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.

Ninth-grade biology students create cell models using clay.

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Teaching Struggling Fifth Graders Fractions Concepts, Procedures, and Problem-Solving: A Rigorous Efficacy Trial of a Fractions Intervention.

Effective Years: 2015-2019

Learning of fractions is a significant barrier for many in further study of mathematics and thus other science, technology, and engineering disciplines. Many students identified as struggling learners of mathematics are provided with interventions that focus on simplifying the complexity and breaking up the task into small discrete pieces, which is counter to the recommendations on supporting students in learning mathematics from the mathematics education community. The rigorous, large-scale study will explore potential benefits of a recently published instructional intervention, TransMath, to improve conceptual understanding and procedural proficiency with fractions for at-risk, fifth graders. The study will promote knowledge about a critical issue, learning of fractions by at-risk 5th graders through an intervention that combines explicit instruction common to special education (SPED) and problem solving and reasoning in small groups common to mathematics education (MTED). The research has the potential to make an important contribution to ways in which knowledge gained from previous studies in SPED and MTED may lead to improved instruction and student outcomes for a highly vulnerable population. Any successful initial efficacy studies about a Response to Intervention Tier 2 intervention in mathematics has the potential advance knowledge and have a long-lasting and meaningful contribution to the study of interventions and in the area of translation to practice. The ECR program emphasizes fundamental STEM education research that generates foundational knowledge in the field. Investments are made in critical areas that are essential, broad and enduring: STEM learning and STEM learning environments, broadening participation in STEM, and STEM workforce development.

The study design will randomly assign 200 students identified in need of Tier 2 instruction to intervention and business as usual control groups. Teachers trained by the team to provide the TransMath instruction will teach students in the intervention group. The study will document the fidelity of implementation of the intervention, as well as the control condition for both Tier 1 and Tier 2 instruction. Using a regression modeling approach, the analysis accounts for partial nesting of students within small intervention groups to examine changes in student learning.