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From Motivation to Math Partnerships: Feds Award $175 Million for Ed. Research

The so-called "noncognitive" context of learning, already a hot topic in education circles, got an influx of research support today, with more than 20 new research projects awarded by the Institute of Education Sciences, part of more than $175 million in new education-research funding announced today.

The National Center for Education Research announced 81 new awards in areas including: student learning, early education, education technology, English language learners, and improving leadership and policies. The largest number of grants focused on the "social and behavioral context for academic learning," with projects looking at, among other things:

In a separate grant program, the Maryland education department was awarded more than $2.75 million for a five-year evaluation of the effectiveness of the state's efforts to train educators at 1,000 schools on how to implement Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports, a school climate model.

Partnerships Expand

IES also will support five new or expanded research partnerships over the next two years with about $2.5 million each under a program launched by John Easton, the former Institute director. 

For example, Seattle public schools has paired up with Martha Mac Iver of the Center for Social Organization of Schools at Johns Hopkins University to identify ways to get families more involved during the critical 9th grade transition.  

"Although research shows that family involvement in children's schooling increases attendance and school performance, family involvement in students' education tends to decline precipitously in late middle school," the researchers explain. "By increasing family involvement, the partnership intends to increase the ninth grade course passing rate, thereby increase the likelihood that students will complete high school."

On the West Coast, Julian Betts of the University of San Diego and WestEd's Prentice Starkey will each get about $2.5 million in the next two years to polish math interventions. Betts' project builds upon a successful initiative to identify and target help to middle school students struggling in math in four high-poverty middle schools, while Starkey works with four California districts to implement and study a What Works Clearinghouse-reviewed curriculum called pre-K Mathematics

Separately, Trey Miller of RAND, Corp. will work with Texas' higher education board to improve student advising and adult basic education, while SRI International researchers work with education leaders in Montana to update that state's Montana Secondary Literacy Model guide.


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