P Karen Murphy Onsite Research Photo






SPONSOR:  Brady Education Foundation
PROJECT:  Police Curriculum in Early Childhood Classrooms in the Era of Black Lives Matter

Allison Sterling Henward is leading a team of early childhood researchers from three universities (Penn State, New York University and University of Georgia)  to investigate how educators of preschool children around the country teach about police (as well other community helpers) in various social locations. Our goal is to develop research based understandings and also to develop professional development materials to aid educators as they confront this challenging issues in US preschools.  ($50,000)



SPONSOR:  National Institute on Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research
PROJECT:  Evaluating the Effectiveness of the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) Scholarship Program

The goal of this three-year project is to: (a) examine reasons why the high number of rehabilitation counselors are leaving the state/federal vocational rehabilitation program to seek other employment opportunities and (b) identify strategies to increase long-term employment retention of the personnel who received graduate training funding through the RSA Scholarship Program. Maintaining a qualified workforce of rehabilitation counselors trained at the master’s level is critical to improving outcomes for persons who receive vocational rehabilitation services. ($599,156)


JERUSHA CONNER (Villanova University)
SAMANTHA HOLQUEST (Search Institute)

SPONSOR:  Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
PROJECT:  Elevating Student Voice as an Equity Promotion and Improvement Strategy

The 2-year project will develop student self-report measures that capture student voice practices in classrooms and schools. These measures will be designed for use in building empirical evidence that illustrates the value of student voice practices in moving the needle on critical student outcomes, and in creating more equitable learning environments for students. ($884,077)



SPONSOR:  Pennsylvania Department of Education
PROJECT: Professional Personnel Development Center

This grant supports the Professional Personnel Development Center activity including university credit-generating teacher and administrator preparation, online resources, and in-service programs for career and technical educators. Through the PPDC’s courses, participants may earn state teacher or administrator certification and become eligible to teach or lead technical career programs in career and technical schools in Pennsylvania. The Center supports 17 full-time faculty and staff members plus adjunct faculty in the College of Education and College of Agricultural Sciences. ($1,285,925)


STACY KLEIN-GARDNER (Co-PI, Vanderbilt University)

SPONSOR:  MathWorks
PROJECT:  Integrated engineering, science, and computational thinking curriculum for middle school

This 4-year grant will support instructional materials creation and research. ($4.4 million)


SPONSOR:  University of Texas at Arlington (National Science Foundation)
PROJECT:  Building the Epistemology of Engineering for Students with Extensive Support Needs (BEES)

This three-year design and development project will address engineering focused behaviors and mindsets of students with extensive support needs (ESN) in grades 3-5 who are underserved by current practices and often not responsive to typical science instruction. It will work closely with teachers and students to develop a framework to support teacher instruction of engineering-focused behaviors and mindsets for students with ESN. It will then use this framework to design, assess, and disseminate universally designed instructional materials for engineering education that extend Youth Engineering Solutions (YES) curricula for students with ESN. ($76,516)


JIE CHAO and BILL FINZER (Concord Consortium)
BEN GALLUZZO (Clarkson University)

SPONSOR:  National Science Foundation (DRK-12)
PROJECT:  Leveraging Dynamically Linked Representations in a Semi-Structured Workspace to Cultivate Mathematical Modeling Competencies Among Secondary Students (M2Studio)

This three-year project will develop, deploy, and study a web-based, integrated mathematical modeling environment, curriculum materials, and effective and equitable classroom teaching practices in mathematical modeling. ($2,993,530)


TAYLOR SCOTT (Co-PI, Health & Human Development)
MAX CROWLEY (Co-PI, Health & Human Development)

SPONSOR:  Silicon Valley Community Foundation
PROJECT:  Building Capacity for Education Researchers’ Policy Engagement

This one-year project builds on support provided by the Research-to-Policy Collaborative to identify key education issues with input from school leaders, create policy briefs for school leader use, and create and maintain a repository of all fact sheets for open access on a website. The website would house briefs, fact sheets, updates on policy that would be helpful to K-12 school leaders. ($250,000)



SPONSOR:  Rutgers- The State University of New Jersey (National Science Foundation)
PROJECT:  Implementation and Evaluation of the ARIS Broader Impacts Tool Kit

Matt Johnson and Kathy Hill from the Center for Science and the Schools are collaborating with a group from Rutgers University, University of Missouri, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and University of Texas-Dallas to pilot test a suite of tools developed by the Center for Advancing Research Impact on Society (ARIS). The goal of this one-year project is to build capacity for institutions and individuals to do high-quality Broader Impact (BI) work by releasing the ARIS Toolkit for effective development and evaluation of BI statements in grant proposals. ($24,997)



SPONSOR:  Jobs for the Future (JFF) and Ascendium
PROJECT:  Penn State, Ready for Pell Initiative

This two-year project will develop a collaboration with the Community College of Philadelphia (CCP) and Bloomsburg University to offer for-credit courses on existing sites in preparation for the restoration of Pell for prison education programs. Using this collaborative model, the Restorative Justice Initiative (RJI) will work to increase access and provide programmatic support to a Rehabilitative Justice certificate and develop a continuity model with CCP to provide for-credit, associate courses for facilities partnered with Penn State’s Restorative Justice Initiative. The project will also work with admissions and student aid offices to ensure recruitment of students completing their associate’s degree through RJI placements and other Second Chance Pell schools in Pennsylvania. ($120,000)



SPONSOR: Center for Rural Pennsylvania
PROJECT:  Pandemic-Associated Cyber Charter Enrollments and the Impacts on Rural School Districts in Pennsylvania

This one-year project will use statewide fiscal, demographic, and academic data to produce updated information on the impacts of cyber charters on rural school districts in Pennsylvania. Researchers will also collect interview and survey data to better understand why families are opting into cyber charters, how the pandemic has impacted cyber charter operations, and how rural school superintendents and cyber directors are understanding and reacting to changing enrollment patterns and fiscal challenges. ($49,998)



SPONSOR: Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
PROJECT:  Test-Optional Admissions Policy Equity Outcomes

With more colleges and universities electing to implement test-optional policies and practices in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, this two-year study will draw on detailed information regarding institutions' test-optional policies to examine their relationship with the number of applications colleges receive, the percent of students who are accepted, the yield rate, and enrollment by race and economic status. ($1,424,752)



SPONSOR: Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
PROJECT:  Cutting Ties: How Three School Systems Respond to the Termination of Contracts for School Police

The video of a Minneapolis police officer suffocating George Floyd while three colleagues stood by demonstrates how police tactics further Black killability. In education, police have maintained a longstanding presence in public schools, however, recent policy decisions have called for the termination of their contracts, along with the removal of school resource officers. This three-year research study examines how cutting ties with local police departments in the wake of national uprisings might reduce racial inequality and lead to better alternative approaches for poor and low-income Black and Latinx students in three urban school systems. ($50,000)



SPONSOR: International Society of the Learning Sciences (Wallace Foundation)
PROJECT:  Learning Environment Design and Learning in Social Justice Literacy Workshop

This two-year design-based research study of Social Justice Literacy Workshop (SJLW) will examine the extent to which learning environment design assists literacy development and contextualized social justice learning and action among adolescent students of Color labeled as "struggling" readers and writers in schools. This project will interrogate teacher and student learning through their co-design and redesign of the SJLW learning environment. ($10,000)


MATTHEW POEHNER (Key International Collaborator)
ARI HUHTA, University of Jyväskylä, Finland  (PI)

SPONSOR: Academy of Finland
PROJECT:  Dynamic Diagnostic Language Assessment: Conceptual and Practical Innovation in Foreign Language Education and Assessment

The four-year project draws on two recent assessment innovations in language education, dynamic assessment and diagnostic language assessment, to develop a new framework for identifying abilities and needs among learners of English as a second language. The resultant framework will be implemented as both a computerized language test and a procedure for ongoing classroom-based assessment with students in Finnish secondary schools as they prepare for the National Matriculation Exam required for entrance to university.  (€500,000)