Funded By: National Science Foundation
African American and Latinx youth are often socialized towards athletic activity and sports participation, sometimes at the expense of their exploration of the range of potential career paths including those in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. This project will immerse middle school youth in the rapidly growing world of sports data analytics and build their knowledge of statistics concepts and the data science process. The project will focus on the STEM interests and knowledge development of African American and Latinx youth, an underrepresented and underserved group in STEM. Researchers will explore the ways youths' social identities can and should serve as bridges towards future productive academic and professional identities including those associated with STEM learning and the STEM professions. The outcomes of the project will advance knowledge in promoting elements of informal learning experiences that build adolescents' motivation and persistence for productive participation in STEM courses and careers. This project is funded by the Advancing Informal STEM Learning program (AISL), which seeks to advance new approaches to and evidence-based understanding of the design and development of STEM learning opportunities for the public in informal environments, and the Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers program (ITEST), which funds projects that leverage innovative uses of technologies to prepare diverse youth for the STEM workforce, with a focus on broadening participation among underrepresented and underserved groups in STEM fields.
Over a three-year period, 250 middle school learners in the West Baltimore, Maryland and Hyattsville, Maryland areas will engage in three main learning activities: Summer Camp (three weeks), Sports Day Saturdays, and a Spring Summit. Through a partnership between the University of Maryland and Coppin State University, the project will utilize resources in multiple departments and units across both universities, and engage with youth sports leagues such as the American Athletic Union (AAU) to support participants' engagement in the data science process including collection of raw data, exploration of data, development of models, visualization, communication, and reporting of data, and data-driven decision making. Furthermore, youth participants will attend local AAU, college, and professional sporting events, and interact with members of coaching staffs to better understand the ways performance data technologies are utilized to inform recruitment and team performance. The mixed-methods research agenda for this project is guided by three main questions: (1) What elements of the project's model are most successful at supporting congruence of adolescents' academic identity, including STEM identity and social identity including athletic identity? (2) What elements support adolescents' motivation, and persistence for productive participation in current and future STEM courses? (3) To what extent did the project appear to influence participants' perceptions of their future professions? At multiple points throughout the experience, participants will complete surveys designed to document and assess statistics and data science knowledge; interest in STEM careers; academic, social and athletic identity development; and STEM course taking patterns. Researchers will also observe project activities, interview a focal group of participants, and survey participants' parents to identify elements of learning experiences that encourage and support adolescents' interest in STEM disciplines and STEM professions. The project team will develop conceptual and pedagogical frameworks that support middle school youth' engagement and interest in science, engineering, technology, and mathematics through repurposing spaces where these youths frequent. A major outcome of the project will be workforce preparation and offers a promising approach for encouraging youth to persist along STEM pathways, which may ultimately result in broadened participation in STEM workforces.
Empowering Black and Brown Marginalized Students:
A Participatory Action Research Project
MIMAUE faculty will train and conduct research with Black and Brown students from a local high school to study issues that are important to them through Participatory action research (PAR). PAR is an approach to empirical social science research in which members of the group directly impacted by a social problem are involved in all stages of investigation into that problem. Typically, in PAR, academic researchers (e.g., university researchers) collaborate with local people (e.g., students or community members), as co-researchers, to conduct research on a problem (e.g., disproportionate behavior referrals; dropping out of high school; domestic violence; poverty) of concern to the local people. Through this research project, Dr. Tara Brown will lead a team of researchers, including local high school students in fundamental research activities, including issue identification, theoretical training, identification of research questions and data needs, research methods training and data collection; data analysis; and dissemination of research findings.
Helping Mathematics Teacher Become Culturally Relevant Educators: New Tools for a New Generation-Conference II
Funded By: National Science Foundation
The Maryland Institute for Minority Achievement and Urban Education at the University of Maryland is hosting a conference for teachers and school administrators on Culturally Relevant Teaching (CRT). Teams of teachers and administrators are recruited from across the country. The conference brings together experts in culturally relevant teaching pedagogy with practitioners around the theme of promoting high achievement in mathematics among minority children and of children in urban settings.
The conference plan is based on the most rigorous research on CRT and on the findings of a prior conference. A substantial amount of time is provided during the conference for teachers to develop or modify lessons under the guidance of knowledgeable experts.
The conference will accommodate approximately 100 participants. Following the conference participants will have the opportunity to work with members of the Maryland institute to develop strategies for improving achievement of minority students. Additionally, participants will be invited to participate in ongoing seminars and workshops held regularly at the University of Maryland.
Helping Teachers become Cultural Relevant Teachers: Developing New Tools for a New Generation
Funded By: National Science Foundation
The twelve-month project of the Maryland Institute for Minority Achievement and Urban Education (MIMAUE) involves the holding of a national conference for at least 100 teachers and administrators who work in classrooms with large African American and Hispanic student populations. The conference theme is "Helping Teachers become Cultural Relevant Teachers: Developing New Tools for a New Generation." The conference brings together top national researchers and practitioners around a theme of importance in order to promote high achievement among urban and minority students. A specific outcome in relation to the workshop sessions involves having facilitators bring some of their work in their own classrooms to be used as a stimulus for the new work that teachers and administrators will analyze in some of the conference sessions. After the conference, a sample of the local teachers will be observed after three month, six months, and nine months in order to assess the extent to which the ideas from the workshop have influenced their teaching. Conference participants will also send a mail survey at the six-month point to determine the impact of the conference on classroom planning and teaching.