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The 21st Century Center For Research And Development In Cognition And Science Instruction (CogSci Center)

October 2008

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.

Principal Investigator: F. Joseph Merlino


University of Pennsylvania

Temple University

University of Pittsburgh

Research for Better School

Funding Source:  Institute of Education Statistics (US Department of Education)

  • Start Date: October 2008

  • Duration: 5 years + 1 year no-cost extension

  • Total Award: $9,995,000

  • Fiscal Agent: 21PSTEM

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