Grants Awarded to Campus Education Programs

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More than $6 million in grants will go toward campus efforts to reinvent how middle school students learn math, science and reading.

The UC Berkeley Graduate School of Education received a $3.6 million grant-to be allocated over the course of the next two years-to develop math assessment tests. New methods for teaching science and literacy will be aided by a $3 million gift, in three annual installments, to the Lawrence Hall of Science.

Both programs were selected to receive the money for their potential to enhance college preparedness, according to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which awarded both of the grants.

"We have a good track record at the elementary level," said P. David Pearson, dean of the Graduate School of Education. "We've already proven that kids learn a lot more science and reading and writing with our approaches rather than conventional methods."

Grant money for the hall-a public center for K-12 math and science education-will be put toward extending a program currently oriented toward elementary school students to include middle school students, according to Jacqueline Barber, director of the curriculum center for the Lawrence Hall of Science.

The "Seeds of Science/Roots of Reading" program was developed by Barber and Pearson in 2003. The curriculum integrates science learning with literacy skills in order to improve reading skills overall, according to Barber.

Funding will go toward expanding the program to include earth, life and physical science and an online teacher's tool to track student progress, she said.

The school of education meanwhile will work on new assessment tests that will make learning math more personalized, said Alan Schoenfeld, a professor of education and principal investigator for the Diversity in Mathematics Education Center, in an e-mail.

The ongoing effort is studying how effective coaching methods can be implemented in the classroom and used to assess individual students' needs, he said in an e-mail.

Teachers can use the personalized assessment methods to identify where students are having the most trouble, allowing them to be more effective coaches, Schoenfeld said in an e-mail.

"The most effective mathematics teaching, like the best coaching in sports or music, provides students with frequent and meaningful feedback," he said in an e-mail. "The 'College Ready Mathematics Assessments' project is developing lessons that will help teachers do this kind of 'diagnostic teaching.'"


Contact Bryn Jura at [email protected]

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