ECR Projects

Explore past and current fundamental STEM education research projects across the three research areas that NSF's EDU Core Research (ECR) program funds, as well as across ECR funding types. Other search filters draw from both NSF's data and the ECR Hub's hand coding of award abstracts.

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STEM Learning and Learning Environments STEM Learning and Learning Environments  Broadening Participation in STEM Broadening Participation in STEM

A Capacity Building Project to Advance Research on Girls' Math Identity: Improving STEM Learning and Broadening Participation

Effective Years: 2014-2017

The Educational Equity Center at Family Health International 360, IMPAQ International, and the New York Academy of Sciences will partner to implement a three-year education research capacity-building project to support the groundwork necessary to advance research on middle school girls' math identity. The focus will be on girls in grades 4-8, critical years when they face transitions from elementary school to middle school and from middle school to high school. This effort will ultimately lay the foundation for improving math learning for girls and expand their participation in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education and careers. The project will address two of the four core areas identified by the EHR Core Research program: STEM Learning and Broadening Participation in STEM.

The project is based on two key concepts: the importance of girls' math identity to their participation and persistence in STEM; and the importance of building a network of researchers and practitioners through the establishment of a Networked Improvement Community (NIC) to increase understanding and knowledge about girls' math identity. Math identity is an important element within the larger context of academic identity and achievement. Students who value the power of their minds--their academic identity--also take pride in belonging to their learning community; are comfortable speaking up and actively engaging in the learning that takes place in that community; and contribute to the building of a learning community through their engagement as learners and teachers of each other (Snipes, Fancsali & Stoker, 2012). The existing literature on the development of girls' math identity also states the importance of the classroom as a community of learners and the need to create learning environments that foster self-efficacy and agency which is supported by mastery of the subject matter (Boaler, 2002; Bevan, 2011; Boaler, William & Zevenbergen, 2000).

This project will bring interdisciplinary researchers and practitioners together to define common research goals and priorities around girls' math identity by establishing a Network Improvement Community (NIC) and holding a hybrid on-line and in-person conference of researchers and practitioners. The NIC will take a problem-centered approach, bringing necessary expertise, commitment, and a social arrangement to the task of improving STEM learning and broadening girls' participation in STEM education and careers. Graduate students and emerging researchers will participate in the conference and become part of the NIC and potential collaborators on future work. Although the primary focus of the project is research, participating practitioners will ensure that research in this area has a direct link to the improvement of formal and informal practice. As a result of this work, the grantees and the newly established NIC will: build the knowledge base about girls' math identity; develop a new network of researchers and practitioners; form new collaborations to write articles, develop proposals and make presentations; and create an agenda to guide new research.