Grants Help UB Professors Improve Early Learning in Math, Science, Literacy
For University at Buffalo Graduate School of Education professors Doug H. Clements and Julie Sarama, the list of federal grants that allow the husband-and-wife research team to continue their nationally distinguished work on teaching math to hard-to-reach pre-kindergarten children keeps growing. Clements and Sarama, whose work in the Buffalo and Boston Public Schools systems has attracted wide academic and popular acclaim, have earned three new federal grants over a four month span ending February 2011.
Most recently, they were awarded $1.9 million from the U.S. Department of Education's Institute of Education Studies (IES). The three-year award will fund Clements' and Sarama's ongoing work to help students learn what is known as STEM content, or Science, Technology, Education and Math, starting from the pre-kindergarten years and continuing throughout the elementary grades. The funding will allow them to follow the progress of about 1,000 students who were involved in their early childhood project called TRIAD (Technology-enhanced, Research-based, Instruction, Assessment, and professional Development).
The National Science Foundation (NSF) also awarded Sarama and Clements two grants to work in early learning. In the first, a $2.5 million grant will fund efforts by Sarama and Clements, along with colleagues (and mother-and-son team) Curtis Tatsuoka and Kikumi Tatsuoka, to create and test a new early mathematics assessment. This assessment will use innovative statistical and computer technology to give teachers more useful and detailed information about children's knowledge of mathematics in less time than existing assessments.
The second NSF grant is for $3 million to combine their work on the Building Blocks math curriculum with that of colleagues in other fields, called the Connect4Learning interdisciplinary curriculum. This curriculum will connect four basic domains of learning. In addition to mathematics, the grant includes experts in science (Kimberly Brenneman, Rutgers University), literacy/language (Nell Duke, Michigan State University) and social-emotional development (M. L. Hemmeter, Vanderbilt University).