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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 $165 million.

This page includes a sampling of current and previous projects. View the complete list of active grants for more information.

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.

Cognitive Development Lab

The Cognitive Development Lab, directed by Kelly Mix, conducts studies related to children’s conceptual development and learning, particularly how young children develop mathematical concepts.

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.

Teacher Education and Development Study in Mathematics (TEDS-M)

Michigan State University faculty members served as international- and U.S.-level principal investigators for the Teacher Education and Development Study in Mathematics (TEDS-M), a collaborative international effort to study the mathematics preparation of future primary and secondary teachers. Using nationally representative samples from at least 16 countries, TEDS-M helps show how teacher education policies, curricula and opportunities to learn lead to effective knowledge of mathematics for teaching.
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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.

Michigan Consortium for Educational Research

The Michigan Consortium for Education Research (MCER) is a partnership between Michigan State University, University of Michigan and the Michigan Department of Education focused on answering education policy questions through high-quality research. MSU College of Education scholars Barbara Schneider and Ken Frank have collaborated with colleagues at UM to assess two major high school reforms: the Michigan Merit Curriculum and the Michigan Promise Scholarship. The team has a federal grant to study how the policy initiatives have affected student outcomes.

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

MSU researchers Mark Reckase and Jeff Wooldridge, along with Cassie Guarino, have led a projec to evaluate and identify which commonly-used value-added models (VAMs) accurately estimate the effects of teachers, schools and instructional practices. They plan to apply new tools for checking and improving the validity of VAMs and, ultimately, develop national guidelines for dissemination.

Longitudinal Validity of Accelerometers in Youth

Karin Pfeiffer is co-principal investigator on a National Institutes of Health grant to study the validity of accelerometers – the most widely used tool for collecting objective data on physical activity. By testing the devices with the same children over four years, she and Stewart Trost of Oregon State University are expected to determine how well calculations used to interpret output from accelerometers hold up over time, especially as kids grow.

Strengthening Tomorrow's Education in Measurement (STEM)

Recent research 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). The Strengthening Tomorrow's Education in Measurement (STEM) project continues curriculum analysis and supports efforts to put that knowledge to work in improving practice. Partners include curriculum authors, mathematics teacher educators, practicing teachers and fellow researchers.

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 20 universities across the country. Ann Austin is a co-PI.

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.

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