The 21st Century Center for Research and Development in Cognition and Science Instruction


This project involves designing and implementing a randomized control trial to test the efficacy of using instructional materials and strategies in middle school science that are specifically informed by principles of cognitive science. This involves bringing together teams of cognitive scientists from three universities together with our science curriculum and development staff to write and teach supplementary materials for 3 units of both an inquiry-based and a traditional middle school curriculum dealing with the same topics and concepts. The project involves a randomized control trial with 180 middle schools, 90 of which use the traditional curriculum and 90 of which use the inquiry-based curriculum. All teachers, both control and treatment, receive professional development. Instruments to assess student learning are being developed to compare treatment and control students.

Funding Source:  Institute of Education Services, US Department of Education

Start Date: October 2008
Duration: 5 years + 1 year no-cost extension
Total Award: $9,995,000
Fiscal Agent: 21PSTEM
Principal Investigator: F. Joseph Merlino
Partners: University of Pennsylvania, Temple University, University of Pittsburgh, Research for Better School