Corrected: The status of the NSF’s Centers for Learning and Teaching program was mischaracterized. The foundation expects to make new grants under the program in fiscal 2003. The story also incorrectly identified the headquarters of the Center for Proficiency in Teaching Mathematics. The center is based at the University of Georgia in Athens.
The National Science Foundation has announced three grants that complete its $100 million precollegiate initiative to improve the quality of math and science teachers and the instruction they provide.
In the final round of grants given under the NSF’s Centers for Learning and Teaching program, the independent federal agency said last week that the final three projects would start the development of a new science curriculum, test methods of teaching science with experiments and exploration, and improve the caliber of professional development for math teachers.
Over the past two years, the foundation has made grants to seven other centers—most of them to universities working with school districts—to address similar pressing issues in mathematics and science education. The 10 projects will each receive about $10 million over five years. (“NSF Launches $100 Million Science,” Oct. 24, 2001.)
“The Centers for Learning and Teaching are our test sites for innovative approaches,” said Judith A. Ramaley, the NSF’s assistant director for education and human resources.
A $9.9 million grant given to the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s Center for Curriculum Materials in Science will help the Washington-based group work with Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., Michigan State University in Lansing, and the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor to improve the qualifications of K-12 science teachers. The center and those universities will work with districts in Chicago, Detroit, and Lansing, Mich., to show teachers how to evaluate and revise textbooks to meet their classroom needs.
Meanwhile, researchers at the Center for Proficiency in Teaching Mathematics, based at the University of Michigan, were awarded a grant to work with researchers at the University of Georgia, in Athens, to identify the mathematical knowledge teachers need to succeed, and then to design professional-development and teacher-preparation programs that help them master that content.
To help teachers design projects in which students discover scientific principles through experiments, the St. Louis Center for Inquiry in Science Teaching and Learning at Washington University was awarded a grant to lead an effort to find individual teachers’ weaknesses in using that approach and offer solutions to them.