Improving Teaching and Learning
The Discovery Center was founded on two principles that continue to fuel our passion for our work. We seek to improve teaching and learning with specific attention to teaching and learning in STEM disciplines (science, mathematics, engineering, technology and computing education). Simultaneously, we seek to improve access, opportunity, and outcomes for all learners.
We contribute to improvement of STEM teaching and learning by conducting research, assessment, and evaluation of STEM and STEM-related education initiatives in Ohio and across the US, and by developing and delivering sustained, high-quality teacher learning experiences for Ohio teachers. While each of our project partnerships is unique, our commitment to collaboration and application of extensive skill, knowledge, and experience maintains our focus on big-picture challenges and opportunities for improvement of STEM learning across contexts.
Areas of Focus
Teacher Preparation, Induction, and Development
- Evaluation of the Ohio Resident Educator Program (ODE)
Focus Area: Teacher Preparation, Induction, and Development
Project Description: The Ohio Resident Educator Program (REP) is a multi-year teacher-induction program designed to improve teacher retention, enhance teacher quality and effectiveness, and result in improved student achievement in Ohio. The Discovery Center’s state-wide, external evaluation involves high-level analyses of program implementation at the State, local, and individual (Resident Educator and RE Mentor) levels, and includes four primary evaluation foci: (a) implementation fidelity and compliance, (b) implementation quality and effectiveness, (c) implementation influence and impact, and (d) implementation scale-up and sustainability. Since 2011, the Discovery Center, along with researchers from University of Cincinnati and Ohio University, has led a state-wide evaluation of Ohio’s RE Program. Using findings from a concurrent nested, mixed-methods evaluation design, the Center has provided the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) with formative feedback to improve program implementation and effectively scale the program for 30,000+ Ohio teachers.
Product/Publication: Presentation on Evaluation Findings, June 2016 (see Resources Library)
Mathematics Professional Development
- “A New Goal for K-2 Classrooms Ohio’s New Learning Standards,” Washington Court House City Schools
- “Extending CCSSM Classroom Practices and Content Teaching in the K-2 Classroom,” Washington Court House City Schools
Science Professional Development
- Evaluation of
iDiscovery: Professional Development Through Web-Based Learning Communities (ODHE/ITQ)
Inquiry and Nature Science
- Evaluation of Targeted MSP: The University of Buffalo/Buffalo Public Schools Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Partnership (NSF/MSP), 2011-2016
Focus Area: Inquiry and Nature of Science
Project Description: The University at Buffalo’s ISEP MSP project utilizes an innovative approach to teacher professional development, including courses and interdisciplinary research experiences, development of science and technology classroom materials aligned with state science learning standards, and inquiry-based curricula to transform how science is taught in the Buffalo Public Schools. The ISEP project focuses on impacting students’ experiences in science and engineering, particularly as they transition from middle school to high school. The Discovery Center’s overarching evaluation efforts focus on assessing progress toward project goals, but also on providing feedback and insights that stimulate dialogue about sustainable science learning among Buffalo’s high-needs schools, local universities, informal science teaching/learning organizations, corporate partners, and the local community.
Product/Publication: Paper on Instrument Development and Data Visualization Regarding Scientific Inquiry and Nature of Science
(see Resources Library)
- Evaluation of Ohio Mathematics & Science Partnership Cross-Project Evaluation (ODE/MSP)