Two new MCPER projects have been awarded a combined $12 million in funding through the federal Education Innovation and Research (EIR) grant program to develop and evaluate evidence-based interventions to improve outcomes for historically underserved learners.
Project MITOS (Transforming the Learning of Science for Second-Grade Latinx Students Through Meaningful Interactions Using Technology Outside of School) received $8 million through the EIR program. Principal Investigator Doris Luft Baker will lead the 5-year project, which will take place across 60 schools with 240 teachers and 6,000 second-grade students. School districts in Texas whose second-graders are at least 15% English learners will be eligible to participate.
Project MITOS will develop an app that uses gamifying activities to help students, with family engagement, learn and develop language and content proficiency in science. A teacher dashboard with student scores will allow teachers to tailor their instruction to specific students’ language needs and understanding of the content. Supplemental lessons for nonresponders and training for teachers and parents on how to use MITOS at school and home will be provided. Finally, the project will conduct a rigorous evaluation of the MITOS app and disseminate findings to practitioners, parents, school administrators, and researchers.
Letti Grimaldo from MCPER will serve as a co-principal investigator on the project, along with researchers from the Department of Computer Science at UT Austin, Southern Methodist University, and American Institutes for Research.
Preparing High-Need Students for Success in Early Science Instruction
Preparing High-Need Students for Success in Early Science Instruction, a 5-year Early Phase project led by Principal Investigator Christian T. Doabler, received $4 million through the EIR program. The new project will develop a core science program called Scientific Scouts for use in kindergarten classrooms. Scientific Scouts will include whole-class lessons with science vocabulary routines; shared book reading activities; and engaging hands-on investigations focused on core ideas, crosscutting concepts, and science practices in the physical, life, and Earth sciences. Approximately 1,200 high-need kindergarten students from 60 classrooms in central Arkansas are expected to participate.
Initial years of the project will focus on iteratively developing and testing features of Scientific Scouts in kindergarten classrooms. The project’s final year will include a pilot study of the program’s impact on the science outcomes of high-need kindergarten students relative to business-as-usual kindergarten science instruction.
MCPER’s Letty Martinez and Jenna Gersib will serve as co-principal investigators. Also participating are researchers from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, University of Virginia, and WestEd.
The two new projects are among 45 EIR grantees nationwide, for a total of $277 million. For more information on the EIR program, read the press release from the U.S. Department of Education.