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The IERI Research Community :: Projects :: Science Education

IERI and Science Education

Recent test scores show that the United States may be falling behind other countries when it comes to educating the next generation of scientists and engineers. The Interagency Education Research Initiative is helping to avert this looming crisis by funding 40 projects that focus on science learning outcomes. This represents 39% of the projects funded to date by this joint effort of the National Science Foundation (NSF), the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Educational Sciences (IES), and the National Institute of Child Health and Development (NICHD).

Of these 39 science-related projects, 25% aim to improve teaching skills, 40% change the way science is taught, and another 15% do both. Assessing students’ knowledge of physics, chemistry, and biology is the focus of 10% of projects. Critical areas addressed by these projects include using computer models of natural processes to promote “authentic” learning; creating professional development activities that alter the way science is taught in the classroom, and motivating students so that schools produce more children interested in (and capable of) careers in science. Several projects also look at how children learn scientific concepts and begin to reason scientifically in order to broaden, deepen, and assess learning outcomes.

More than half of these IERI-funded science projects are classified as “scaling” projects. Such projects attempt to determine the effectiveness of interventions beyond the initial “laboratory” or classroom settings. Going to scale for some projects means delivering proven interventions to underserved children living in remote rural areas or in poor urban neighborhoods, while other projects are looking to build educational capacity by incorporating instructional technologies that promote the spread and sustainability of an intervention.

More information about the IERI projects that focus on science learning outcomes can be found by clicking on the project titles below:

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