Picture of Everyday Mathematics

Everyday Mathematics

Everyday Mathematics

Everyday Mathematics is a comprehensive Pre-K through grade 6 mathematics program developed by the University of Chicago School Mathematics Project and published by McGraw-Hill Education. It is a research-based and field-tested curriculum that focuses on developing children’s understandings and skills in ways that produce life-long mathematical understanding.

Picture of UCSMP Text for Grades 6 to 12

UCSMP Text for Grades 6 to 12

UCSMP Text for Grades 6 to 12

The University of Chicago School Mathematics Project, UCSMP, was founded in 1983 with the aim of upgrading and updating mathematics education in elementary and secondary schools throughout the United States. Since its inception it has been the largest university-based mathematics curriculum project in the country. UCSMP has sponsored translations of materials from other countries, run international conferences, developed curriculum materials for preK-6 (Everyday Mathematics, published by McGraw-Hill) and 6-12 (UCSMP Secondary, now published by UChicagoSolutions), and conducted extensive evaluations of its materials.

Picture of Everyday Mathematics Virtual Learning Community

Everyday Mathematics Virtual Learning Community

Everyday Mathematics Virtual Learning Community

The Everyday Mathematics Virtual Learning Community is a website used by over 38,000 teachers to reflect on and improve their practice. It has several key components, including:

  • A searchable repository of resources related to elementary mathematics teaching, including lesson videos, student work samples, and instructional tools;
  • A social network where teachers can form public or private interest groups and participate in conversations with Everyday Mathematics authors and other teachers;
  • Online courses on key topics in elementary mathematics, such as teaching fact fluency;
  • Regular site events, such as lesson planning webinars.

Interested educators may request membership in the website by going to http://vlc.uchicago.edu.

Development of the Virtual Learning Community has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the Illinois Board of Higher Education, McGraw-Hill Education, and UChicago STEM Education. You can read more about what we’ve learned from this work in the following publications:

Bates, M. S., Phalen, L., & Moran, C. (2016). Online professional development: A primer. Phi Delta Kappan, 97(5), 70-73.

Bates, M. S., Phalen, L., & Moran, C. (2016). If you build it, will they reflect? Examining teachers’ use of an online video-based learning website. Teaching and Teacher Education, 58, 17-27.

Bates, M. S. (2016). Does competency-based professional development have legs? Learning on the EDge. Retrieved from http://pdkintl.org/blogs/uncategorized/does-competency-based-professional-development-have-legs/

Bates, M. S., Moran, C. G., & Phalen, L. (forthcoming in November 2016). Supporting excellent teaching of content and practices with video clubs. Teaching Children Mathematics.

Picture of The STEM School Study (S3)

The STEM School Study (S3)

The STEM School Study (S3)

10/2012 – 6/2017

The STEM School Study (S3) is a 4-year research study that works to comprehensively describe and measure models of 20 inclusive STEM high schools in seven states (California, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas, and Washington), measure the factors that affect their implementation, and examine the relationships between model components and a range of student outcomes. The study contributes to the field and the growing attention to STEM schools by a) describing the elements of inclusive STEM high school models and the ways those elements are operationalized individually and in combination with others; and b) identifying and describing elements of the schools that appear to be related to desired student outcomes. S3 has produced a framework for describing inclusive STEM high schools, available on the project website, that includes 8 Elements common to STEM schools and a roadmap for describing how the components of STEM schools work to realize student outcomes.

Picture of Magnetar Capital UChicago Financial Education Initiative

Magnetar Capital UChicago Financial Education Initiative

Magnetar Capital UChicago Financial Education Initiative

A new partnership between the Magnetar Capital Foundation and UChicago STEM Education will expand access to financial education for high school students.

The Magnetar Capital Foundation, parent organization of the Magnetar Youth Investment Academy, will provide UChicago STEM Education with $5 million over four and a half years to further develop and grow the Academy’s high school financial education program.

Under the new partnership, UChicago STEM Education will oversee and administer the project, will continue to design, develop, and refine a flexible and modern set of tools to enable teachers to deliver robust lessons to students, and will develop a data-rich infrastructure to strengthen and measure implementation, ongoing improvement and growth.

Picture of Becoming a Math Family

Becoming a Math Family

Becoming a Math Family

The Becoming a Math Family website is being developed as part of a 3-year, NSF-funded project entitled, A Research-Practice Collaboration to Improve Math Learning in Young Children. The goal of the project is to design and deliver an evidence-based web-based “math toolkit” for working with young learners. The toolkit is designed around three key affective supports adults can use to support young math learners and a repository of cognitive supports that take the form of learning activities on important mathematical content for children ages 3 to 6. The website is being pilot-tested with parents in 2017-2018 to determine initial effectiveness and make improvements.

Picture of Learning Trajectories for Everyday Computing (LTEC)

Learning Trajectories for Everyday Computing (LTEC)

Learning Trajectories for Everyday Computing (LTEC)

The Learning Trajectories for Everyday Computing (LTEC) project is a collaboration between UChicago STEM Education and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to create prototype learning trajectories for computer science at Grades K-5. Each trajectory is designed to span multiple grades and support multiple exposures to a topic at increasing complexity across time. Via development of illustrative activities that are connected to mathematics, we aim to create trajectories that allow computational thinking to be integrated with math instruction. The learning trajectories (LTs) are being developed and tested in collaboration with 18 teachers and 4 teacher-leaders in public schools in Champaign, Illinois.

Picture of PRISMSPlans to Realize Implementation of Standards in Mathematics and Science

Plans to Realize Implementation of Standards in Mathematics and Science

PRISMS
Plans to Realize Implementation of Standards in Mathematics and Science

7/2016 - 6/2018

This study will explore the implementation of district and school-level plans to realize the goals of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) in mathematics and science in Chicago Public Schools. Specifically, it is examining the relationships between different implementation plan, strategies and changes in instructional practices and student achievement, and whether these relationships vary for different subgroups of students. Across the country, districts and schools are expending considerable resources to enact instructional materials, provide professional development and other strategies with the intention of meeting these standards. However, there is a risk that effective strategies are not implemented equitably across schools. Because these strategies are key influences on whether standards will ultimately lead to improvements in student learning. We are examining whether student achievement and equity in student achievement have changed with the adoption of the CCSS and NGSS and how those changes are related to variation in strategy implementation in schools and classrooms. Building from the findings of this study, school and district leaders can make research-informed decisions about their strategies and supports for the meeting the goals of CCSS and NGSS.

Picture of CryptoClub

CryptoClub

CryptoClub

The CryptoClub Project develops classroom and web-based materials to teach cryptography and related mathematics to middle-grade students in informal settings. In addition, the project provides supports for potential and current CryptoClub teachers. There are annual leader-training workshops, conducted by project staff, where teachers and afterschool providers can learn cryptography and learn how to run their own CryptoClubs.

The project has also developed a program to help CryptoClub leaders learn how to incorporate video-tutorial making into their CryptoClubs. Students create video tutorials that describe their solutions to mathematics and cryptography problems and, in the process, focus more deeply on the problems.

Cryptography is important in our modern technological society, not only to diplomats and military personnel, but also to ordinary citizens, as they use computers and cellphones to share information through the Internet while shopping, banking or just communicating with friends. Teaching students about cryptography makes them aware of basic notions of encryption, helps prepare them for jobs in STEM fields in which data security is important, and makes them aware of cryptography as a career choice. And, because of the mathematical nature of the subject and the natural interest surrounding secret messages, cryptography is also an exciting hook for learning and applying mathematics.

Picture of The USE Alliance

The USE Alliance

The USE Alliance

8/2016 - 7/2018

The USE Alliance is a unique research partnership that unites Outlier STEM education researchers Chicago Public Schools’ STEM policy-makers and practitioners.

The USE Alliance targets 12 elementary STEM Initiative (SI) schools located on the typically under-resourced South and West sides of Chicago. All of the K-8 SI schools are “welcoming schools,” which, the name notwithstanding, were developed amid much controversy. Welcoming schools are those that received students when other local neighborhood schools were closed as part of a highly contested and divisive district decision to close 54 of the city’s schools in 2013. This context is critical for understanding the experiences of school leaders, teachers, and students in these schools because at the same time that they were designated “welcoming schools,” the 12 SI schools were also suddenly anointed “STEM schools,” adding a drastic shift in educational model to the already existing pressures they faced.

The goals of the USE Alliance are to collect, analyze, and interpret implementation and student outcome data on the eleven K-8 STEM Initiative schools. The USE Alliance will employ a mixed-methods study. The USE Alliance will measure implementation of the STEM school benchmarks and its relation to student outcomes, as measured by teacher questionnaire data, secondary student achievement data archive, focus group data, school leader self-assessment data, and observational data. Researchers at the University of Chicago will work with OCCS to develop basic data structures for internal OCCS use, as well as work with OCCS staff to build their capacity for conducting descriptive analyses and interpreting data.

The USE Alliance will use the data and findings from the study to develop timely, targeted, and effective support strategies for the 12 participating STEM Initiative schools, and develop a long-term collaborative research plan and action steps for funding of future research on STEM Initiative schools. The USE Alliance will disseminate products and publications to inform K-8 STEM education policymakers and practitioners locally and nationally.

Picture of Evaluation of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Engaging Struggling Learners Study

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Engaging Struggling Learners Study

Evaluation of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Engaging Struggling Learners Study

1/2017 - 12/2019

The CS for All: Engaging Struggling Learners in Computer Science Instruction study, funded by the National Science Foundation, is a project designed to (1) investigate the challenges that students with learning disabilities face during CS instruction, and (2) develop interventions to address those challenges based on research-based practices from other content areas. Outlier’s evaluation of this UIUC Department of Special Education project consists of three components to support the work of the research team: a) process evaluation, to provide ongoing feedback about project work and to identify areas for improvement, b) ongoing quality review, to provide feedback on the quality of work with a specific focus on instruments, data analysis, and findings, and c) regular project leader meetings to serve as a research thought partner and help problem-solve immediate and emergent study issues.

Picture of Time for CS in Elementary School Project (“Time for CS”)

Time for CS in Elementary School Project (“Time for CS”)

Time for CS in Elementary School Project (“Time for CS”)

1/2016 – 12/2017

Time for CS is a National Science Foundation (NSF) funded 2-year exploratory study that aims to bring computer science to the elementary school day. Outlier Research & Evaluation at UChicago STEM Education at the University of Chicago, in partnership with Broward County (FL) Public Schools (BCPS), seeks to understand the implementation and outcomes of interdisciplinary problem-based modules that are taught as part of a 180 minute literacy block. The modules and integrate computer science, science, social studies and literacy by building them around a problem-based storyline. There are two modules for each 3rd, 4th and 5th grade and all address BCPS standards for each discipline at the respective grade level.

The overarching goal of “Time for CS” is to create an evidence-based model for bringing computer science into the already full elementary school day. It seeks to do this by capitalizing on the promising practice of problem-based learning by creating multi-disciplinary modules to be used during the already established literacy block. More specifically, this study will:

  • Create six multi-disciplinary (science, social studies, computer science, literacy) problem-based modules that integrate by focusing problem-centered storyline.
  • Develop a model for the infrastructure (including professional development and stakeholder advocacy) that supports the use of these modules in elementary schools;
  • Rigorously examine the merits of the CS integration model by looking at relationships to attitudinal and academic student outcomes; and
  • Increase elementary students' exposure to STEM, specifically CS, as part of the regular school day.
Picture of Bringing AP CSP to Students with Learning Differences

Bringing AP CSP to Students with Learning Differences

Bringing AP CSP to Students with Learning Differences

October 2015 – November 2017

Bringing AP CSP to Students with Learning Differences is a researcher-practitioner partnership to explore how to make the new Computer Science Principles AP course (CSP) more accessible for students with learning differences (that is, students with specific learning disabilities and attention deficit disorders). The project is a collaboration (http://stemforall2016.videohall.com/presentations/677) across specialists in education research, special education, psychology and learning strategies, teaching and curriculum development, and high school computer science teaching, and the students themselves. The team uses a rigorous research approach to 1) identify the teaching and learning challenges specific to learning differences in two sets of CSP instructional materials (Beauty and Joy of Computing and Code.org’s CS Principles); 2) write adjustments to the instructional materials to address those challenges; and 3) test the adjustments with students who have learning differences at Wolcott School (a high school for students with learning differences). The team will share what works and why with CSP curriculum developers and CS teachers to equip them with research-derived strategies to address student needs specific to learning differences.

The study goals are to:

  1. Expand participation in the AP CSP course among students with learning differences;
  2. Generate knowledge in the CS education community about what is needed to include students with learning differences in computer science; and
  3. Develop specific guidance for computer science curriculum developers and teachers about what is needed to make AP CSP more accessible for students who learn differently.
Picture of Implementation of Common Core Math and Next Generation Science Standards: Changes in Classroom Instruction and Student Achievement

Implementation of Common Core Math and Next Generation Science Standards

Implementation of Common Core Math and Next Generation Science Standards: Changes in Classroom Instruction and Student Achievement

July 1, 2016 - June 30, 2019

Across the country, districts and schools are spending considerable resources to enact strategies that prepare students to achieve the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics (CCSS-M) and the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). The standards movement presents a significant opportunity to improve the quality of K-12 mathematics and science instruction. Yet, too often, policymakers overlook the work that districts, schools and teachers must undertake to implement challenging new standards-aligned practices to all students in all types of schools. The risks are particularly high for low-achieving students and students with disabilities, for whom teachers have expressed concerns implementing standards-aligned practices well—even though a primary goal of common standards is to improve instructional equity and prepare all students to be successful in college.

This three-year exploratory study, led by the University of Chicago Consortium on School Research and Outlier Research & Evaluation, will examine implementation and influence of the strategies that Chicago Public School district, networks, and schools use for realizing the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics (CCSS-M) and Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) in grades 6-12.

The primary goals of this mixed-method study are to: 1) Describe the range of school-level strategies used to implement both sets of standards, and associated resources and supports that have shaped strategy development in different school settings; 2) Measure implementation of school-level strategies by teachers and school leaders; 3) Explore relationships between school-level strategy use, school-level supports, and changes in classroom instruction; 4) Explore relationships between school-level strategy use, changes in classroom instruction, and student achievement and attitudinal outcomes; and 5) Examine the extent to which any observed changes in student outcomes are consistent across students with different background characteristics.

Quantitative analysis will compare cohorts of students before and after standards adoption, using hierarchical models to explore the relationships of mediating and moderating contextual factors. Student outcomes include test score gains, grades, attendance, attitudes about math and science, college enrollment and persistence, perceptions of instructional clarity, challenge, order, and support in their classes. Qualitative data will be used to articulate district and school plans around standards enactment, and to develop and richly describe school-level implementation profiles that make the findings meaningful to practitioners and policy-makers.

Picture of NGSS Collaborative

NGSS Collaborative

NGSS Collaborative

Since 2013, UChicago STEM Education has supported teachers in Chicago Public Schools as they transition to the Next Generation Science Standards. Through this collaboration with CPS, Loyola University Chicago, DePaul University, and the Big Shoulders Fund, we have been:

  • Working towards a model for NGSS implementation in school systems.
  • Building and expanding capacity to implement the NGSS in school systems, participating Networks, schools, and classrooms.
  • Establishing communities of learners and practitioners centered around implementing high-quality science instruction as outlined in the NGSS.
  • Improving student outcomes and success in science.

Supports provided each year include quarterly Teacher Leader Institute and Professional Learning Community sessions, Study Groups focused on topics of particular interest to participants, and classroom coaching and school-based supports for teacher leaders in a subset of schools.

This work is supported by the Searle Funds at The Chicago Community Trust.

Picture of Early Childhood STEM Working Group

Early Childhood STEM Working Group

Early Childhood STEM Working Group

With funding from a grant by the Searle Funds at the Chicago Community Trust, UChicago STEM Education and the Early Math Collaborative at the Erikson Institute, in conjunction with the Chicago STEM Education Consortium (C-STEMEC), has organized and convened an Early Childhood STEM Working Group, a group of scholars, policy makers, curriculum developers, and educators from around the United States who share a common goal and vision of universal access to high-quality, developmentally appropriate STEM education for preschool children. The aim of the Working Group is to help guide discussion and change at a critical point in public discourse about the need for high-quality early childhood education, and to share our vision for the future of young children’s STEM education. Our January 2017 report, Early STEM Matters, describes four guiding principles and six actionable recommendations for educational leaders and policy makers to promote research, practice, and advocacy that will lead to high-quality STEM experiences for all young children. The Early Childhood STEM Working Group was represented at the White House’s Early STEM Symposium in April 2016.

Picture of Engineering is Elementary Professional Development

Engineering is Elementary Professional Development

Engineering is Elementary Professional Development

UChicago STEM Education has a team of professional development providers that are certified trainers for the innovative K–5 Engineering is Elementary curriculum.

Contact Debbie Leslie (daleslie@uchicago.edu; 773-702-0444) or Liz Lehman (emlehman@uchicago.edu; 773-834-8911) to schedule or learn more about basic or advanced Engineering is Elementary workshops and coaching or other supports related to the curriculum.

Picture of Evaluation of the Foreign Language and Area Centers, University of Chicago

Evaluation of the Foreign Language and Area Centers, University of Chicago

Evaluation of the Foreign Language and Area Centers, University of Chicago

7/2015 - 6/2020

Outlier Research & Evaluation at UChicago STEM Ed | University of Chicago is working in collaboration with the Foreign Language and Area Centers leadership to evaluate: 1) their work with the City Colleges of Chicago (CCC) and; 2) the FLAS Fellowship program at The University of Chicago. The primary purpose of the evaluation is to inform program improvement. The secondary purpose of the evaluation is to provide findings that can demonstrate success and support future proposals for funding.

The majority of this year’s evaluation plan is targeting the University of Chicago National Resource Center’s (NRC) joint outreach project with City Colleges of Chicago. In particular, the NRCs are holding a variety of educator outreach events (conferences, educator institutes, customized programming and workshops) specifically for CCC faculty. The NRCs seek to capture detailed quantitative and qualitative data from CCC faculty about their perceptions of the NRC offerings, as well as information about the specific needs of CCC faculty. The NRCs will use this information to improve their outreach efforts, and potentially to generate new programming that will best meet the specific needs of the CCC faculty.

In addition to the CCC project, Outlier will continue the evaluation of the FLAS program. Specifically, Outlier will collect survey data from FLAS fellows about their self-efficacy with regard to their foreign language skills; their career plans; their satisfaction with the support received from the NRCs; and the extent to which they have an identity as a FLAS fellow.

Picture of Bringing Engineering to the WCPC

Bringing Engineering to the WCPC

Bringing Engineering to the WCPC

UChicago STEM Education will partner with the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration (SSA) and the Woodlawn Children’s Promise Community (WCPC) to help 20 elementary school teachers (10 teachers in Grades K-2, and 10 teachers in Grades 3-5) in Chicago’s Woodlawn Community implement high-quality engineering education to their classrooms. Each partner teacher will receive teacher and student materials for two units from the Engineering is Elementary (EiE) program—a research-based, field-tested engineering curriculum developed at the Boston Museum of Science. Participating teachers will also receive intensive professional development provided by experienced UChicago STEM Education trainers. Professional development will include unit-specific workshops on each unit, collaborative work sessions for each cohort of teachers, classroom coaching visits, cross-school visits, and participation in an online learning community. In addition to providing roughly 600 Kindergarten through 5th grade students in the Woodlawn community with high-quality, school-based engineering experiences, the project will develop capacity and establish a model that can be used to strategically expand this engineering focus to other elementary school students and teachers in the Woodlawn community in future years.

Picture of Getting on Track Early for School Success: An Assessment System to Support Effective Instruction

Getting on Track Early for School Success: An Assessment System to Support Effective Instruction

Getting on Track Early for School Success: An Assessment System to Support Effective Instruction

This multi-phase project, which has spanned many years and multiple funders, is an interdisciplinary collaboration among researchers, practitioners and methodological experts from the University of Chicago (Department of Psychology, Department of Sociology, Committee on Education, UChicago STEM Education) and NORC. We have developed statistically reliable pre-K literacy and mathematics assessments that integrate research and practice and provide information to preschool teachers that is highly relevant to individual, small group, and whole class instruction. These assessments will serve as the core of a coherent system of teacher supports that we are developing and studying in close collaboration with partner preschool teachers.

Picture of SL-CN network: A Research-Practice Collaboration to Improve Math Learning in Young Children

A Research-Practice Collaboration to Improve Math Learning in Young Children

SL-CN network: A Research-Practice Collaboration to Improve Math Learning in Young Children

As part of the University of Chicago’s new Science of Learning Center, UChicago STEM Education staff are collaborating with faculty in the Department of Psychology and others to develop a math support website for parents of young children. The website will be designed to incorporate research on both the cognitive and affective dimensions that impact young children’s math learning. It will support parents as they learn about foundational “big ideas” in early math and learning trajectories toward those big ideas; it will also provide useful, actionable information about topics such as math anxiety and math stereotypes.

Picture of Big Shoulders/UChicago STEM Education Math Camp

Big Shoulders/UChicago STEM Education Math Camp

Big Shoulders/UChicago STEM Education Math Camp

UChicago STEM Education worked in conjunction with Big Shoulders to write and deliver a 2 week summer math camp for children entering grades 5 and 6 with the goal of instilling a passion and confidence in mathematics.

Highlights on the summer camp include the following:

  • Content focus on fractions
  • Focus on hands-on learning and problem solving
  • Collaborative/group work structures Integration of mathematics across content
  • Real-life applications of mathematics
  • Field trips
  • Making connections to STEM fields
  • Growth mindset approach
Picture of CurriculumKit (formerly MyPath)

CurriculumKit (formerly MyPath)

CurriculumKit (formerly MyPath)

CurriculumKit is the first “smart” digital planning tool for teachers. It allows teachers to make adaptations to an existing curriculum and gives immediate feedback on those adaptations based on research on curriculum design and student learning progressions. CurriculumKit’s development was funded by the University of Chicago Innovation Fund. It was designed and pilot-tested with UCSMP Algebra 1 teachers. For more information on CurriculumKit (or to pilot-test it in your classroom), please contact Meg Bates at megbates@uchicago.edu.
Picture of Using the Literacy Block: Developing a Model for Integrating CS into the Elementary Curriculum

Using the Literacy Block

Using the Literacy Block: Developing a Model for Integrating CS into the Elementary Curriculum

January 2016-December 2017

This project brings together researchers, district leaders, and teachers to develop and test an instructional model for integrating computer science (CS) into the literacy block for 3rd through 5th grade students. This model includes two 7-week interdisciplinary project-based learning modules for each grade level, as well as teacher professional development in CS content and integration of content in the elementary literacy block. Using a rigorous experimental design, this study will contribute to the field of computer science education by providing 1) evidence of whether and how an integrated CS curriculum affects children’s CS attitudes and academic achievement; 2) insights into the feasibility of integrating CS into elementary education and the infrastructure necessary to support this novel teaching and learning model; and 3) open-access curricular and professional development materials for use by other schools and districts across the country.

Picture of Civic Leadership Academy Program Evaluation

Civic Leadership Academy Program Evaluation

Civic Leadership Academy Program Evaluation

2015 - 2017

The Civic Leadership Academy (CLA) is an interdisciplinary professional development and training program for leaders in Nonprofit Organizations and Government Agencies in the City of Chicago. CLA’s objective is to equip participants, or fellows, with key knowledge and skills for effective leadership through coursework taught by faculty from UChicago’s five professional schools, while also providing opportunities for fellows to apply their learning in authentic settings. The program was developed by the University’s Office of Civic Engagement in partnership with LISC Chicago and the Civic Consulting Alliance, with funding from the Searle Funds at The Chicago Community Trust.

The primary goal of the CLA is that upon completion, participating fellows will improve their leadership skills within their organizations, which in turn will enhance their organizations’ abilities to carry out their missions. The CLA has a secondary goal of building a collaborative network that “breaks down silos” by bringing together Fellows across sectors in ways that ultimately will strengthen Chicago’s civic infrastructure.

CLA’s core coursework includes over 130 hours of face-to-face time with UChicago faculty and other professional experts (during which fellows learn together, collectively reflect on their learning, and give and receive feedback). The interdisciplinary curriculum is theoretically grounded in the leadership development framework conceived by Harry Davis and Robin Hogarth (UChicago Booth). In addition to coursework, all fellows complete a long-term Capstone Project to address a challenge within their organization and receive individualized coaching to support this work. Fellows also have the opportunity to participate in a week-long global leadership experience in a city outside the United States. After program completion, periodic fellow alumni events are organized so fellows may maintain and continue to grow their connections.

The CLA Program Evaluation has two main goals: 1) informing program improvements, and 2) documenting program progress and outcomes. The evaluation collects data on both fellow experience and leadership outcomes as well as outcomes related to the development of a network contributing to Chicago’s civic infrastructure. Data collection takes place both during and after the program to document both short- and long-term outcomes for fellows and their organizations. Sources of data include pre- and post-program questionnaires, end-of-program focus groups, and “case study” interviews that to gather in-depth information on the experience of selected fellows over time.

Picture of Magnetar Youth Investment Academy (MYIA) by Magnetar Capital (Program Evaluation)

Magnetar Youth Investment Academy (MYIA) by Magnetar Capital (Program Evaluation)

Magnetar Youth Investment Academy (MYIA) by Magnetar Capital (Program Evaluation)

2015-2016

MYIA is a financial literacy program for high school students and is currently offered in 50 Chicago high schools. The 30 hour program covers everything from financial responsibility and decision making to saving and investing. In addition to summative evaluation, the focus of the evaluation is to develop and validate instruments to measure students’ attitudes about their finances as well as their behaviors.

Picture of ICorps-L for Dibble

ICorps-L for Dibble

ICorps-L for Dibble

July – August 2016

Drs. Cassata and King have been accepted to the National Science Foundation's Innovation Corps for Learning Program (ICorps-L). The ICorps-L program challenges NSF researchers to think toward broader application of STEM education and learning innovations. The ICorps-L program accepts proposals that take discoveries and promising practices from education research and promote opportunities for widespread adoption, adaptation, and utilization. NSF will provide mentoring and funding to help scale and sustain a learning platform called Dibble.

Dibble allows users to be scientists, using only their mobile device and their curiosity. Dibble guides users toward formulating scientifically-answerable questions, crowdsourcing the collection of data, and various ways of analyzing and visualizing data. Dibble gives anyone the opportunity to use the power of the scientific method, even if they aren't interested in science. Outlier is currently developing prototypes of Dibble, and will be exploring its potential through the ICorps-L experience.

Picture of Data Workshop Project

Data Workshop Project

Data Workshop Project

Data Workshop is a user-friendly, pedagogically sound data collection and analysis tool. Users can create and administer surveys, run a variety of simulations, and create valid representations of the data.

Picture of Number Stories

Number Stories

Number Stories

The Number Stories Project is an online, searchable collection of dynamic mathematics activities. Learners can create their own collections of activities to explore ways that mathematics connects to their hobbies and interests.

Picture of Science Companion Technology Enhancements

Science Companion Technology Enhancements

Science Companion Technology Enhancements

In partnership with Arlington Heights, Illinois School District 25, curriculum developers at UChicago STEM Education developed a framework to guide the integration of 21st century technologies (e.g., digital probes, websites, data collection and analysis tools, etc.) into hands-on inquiry science activities. The project focused on authentic and meaningful uses of technology by students in ways that improved their abilities to: 1) collect and analyze data, 2) reflect and create, 3) communicate and collaborate, and 4) extend and individualize their learning. It also focused on helping teachers thoughtfully integrate student technology usage into their instruction. Between 2009 and 2013, the project team developed, piloted, iterated, and implemented “technology-enhanced” versions of 17 units (2 for kindergarten, and 3 each for Grades 1 through 5) from the inquiry-based Science Companion curriculum. This project was featured in a chapter in an NSTA press monograph entitled: Exemplary STEM Programs: Designs for Success (National Science Teachers Association,2014).

Picture of Improving Children’s Early Math Skills: From the Classroom to the Lab and Back

Improving Children’s Early Math Skills: From the Classroom to the Lab and Back

Improving Children’s Early Math Skills: From the Classroom to the Lab and Back

The primary goal of this project, which was a collaboration between UChicago STEM Education and the Department of Psychology at the University of Chicago, was to build on research findings from cognitive psychology to develop and study instructional strategies for teaching preschoolers fundamental mathematical skills in classroom settings. Researchers and curriculum developers developed eight research lessons––all focused on geometry/spatial content that is typically neglected in preschool–– that varied to the degree that they explicitly embedded educative features about the research-based content and instructional strategies in the lessons. Eleven collaborating teachers implemented the lessons, and both student and teacher outcomes were collected and analyzed. Data is still being analyzed with respect to the overarching research questions for the study, which were: How, if at all, does the use of the research lessons impact student learning and teacher learning and instructional practices? How, if at all, does the explicit inclusion of research-based instructional strategies and the type and amount of embedded educative material for teachers, impact student learning and teacher learning and instructional practices? We also collected roughly 22 hours of classroom video as a result of the project that provide many examples of teaching practices and teacher-child interactions that exemplify the high-quality, research-based early math instruction that the lessons were designed to promote.

Picture of Amplify at UChicago Arts

Amplify at UChicago Arts

Amplify at UChicago Arts

October 2015-July 2016

Amplify is a partnership of five UChicago Arts organizations—Arts + Public Life, the Court Theatre, the Oriental Institute Museum, the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, and the Smart Museum of Art—that have come together to develop a collaborative model of K12 arts learning at a large, urban university. Amplify’s mission is to both broaden and deepen arts learning experiences for educators and students, particularly those living on the South Side of Chicago, through diverse program offerings within and across the five organizations. With funding from the Lloyd A. Fry Foundation, Amplify engaged Outlier to conduct a collaborative research and development process to identify existing strengths in the current programs of each organization; articulate shared goals for collaborative work; and develop a strategic plan to realize those goals.

Picture of The BASICS study (Barriers and Supports to Implementing Computer Science)

The BASICS study (Barriers and Supports to Implementing Computer Science)

The BASICS study (Barriers and Supports to Implementing Computer Science)

October2013 – March 2017

The BASICS study examines how teachers and students engage with an introductory computer science program, Exploring Computer Science (ECS), in several school districts across the country with a focus on identifying the key supports and barriers to that implementation and endurance. ECS is a yearlong, computer science course designed to engage students in computational thinking and practice. As states and school districts consider the role of computer science in K-12 education, understanding how ECS came to be implemented in a range of sites can have great impact on the implementation and endurance of introductory computer science courses today and in the future.

The BASICS study goals are to:

  1. Inform thefield about key supports and barriers (“influential factors”) to implementingintroductory computer science on a large scale;
  2. Provide instruments for measuring the status of ECS implementation and the supports and barriers that influence implementation;and
  3. Create and share research-informed resources tools for the field to support computer science education efforts.
Picture of Young Researchers’ Collaborative (YRC) & Partners in Fieldwork (PIF) at the Lincoln Park Zoo (Program Evaluation)

YRC & PIF at the Lincoln Park Zoo (Program Evaluation)

Young Researchers’ Collaborative (YRC) & Partners in Fieldwork (PIF) at the Lincoln Park Zoo (Program Evaluation)

2009-2016 (YRC)
2015-2016 (PIF)

The YRC and PIF programs are designed to assist middle and high school Chicago Public School educators in making inquiry-based science a key component of their classroom instruction and to teach students research skills consistent with the National Science Education Standards. This evaluation is built around a set of evaluation questions derived from the project goals and includes elements of both process evaluation and progress evaluation in addition to summative evaluation.

Picture of Leading Computer Science Growth: A Toolbox for K-12 Teachers, Administrators, and other Stakeholders (LeadCS.org)

Leading Computer Science Growth (LeadCS.org)

Leading Computer Science Growth: A Toolbox for K-12 Teachers, Administrators, and other Stakeholders (LeadCS.org)

4/2014 – 4/2016

LeadCS.org is a website for K-12 education leaders in schools and districts and their partners looking to begin or improve a computer science education initiative. It houses a collection of research-based tools and recommendations.

Some LeadCS.org tools provide summaries and syntheses of current information, data, and projects. Other tools are “voices of experience” with recommendations coming from leaders who have already navigated the change process. These tools provide key advice from leader reflections on the most critical supports, barriers, and lessons learned in the process of implementing a computer science program. Still others provide guidance and frameworks for leaders ready to take actionable steps toward bringing computer science to their students.

LeadCS.org was developed by Outlier Research & Evaluation and others at UChicago STEM Education, in collaboration with the Council of Chief State School Officers, the Council of Great City Schools, and Tata Consultancy Services.

Picture of Identifying and Measuring STEM Schools and Programs

Identifying and Measuring STEM Schools and Programs

Identifying and Measuring STEM Schools and Programs

8/2014 – 6/2016

In 2011, the National Research Council (NRC) published “Successful K-12 STEM Education: Identifying Effective Approaches in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics,” a report that outlined criteria for identifying successful STEM schools and programs, including criteria related to student STEM outcomes, STEM school types, and STEM instructional and school-level practices.

Following this report, Congress asked the National Science Foundation to create ways to track progress toward the 2011 report recommendations. This led to a second report, “Monitoring Progress Toward Successful K-12 STEM Education: A Nation Advancing?” (NRC, 2013) in which the NRC identified 14 indicators for tracking the nation’s progress toward successful STEM education and called for a national-level monitoring and reporting system to measure them. In an initial effort to move towards such a system, in 2014, the National Science Foundation (NSF) funded a number of groups to conduct exploratory work that would lay the foundation for the development of indicator measures. Outlier Research & Evaluation at UChicago STEM Education | University of Chicago took on this project that addresses the first of those Indicators: Number of, and enrollment in, STEM-focused schools and programs in each district.

STEM schools and programs are rapidly emerging as momentum to increase access to and improve STEM education continues to grow. With this comes an urgent need to develop shared language that will enable us to communicate with one another about what STEM schools and programs are. In addition to contributing to our ability to collaborate and learn from one another, common language will enable us to better measure and monitor progress towards achieving desired outcomes and develop a knowledge base of what is working, for whom, and under what conditions.

With this in mind, the team created a website that proposes a preliminary framework for specifically describing STEM schools and programs. The two “taxonomy” pages outline research and practitioner-identified components of STEM programs and STEM schools, and provide specific definitions for those components. The “F.A.Q.s and Other Issues” page provides explanations of our thinking, answers frequently asked questions, and offers ideas for consideration.

School, district, and state leaders can use these resources to reflect on their own goals and progress, to articulate their specific criteria for STEM schools and programs, and to facilitate local conversations seeking to achieve consensus about STEM school and program design and associated outcomes. Researchers can use the taxonomies to “map” their work, to find points of intersection with others, and to better accumulate knowledge across studies.

Picture of Google RISE Awards Evaluation

Google RISE Awards Evaluation

Google RISE Awards Evaluation

1/2015 – 6/2016

Outlier Research & Evaluation at UChicago STEM Education | University of Chicago evaluated Google’s RISE Awards program. The Google RISE Team and Outlier embraced a collaborative approach to ensure that the evaluation design would provide a better understanding of RISE’s reach and impact, while also supporting RISE’s leadership in envisioning and planning for the program’s future. The goals of the evaluation included: 1) Clarify the RISE model and the purposes of program components and strategies; 2) Create a typology of RISE awardees and identify the organization and program types that appear to benefit most from the RISE Awards; 3) Richly describe how, and the extent to which RISE awardees used funding to scale and sustain their programs, and use this information to make recommendations for ongoing support; and 4) Examine the implementation of components of RISE and make recommendations to maximize the impact of the program and its resources.

Picture of C-STEMEC

C-STEMEC

C-STEMEC

The Chicago STEM Education Consortium (C-STEMEC) is comprised of four STEM-related university centers: UChicago STEM Education at the University of Chicago, the Loyola Center for Science and Mathematics Education at Loyola University, the Learning Sciences Research Institute at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and the STEM Center at DePaul University.

Our work is aimed at fostering smart decision-making about STEM teaching and learning in Illinois. Our work is governed by a set of principles. Support for C-STEMEC comes from the Searle Funds at The Chicago Community Trust.

Picture of Code.org Evaluation

Code.org Evaluation

Code.org Evaluation

March 2014 – December 2017

Code.org is a non-profit organization dedicated to expanding access to computer science (CS), and increasing participation by women and underrepresented students of color. They create computer science instructional materials for K-12 students, and provide professional development to K-12 computer science teachers, counselors, and school leaders.

Outlier has been Code.org's external evaluators since 2014. The first year of evaluation focused on understanding professional development (PD) implementation; teacher satisfaction with PD; program (course) implementation; and teacher attitudinal outcomes, as a first step in a larger evaluation effort. The Year 1 evaluation thus focused on supporting program improvements; documenting the extent to which Code.org was reaching its desired short-term outcomes; and data-informed recommendations for realizing short and long-term goals. The findings from Year 1 of the evaluation can be found here.

Year 2 of the evaluation focused on further measuring implementation and attitudes of students and teachers. Outlier worked closely with three large urban school districts to measure elementary, middle, and high school student and teacher attitudes about, and misperceptions of, computer science, both before they used the materials in the Fall, and after they were finished in the Spring. Outlier also measured teacher implementation of the materials. See the BASICS website for more information on these instruments. Outlier also worked with district leaders in four large urban school districts to aid in their sustainability planning. Finally, Outlier has been process advisors for Framing CS, an collective effort of the CS education community to define a framework for K12 computer science education. The summaries of this process can be found on the Framing CS website (link: k12cs.org). The findings for Year 2 are forthcoming.

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