Title: The Causal Effects of Cultural Relevance: Evidence from an Ethnic Studies Curriculum
Dee, Thomas S. and Emily K. Penner. 2017. “The Causal Effects of Cultural Relevance: Evidence from an Ethnic Studies Curriculum.” American Educational Research Journal, 54(1): 127-166. DOI: 10.3102/0002831216677002.
An extensive theoretical and qualitative literature stresses the promise of instructional practices and content aligned with minority students’ experi- ences. Ethnic studies courses provide an example of such ‘‘culturally relevant pedagogy’’ (CRP). Despite theoretical support, quantitative evidence on the effectiveness of these courses is limited. We estimate the causal effects of an ethnic studies curriculum, using a ‘‘fuzzy’’ regression discontinuity design based on the fact that several schools assigned students with eighth-grade GPAs below a threshold to take the course. Assignment to this course increased ninth-grade attendance by 21 percentage points, GPA by 1.4 grade points, and credits earned by 23. These surprisingly large effects sug- gest that CRP, when implemented in a high-fidelity context, can provide effective support to at-risk students.
Title: CONECTAR: Collaborative Network of Educators for Computational Thinking for All Research
Funder: National Science Foundation Division of Computer and Network Systems
PI: Debra Richardson, Professor Emeritus, ICS
Co-PI: Mark Warschauer, Professor, School of Education
Co-Pi: Thomas Turner, J.D., Director, OCDE
The University of California Irvine (UCI) is partnering with the Orange County Department of Education (OCDE) and Santa Ana Unified School District (SAUSD) to form a collaborative network of university and K-12 researchers and practitioners with the aim of promoting computational thinking for students in grades three through five. The intention is to build connections to a broader curriculum as reflected in the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), to the language and discourse needed to ensure academic success, and to the learners' peers, community, families and culture needed to make learning relational and meaningful. The work will be situated in Santa Ana schools, where the majority of students are low-income, Hispanic, English language learners. It will use the principles of Design-Based Implementation Research (DBIR), designing interventions to implement, study and refine, alongside OCDE and SAUSD.
In the first academic year, the team will visit partner elementary schools to gather information about current teaching of computational thinking, conduct a district-wide survey of elementary school teachers, and gather examples of instructional materials developed nationally to determine those that could be adapted locally. During the first summer, researchers will work with a team of teachers to develop pilot materials and instructional units for the 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade levels. These materials--scaffolded for non-native English speakers--will integrate computational thinking with NGSS and CCSS. During the second year, teachers will implement the instructional materials in their classrooms with support from UCI and OCDE. Data will be gathered to study the implementation process, the challenges faced and how they are addressed, the extent to which the materials engage the learners on the emotional, behavioral, and cognitive levels, and the suitability of the materials for promoting computational thinking among the targeted learners. During the second summer, the team will further refine materials for broader implementation in Orange County.
CalTeach alumni returned to UCI for their annual kick-off dinner, networking, and catching up on the latest developments in STEM education on Tuesday, August 15.
Representing schools throughout Southern California, the CalTeach science and math graduates shared classroom experiences relative to the evening's theme "Implicit Bias in the Classroom." Following their participation in a group discussion of ways to counter bias and how to deliver inclusive education that reaches every child in the classroom, the alumni participated in one of two breakout sessions: (a) Science: Phenomenon, hosted by Master Teacher Therese Shanahan; or (b) Math: Issues in Current Math Education, hosted by Master Teacher Kris Houston.
Co-director Virginia Panish's contributions during the evening included participating in the breakout sessions as UCI Director of Teacher Education, thanking the alumni for advancing STEM education in California, and wishing the alumnae great success with their students during the new 2017-2018 school year.
The evening's dinner was hosted by long-time education supporter SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union.
About UCI CalTeach Science and Math Program: http://calteach.uci.edu/calteach.uci.edu/
"Using an Opportunity-Propensity Framework to Estimate Individual-, Classroom-, and School-Level Predictors of Middle School Science Achievement"
Lewis, R. W., & Farkas, G. (August 2017). Using an Opportunity-Propensity Framework to estimate individual-, classroom-, and school-level predictors of middle school science achievement. Contemporary Educational Psychology.
Using data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 1998-99 (N=4447), this analysis employs an opportunity-propensity (O-P) framework (Byrnes, 2003; Byrnes & Miller, 2007; Byrnes & Wasik, 2009) to examine the influence of multiple student, teacher, classroom, and school factors on eighth-grade science achievement. Saçkes et al. (2011) fit an O-P structural equation model (SEM) to the same database to explain science achievement growth from Kindergarten to third grade. We extend this work by fitting an O-P SEM to this database to predict science achievement growth from fifth to eighth grade. This middle school model includes an opportunity variable – science curriculum track placement – that operates only in middle and high school. This variable and the school’s poverty rate are significant predictors of several opportunity factors. We replicate previous findings that propensity factors are the strongest determinants of science achievement, notably prior achievement. However, we find more opportunity factors than previous studies that are also significant. Other things being equal, having a state certified teacher is the second strongest predictor of achievement within the model. Placement in a science honors course and being enrolled in low income school are also linked to small but significant impacts on science achievement.
Doctoral Student Melissa Callaghan Publishes with Colleagues in Journal of Computer Assisted Learning
"How Teachers Integrate a Math Computer Game: Professional Development Use, Teaching Practices, and Student Achievement"
Callaghan, M. N., Long, J. J., van Es, E. A., Reich, S. M., & Rutherford, T. (August 2017). How teachers integrate a math computer game: Professional development use, teaching practices, and student achievement. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning.
As more attention is placed on designing digital educational games to align with schools' academic aims (e.g., Common Core), questions arise regarding how professional development (PD) may support teachers' using games for instruction and how such integration might impact students' achievement. This study seeks to (a) understand how teachers use PD resources (e.g., technology personnel and game-use workshops) for integration; (b) determine how teachers integrate games into their instruction; and (c) examine how those teaching practices are associated with student achievement. This mixed method study used survey and interview responses from elementary school teachers (n = 863) with access to PD resources for implementing a math game intervention and standardized math-test scores from their second- through sixth-grade students (n = 10,715). Findings showed few teachers sought PD assistance for integration, but many desired such support. Some reported using integrative practices (i.e., referencing game and using game-generated progress reports) to identify struggling students, whereas several found integration challenging. Teachers' reordering of game objectives to align with lessons and viewing of game-based PD videos were associated with increased student math achievement in our OLS-analysis. However, this result was no longer statistically significant within a school fixed-effects model, suggesting school differences may influence how strongly teachers' practices are associated with student achievement.
PhD in Education student Peter McPartlan is one of two 2017 graduate student poster winners for Division 15: Educational Psychology at the American Psychological Association (APA) Annual Convention, held August 2-6 in Washington, D.C.
Mr. McPartlan’s project, developed from Professor Mark Warschauer's Investigating Virtual Learning Environments project, was titled "Modality Motivation: Assessing Motivational Differences in Online and Face-to-Face Students."
Amidst the rising costs of higher education, online courses have been heralded as a cost-saving solution. Uncertainty over the quality of online learning, however, has encouraged researchers to assess the effectiveness of online (OL) courses through comparisons with equivalent face-to-face (F2F) courses. The validity of such comparisons rests entirely on the assumption that selection effects are not biasing results. Although many studies use superficial demographic variables to test for selection effects (e.g. race, gender, SES), motivation is a much more proximal predictor of performance. The present study investigated three different courses in which students had the option to choose between equivalent OL and F2F courses with the same instructor. Results showed that students who chose OL courses felt forced to do so due to situational constraints. Introductory OL students cited institutional constraints (e.g. full in-person courses or conflicting course schedules) whereas advanced/summer OL students cited personal constraints (e.g. long commutes or employment conflicts). Quantitative comparisons showed no significant differences in online students’ values for their courses. However, whereas introductory OL students who cited institutional constraints performed on par with F2F counterparts, advanced/summer OL students citing personal constraints performed far worse. Choosing OL courses due to personal constraints was negatively associated with attending peer study groups and speaking with the instructor. Ultimately, motivational factors are unlikely to induce selection effects, but researchers should certainly consider students’ competing personal responsibilities instead of simply testing for differences in race, gender, and SES. Additionally, researchers comparing OL and F2F courses may be more likely to avoid selection effects by targeting introductory courses during the traditional academic year.
Professor George Farkas has published with colleagues in the latest issue of Exceptional Children: "Cross-Cohort Evidence of Disparities in Service Receipt for Speech or Language Impairments."
We examined the extent to which disparities in the receipt of special education services for speech or language impairments (SLIs) on the basis of race, ethnicity, or language use by kindergarten—when the delivery of these services might be expected to be most effective—have changed over a 12-year period in the United States. Logistic regression modeling of 2 nationally representative cohorts (N = 16,800 and 12,080) indicated that children who are Black (covariate-adjusted odds ratios = 0.39 and 0.54) or from non-English-speaking households (covariate-adjusted odds ratios = 0.57 and 0.50) continue to be less likely to receive services for SLIs. Hispanic children are now less likely to receive these services (covariate adjusted odds ratio = 0.54) than otherwise similar non-Hispanic White children. Disparities in special education service receipt for SLIs attributable to race, ethnicity, and language presently occur in the United States and are not explained by many potential confounds.
Speech or language impairments (SLIs) increase young children’s risk for atypical development, including lower cognitive, behavioral, and school functioning (Bornstein, Hahn, & Suwalsky, 2013; Petersen et al., 2013; U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, 2006). Elementary school–age children with SLIs are at increased risk of having reading (Catts, Fey, Tomblin, & Zhang, 2002; Snowling, Bishop, & Stothard, 2000) and behavioral (Yew & O’Kearney, 2013) disabilities and often experience greater bullying and feelings of isolation (Harrison, McLeod, Berthelsen, & Walker, 2009; McCormack, Harrison, McLeod, & McAllister, 2011; Morgan, Farkas, & Wu, 2011). As they age, children with SLIs are less likely to complete high school; are more frequently unemployed; and, if employed, hold lower-paying positions (Elbro, Dalby, & Maarbjerg, 2011; Felsenfeld, Broen, & McGue, 1994; Johnson, Beitchman, & Brownlie, 2010; Muir, O’Callaghan, Bor, Najman, & Williams, 2011). Prevalence estimates among preschool children vary, ranging from 5% to 8% for combined speech and language delays and 2% to 19% for language delays, with persistence rates of 40% to 60% for untreated speech and language delays (Nelson, Nygren, Walker, & Panoscha, 2006). Although SLIs may constitute a chronic condition (Silva, Williams, & McGee, 1987; Snowling et al., 2000; Tomblin, Zhang, Buckwalter, & O’Brien, 2003), children appropriately identified and provided with interventions and services by kindergarten display substantially improved speech and language capabilities (Beitchman, Wilson, Brownlie, Walters, & Lancee, 1996; Boyle, McCartney, O’Hare, & Forbes, 2009; Hebbeler et al., 2007; Law, Garrett, & Nye, 2004; Nelson et al., 2006; Roberts & Kaiser, 2011; Wilcox, Gray, Guimond, & Lafferty, 2011).
Morgan, P. L., Farkas, G., Hillemeier, M. M., Li, H., Pun, W. H., & Cook, M. (July 2017). Cross-cohort evidence of disparities in service receipt for speech or language impairments. Exceptional Children. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/0014402917718341
School of Education Assistant Professor Di Xu and Vice Provost for Academic Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Douglas Haynes are Co-PIs on a new NSF grant to identify critical challenges and opportunities in undergraduate STEM education at two-year and four-year Hispanic-serving institutions. Vice Provost and Dean Michael Dennin, Office of Teaching and Learning, will serve as the PI for this year-long grant.
With support from NSF, Dennin, Xu, and Haynes will plan and host a three-day conference, Pathways for Hispanic Students in STEM, focusing on improving retention and graduation rates for Hispanic students in STEM in higher education institutions nationwide. Conference attendees will be primarily faculty and administrators from local high schools and 2-year and 4-year colleges, emphasizing those that serve Hispanic students.
The conference will be interactive and intentionally designed to be both a learning experience and a data collection exercise. Conference topics will include the following:
The conference's goals are twofold: (a) to educate key faculty and administrators about known research regarding Hispanic students in STEM, and (b) to produce a set of recommendations to help NSF identify critical challenges, best practices, and potential actionable solutions for undergraduate STEM education.
PhD student David Liu has been awarded a $10,000 Graduate Student Fellowship from the Newkirk Center for Science and Society at UCI and has been named a 2017 Newkirk Graduate Fellow.
Mr. Liu will be using his award to support his research designing afterschool STEM programs connecting schools, homes, and communities for Latinas. In addition to working with his advisor on his research, Mr. Liu will be participating in three quarterly workshops at the Newkirk Center and preparing a final written report to be presented to the public.
Currently, Mr. Liu is administering an afterschool program option at El Sol Science & Arts Academy in Santa Ana teaching upper grade elementary participants how to apply a scientific approach to real world issues. This past year, participants were challenged to think about their school as an ecosystem and then identify a problem, engineer a solution, test and modify the solution, and survey the response. Two popular topics were school lunches and bullying. For their final presentations, students created both short videos and posters summarizing their findings.
Mr. Liu is a fourth year doctoral student specializing in Learning, Teaching, Cognition, and Development (LTCD). His research interests include STEM education, out-of-school time activities, diversity, and equity. He is advised by Assistant Professor Hosun Kang.
More about David Liu: http://education.uci.edu/phd-liu-d.html
The UCI CalTeach Science & Math program honored 15 graduates during their 2017 Graduation Reception on June 16. The following students were recognized for academic achievement in their STEM field and for completing the requirements for a California Teaching Credential, both accomplished in four years of undergraduate study.
Anjali E. Abraham: Physics
Kaylee P. Acuna: Mathematics
Don Diego Carmona: Mathematics
Jessica F. Carr: Biology/Education
Julie A. Carrillo: Biology/Education
Ryan T. Duong: Mathematics
Yonghee (Sam) Hwang: Mathematics
Jenny U. Kao: Mathematics
Martin Lopez: Physics
Snow Lu: Physics
Nicolas C. Navarro: Mathematics
Joseph T. Nguyen: Mathematics
Jeremy M. Sparage: Mathematics
Kevin J. Trejo: Biology/Education
Hyunmin Yoo: Mathematics
Following a welcome from Co-director Virginia Panish, Director of Teacher Education in the UCI School of Education, and a dinner hosted by SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union, CalTeach alumna Gabby Camacho (2016) shared her experiences as a biology teacher at Northwood High in Irvine. CalTeach Master Teachers Kris Houston and Therese Shanahan then presented each graduate with a certificate of achievement and a CalTeach graduation sash to wear at the UCI Commencement on June 18.
The reception closed with the graduates thanking their mentor teachers "for their guidance and support" and presenting each with a personalized gift.
2017 CalTeach Mentor Teachers: Cooper C’deBaca, Ann Doan, Jorge Felix, Emily Fellmer, Ana Figueroa, Sabina Giakoumis, Sandra Hightower, Vanessa Morales, Rachel de los Santos, Valerie Smith, Todd Twogood, and Michael Wolfe.