Recently Awarded Sponsored Research Projects
Preschool-Elementary-Coherence Project (COHERE)
ReseachersAwarded by the Heising-Simons Foundation (through Stanford University).
Researchers: Julie Sarama and Douglas Clements
DU’s Marsico and Kennedy Institutes are members of a Heising-Simons Foundation-funded group, the Development and Research in Early Mathematics Education (DREME) Network. The goal of DREME is to advance the field of early mathematics research in the U.S., significantly improving how early math is taught and learned. We wish to improve children’s early math competence and in turn their overall education success. The DREME Network will focus on mathematics from birth through age eight years, with an emphasis on the preschool level. The Preschool-Elementary Coherence (COHERE) project will investigate the relationship between school district and school efforts to create policy alignment and curricular coherence on coherence of learning opportunities and student experiences.
Math and Executive Function Project (EF)
Awarded by the Heising-Simons Foundation (through Stanford University). 12/1/14 – 6/30/16. (19 months; $114,136)
Researchers: Julie Sarama and Douglas Clements
Another DREME Network project will develop and evaluate enhanced mathematics activities designed to contribute to the joint development of mathematical and executive functions in early childhood. The knowledge gained from this work will be useful in guiding teachers’ and parents’ interactions with children. Thus, with Heising-Simons Foundation funding, Network members and selected colleagues will collaborate to conduct research and development projects that are innovative and rigorous, basic and applied, and that address high-priority early mathematics topics that will inform and motivate other researchers, educators, policymakers and the public.
Scalable Professional Development in Early Mathematics: The Learning and Teaching with Learning Trajectories Tool
Awarded by the Heising-Simons Foundation.
Researchers: Julie Sarama and Douglas Clements
Recent work has clearly documented the importance of early mathematics, the right of all young children to a high-quality mathematics education, and the need for dramatic, wide-ranging actions to support the teachers of young children in providing such education. If high-quality mathematics education does not start in preschool and continue through the early years, children can be trapped in a trajectory of failure. To help meet that need, the Heising-Simons Foundation has funded Kennedy Endowed Chairs Julie Sarama and Douglas Clements to substantially upgrade the technology and impact of a research-based teacher preparation and professional development tool for educators who teach young children mathematics. In the course of decades of research-and-development work funded by the NSF and IES, Sarama and Clements developed a power tool for professional development of teachers of early mathematics. This software tool, Building Blocks Learning Trajectories (BBLT) presents early childhood mathematics learning trajectories, connecting the three critical components of early childhood mathematics: the mathematical content, how children think about and learn that content, and teaching strategies. BBLT provides scalable access to research-based learning trajectories via descriptions, videos, commentaries, and interactive experiences. This BBLT web application has contributed to successful city-wide scale up efforts. The Heising-Simons Foundation has funded them to upgrade this tool for newer platforms and enhance its capabilities so that it will be available throughout the U.S. on multiple common platforms (tablets, phones, computers) reaching far more diverse audiences.
Learning and Teaching with Learning Trajectories (LT2)
Awarded by the Gates Foundation.
Researchers: Julie Sarama and Douglas Clements , with Mario Lopez, and Álvaro Árias
Clements and Sarama have been funded by the Gates Foundation to extend the capabilities of the BBLT web application (see above) as well. Along with DU colleagues Mario Lopez and Alvaro Arias, they will build a new version will be called the Learning and Teaching with Learning Trajectories (LT2) tool. In addition to all that BBLT provide, LT2 will interact more with caregivers and children. For example it will produce (formative) assessment as to its effectiveness. The new strategies will include the following.
- New interfaces and tools will encourage teachers and other caregivers, and parents, to use LT2 consistently and to learn alongside their children.
- Embedded instructional videos and especially software activities for children will not only teach, but analyze children’s progress, individualize subsequent assignments of software activities, and communicate with caregivers.
- Individualized, just-in-time messages will be sent to caregivers and parents about children’s progress and how to promote the next level of thinking.
Access in Mathematics for All
Awarded by National Science Foundation, The Robert Noyce Scholarship Program, Capacity Building Project, $349,926 (2014-2016)
Researchers: Richard S. Kitchen (PI), Nicole M. Joseph (Co-PI), and Terrence Blackman (Co-PI), Curriculum Studies and Teaching Program, Morgridge College of Education; Álvaro Árias (Co-PI, Department of Mathematics); and, James Gray (Co-PI), Department of Mathematics, Community College of Aurora
This project supports work underway at the University of Denver (DU) to develop a program in mathematics education designed specifically to improve access and opportunities for underrepresented racial and ethnic minorities and low-income students. The primary goal of AMA is to develop capacity at DU to significantly increase the number of diverse and low-income students graduating from DU with a 9-12 teaching license in secondary mathematics. To accomplish this goal, the work of AMA will be devoted to developing an infrastructure that provides significant academic and social support for these future students to be successful at DU. After developing the capacity that is needed at DU to ensure the success of low-income, diverse students in secondary mathematics, we plan to pursue scholarship funding through the Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program for future students.
Broadening Participation in Engineering among Women and Latino/as: A Longitudinal, Multi-Site Study.
Awarded by National Science Foundation, HER Core Research, $677,390 ($69,992 at DU) (2014-2019)
Researcher: Patton Garriott (PI) in partnership with the University of North Dakota and the University of Missouri.
White women and Latino/a men and women are sorely underrepresented in engineering, and more research is needed to understand psychological factors that influence academic and career intentions, satisfaction, and retention in the domain of engineering. Both gender and racial/ethnic disparities have been reported across the engineering pipeline (intentions, enrollment, degree attainment, employment), with women and Latino/as underrepresented at each stage. The proposed study extends earlier work by sampling White male, White female, Latino, and Latina engineering students across 10 different institutions, including both Predominantly White Institutions (PWIs) and Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs). Findings from this study have direct implications for educational and career interventions aimed at retaining White women and Latino/as in engineering by building on our recent findings on the role of social cognitions in engineering persistence intentions and satisfaction among Latino/as and White women. The findings also may lead to theoretical refinements and to new theory development in explaining women’s and Latino/as’ satisfaction, engagement, and persistence in engineering majors and careers. In addition, to better understand why women and Latino/as persist in and leave engineering, this research will identify salient individual and institutional factors related to persistence and drop out decisions.
Cognitive Test Battery for Intellectual Disabilities.
Awarded byNational Institutes of Health, Outcome Measures for Use in Treatment Trials for Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (R01), $2,499,996 ($588,672 at DU) (2014-2019)
Researchers: Karen Riley (PI-DU) and her MCEA research team in partnership with David Hessl (PI), The MIND Institute at the University of California – Davis, and Elizabeth Berry-Kravis, Rush University Medical Center.
The overarching goal of this project is to develop and validate an assessment battery to measure cognitive outcomes in clinical trials of individuals with intellectual disabilities. The project will critically leverage efforts by the NIH Neuroscience Blueprint Toolbox consortium which recently validated a computer administered cognitive battery (NIH Toolbox Cognitive Battery – NIH-TCB, www.nihtoolbox.org) normed in the general population for the ages of 3 to 89 years. Although the battery has great potential for ID, psychometric studies on this population are required. The cognitive battery will be piloted, refined and adapted if needed, and then formally validated utilizing groups of individuals with fragile X syndrome with ID (FXS-ID), Down syndrome with ID (DS-ID), and idiopathic ID (I-ID). The proposed research will benefit a wide range of studies aiming to assess or improve specific domains of cognition and general intellectual functioning in persons with ID. More generally, it will critically extend the utility of the NIH-TCB to populations of individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities.
Progressions of Teacher Proficiency Project
Awarded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
The goal of this research project is to explore, refine, and validate the findings of an empirically-based “ model to support the alignment of professional development to effective teaching practices. Additionally, integral components to making these Progressions of Teacher Proficiency available and useful for educators and researchers, is the availability of a reliable ontological framework supporting the pathways. There is an overabundance of professional development options and learning objects available to educators. However, there is currently no system that facilitates appropriate individualize application for educators nor is there an effective system for measuring and incentivizing the utilization of these resources. We propose that these three components would be a value-add to different research, technology, and education partners.
The Mathematics Education of African Americans, 1866 – 1954.
Awarded by National Academy of Education, Spencer Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2014-2016
Researcher: Nicole M. Joseph
A charge I have as an African American mathematics education scholar is to conduct research that addresses mathematics education for African Americans or Blacks through the theme of liberation. This charge acknowledges the continuing struggle against oppression that must be pursued in U.S. society on behalf of Blacks. Mathematics education is also a site where “liberatory resistance” against oppressive social myths and practices can be enacted. A broad goal of this project is to generate new knowledge aimed at deconstructing and challenging assumptions that constrain existing understandings of Blacks’ mathematical experiences, development, and outcomes. Examining what Black students can do specifically in the field of mathematics over a time period of legal racial discrimination will build upon previous scholars’ research. This project uses Critical Race Theory (CRT) to frame, analyze, and interpret meaning because Blacks’ access to education has “never been a de facto legal or social right; the Constitution and the courts have been, and continue to be, the gate-keeper. This study is a historical narrative of the experiences of oppressed peoples, and challenges dominant conceptualizations of African American mathematics experience and knowledge.
Developing Teaching Expertise in K-5 Mathematics.
Awarded by the National Science Foundation, $130,344 (2013-2015)
Research team: Julie Sarama and Douglas Clements, in partnership with the School of Education at the University of Michigan.
Drs. Julie Sarama and Douglas H. Clements from the Morgridge College of Education at DU have been funded for the Developing Teaching Expertise in K-5 Mathematics project by the National Science Foundation as part of the Investigating Simulations of Teaching Practice: Assessing Readiness to Teach Elementary Mathematics initiative (Dev-TE@M) based in the School of Education at the University of Michigan. The project will create an online professional development module focused on geometric measurement and assessment. Dev-TE@M is designing a distinctive new form of professional development materials that integrate opportunities for teachers to develop usable knowledge of mathematics and student thinking, skill with “high-leverage” teaching practices, and approaches to learn in and from one’s own teaching. The materials provide teachers with rich access to leading researchers and nationally renowned mathematics teacher educators through carefully designed collections of videos, activities, and teaching artifacts. The work of Drs. Clements and Sarama will become part of a collection of modules being used across the country for teacher professional development that addresses critical content for elementary mathematics teaching such as knowledge and skills for helping students learn topics such as fractions and geometric measurement or to engage in mathematical practices. Dr. Sarama is the Kennedy Endowed Chair in Innovative Learning Technologies and Professor. Dr. Clements is the Kennedy Endowed Chair in Early Childhood Learning and Professor in the MCE.
Graduate Level Specialty in Addiction Counselor Training with Emphasis on Integration of Native American Specific Content
Awarded by the Galena Foundation
Principal Investigator: Ruth Chao; Co-Principal Investigator: Mike Faragher
The Counseling Psychology (CP) Program will address two critical and overlapping deficits in the provision of addiction counseling services in Colorado. Specifically, efforts will focus on the underserved needs of Native Americans regarding disturbingly high levels of addiction; and, the need for a more highly qualified addiction counseling workforce in Colorado. Grant funding will allow the CP Program to more adequately prepare the graduates for CAC II certification by developing field placement relationships with treatment centers in Colorado. These placements must be established to provide CAC approved fieldwork accompanied by CAC required supervision. Both the existing coursework in the CP program and 2,000 hours of CAC approved supervised counseling are prerequisites for admission to the required national examination. In summary, the first year funding will provide for the infusion of Native American content into the existing seven approved courses. In addition, courses will be revised to accommodate the new addiction paradigm advanced by the DSM-5. Funds will also be used to establish and maintain CAC approved and supervised field placements.
Healthy Eaters, Lifelong Movers 2
Awarded by the Colorado Health Foundation to the Rocky Mountain Prevention Research Center, Colorado School of Public Health in partnership with the University of Denver
Principal Investigator: Nicholas Cutforth
The goal of HELM is to increase student access to healthy foods, quality physical education, and physical activity opportunities in underserved, rural, low-income Colorado schools. We do this by partnering with K-12 schools to implement evidence-based, school level environment and policy changes using two proven approaches: AIM (Assess, Investigate, Make it Happen) and the Physical Education Academy. In HELM2, we propose to bring AIM to middle schools in the San Luis Valley and remaining elementary schools in southeastern Colorado who did not participate in HELM1. We plan to partner with local public health departments in southeastern Colorado to deliver AIM. Finally, we propose to bring a more cost-effective version of the PE Academy to southeastern Colorado and to continue sustainability efforts in the San Luis Valley.
Early Childhood Care and Education Study for the State of North Dakota
Awarded by the State of North Dakota Department of Public Instruction
Principal Investigator: Carrie Germeroth; Co-Principal Investigators: Melissa Mincic, Douglas H. Clements
A Marsico Institute for Early Learning and Literacy (MIELL) team will conduct a study on the development, delivery and administration of Comprehensive Early Childhood Care and Early Childhood Education in the State of North Dakota according to legislation passed during the past session. The completion of this study will be guided by a State Advisory Committee (AC). The responsibilities of MIELL include ongoing consultation with a State Advisory Committee to provide insight on early childhood needs in relation to committee members in their fields; obtain data required in conjunction with this study; and, review, analyze and synthesize data, documents, and reports from materials obtained as a result of the study.
Wallace Professional Learning Community
Awarded by Education Development Center, Inc. in partnership with the Wallace Foundation
Principal Investigator: Susan Korach
The Ritchie Program for School Leaders graduates are a cohesive community within Denver Public Schools. Graduates come back to classes, participate in candidate screening and demonstrations of learning events and continue to network within and across cohorts. We would like to leverage this strength of the community to host a convening to launch the development of multiple action research groups that will have two goals: 1) to support and strengthen the leadership of graduates and the performance of their schools, and 2) to learn about the challenges and issues graduates face so we can target development in these areas. The goal of the convening is that approximately 10 action research groups composed of approximately 6 graduates will be created and participants will agree to meet monthly (Sept-Nov) to work on their problem of practice. Their work will be recorded by a graduate student. The findings will be presented at a convening in December and integrated into program revisions.
Z Place & Zoom @ Jamaica Partnership
Awarded by the Piton Foundation
Principal Investigator: Karen Riley; Co-Principal Investigators: Carrie Germeroth, Melissa Mincic, Douglas H. Clements
Z Place/Zoom @ Jamaica is an exciting project composed of a wide array of organizations and expertise that has the potential to make a significant shift in educational research, policy, and practice within the state as well as across the country. This comprehensive and collaborative venture presents an ambitious and attainable attempt to provide empirically based services to a targeted community in a transformative way, with an eye toward documentation and replication. The following points summarize the major goals for the Z Place and Zoom @ Jamaica Project: support effective implementation of interventions of Z Place-Clayton and Zoom @ Jamaica; produce formative and summative evidence to justify scaling; create a potential (long term) case for pay for success/social impact bond applications; and, influence school districts (primarily Aurora Public Schools (APS)) in order to demonstrate value and to find/shift resources to engage in early childhood programming serving children ages birth to 5 years.
Math/Science Partnership (CDE)
Awarded to Eagle County Schools in partnership with the University of Denver and RMC Research by the Colorado Department of Education
Principal Investigator: Paul Michalec; Co-Principal Investigator: Bruce Uhrmacher
Eagle County Schools (ECS) aspires to create a multi-district partnership that will develop Teacher Leaders in 15 schools, covering 8 districts, located in vastly different geographical regions of the state. Teacher Leaders will receive intense professional learning equipping them to understand deeply the content and practices in the new standards, be expert at analyzing student data, and in turn becoming learning facilitators for the mathematics teachers in their schools. The major goals of this project are to develop Teacher Leaders; increase the content knowledge and pedagogical skills of Classroom Teachers; increase student achievement; develop and utilize collaborative partnerships with institutions of higher education and other school districts; and, increase principal instructional leadership.
A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Parallel Group Study to Evaluate the Effects of AFQ056 Combined With a Literacy Training Intervention on the Reading Abilities of Male Patients with Fragile X Syndrome
Awarded to CogState, Inc. and the University of Denver by Novartis Pharmaceuticals
Principal Investigator: Karen Riley
With a research grant from Novartis, Dr. Karen Riley, Dean and Associate Professor, developed a learn-to-read application specifically for research use with patients with Fragile X Syndrome. The iPad application, developed in conjunction with Dr. Judith Jaeger, Professor of Clinical Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Vice President of Clinical Trials at Cogstate, is designed to help patients with vocabulary while measuring cognition improvement during clinical trials of a drug treatment for the underlying disorder. Fragile X Syndrome, caused by a defect in the gene FMR-1 (Fragile X Mental Retardation – 1), affects 1 in 4000 males and 1 in 6000 females.