anne-Lise Halvorsen of Michigan State University and Nell K. Duke of the University of Michigan, and funded by the Spencer Foundation and the George Lucas Educational Foundation. The study investigates the impact of project-based instruction that integrates social studies and literacy with second-grade students in schools in low-SES settings.

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, along with colleagues Michael Steele and Michelle Cirillo, have led a project to design and test a set of professional development materials that will help secondary mathematics teachers engage in productive classroom discourse practices.

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

MSU researchers Mark Reckase and Jeff Wooldridge, along with Cassie Guarino, led a project to evaluate and identify which commonly-used value-added models (VAMs) accurately estimate the effects of teachers, schools and instructional practices. They applied tools for checking and improving the validity of VAMs and contributed to the national discussion about guidelines for using VAMs.

Strengthening Tomorrow’s Education in Measurement (STEM)

The Strengthening Tomorrow’s Education in Measurement (STEM) project, led 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).

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

The Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning (CIRTL) is a national effort to improve college teaching in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics through professional development for doctoral students who will become faculty. Michigan State University is one of the founding universities of the network, which now includes more than 40 universities across the country. Ann Austin is lead researcher.

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.

SOLID (Science, Oral Language, and Literacy Development) Start project

The SOLID Start project (Science, Oral Language, and Literacy Development from the Start of School) develops professional development opportunities for K-2 teachers that integrates science and literacy. The project also develops standards-based, integrated science and disciplinary language and literacy curriculum materials designed for K-2 children. Components of the SOLID Start curriculum include unit and daily driving questions (ASK), multi-modal investigations of and experiences with science phenomena (EXPLORE), science informational text read alouds (READ), science writing and drawing opportunities (WRITE), and science synthesis discussions (SYNTHESIZE) to build children’s oral language with a focus on explanations of phenomena. Teacher Tips are provided throughout the curriculum to support teachers in implementing these exciting units of study.

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