Classroom Artifacts as Indicators of Quality in STEM Education

Drew Gitomer (PI), Rutgers University New Brunswick

The National Research Council in 2013 released the report Monitoring Progress toward Successful K-12 STEM Education: A Nation Advancing?, which outlined 14 Indicators as well as the needed research and development to create a system to monitor the quality of STEM education in the nation. This project is funded in response to a Dear Colleague Letter request for research in the Promoting Innovation in Measurement and Evaluation program focused on developing research and tools to advance the nation’s capability to measure these indicators. The researchers in this project will address Indicator 5: Classroom coverage of content and practices in the “Common Core State Standards” and “A Framework for K-12 Science Education.” The quality of instructional practice is generally considered among the most important factors influencing student learning in STEM, yet is costly to reliably assess through direct measures such as classroom observation. The Classroom Artifacts as Indicators of STEM Classroom Practice project will design and study a set of protocols that use typical classroom work such as homework, projects, quizzes and tests as a source of evidence for measuring the range and quality of instructional practices in mathematics and science classrooms.

Research activities will be carried out in four phases. In phase one the research team will review literature and available protocols for artifact evaluation, and will survey large-scale data collection systems that make use of classroom artifacts. In phase two the project will convene a working session with an expert advisory committee to collaboratively design the mathematics and science artifact protocols, scoring processes, and the Phase three pilot study. In phase three the project will pilot the protocols with 500 teachers of mathematics and science and will convene the advisory committee to review findings and further revise the prototypes. The project will also gather validity information through structured interviews of the artifacts with a subset of the math and science teachers who submitted classroom artifacts. In phase four, the project will produce webinars that will reach and be useful to a national audience of researchers, practitioners, and policy-makers. The project will develop prototype measures that have potential for broad use or adaptation in a range of national and international data collections and/or at the district level to gather evidence about the nature and quality of instructional practice in mathematics and science classrooms.

See NSF award information.

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