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School of Education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison

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It’s Time to Document Teaching Styles More Carefully

College-level teaching is more complex and nuanced than ever, and simple descriptors such as “lecturing” or “interactive” don’t tell us much.

Reducing how an instructor teaches Biology 101 to a variable such as “lecturing” masks other important dimensions of her teaching. What kind of questions does she ask students? How often? How are students socially and cognitively engaged in the classroom? How is technology used?

Those who evaluate classroom teaching can record their observations using a number of tools, but most are limited: They rely on open-ended response items that preclude reliability tests or comparison across individuals; they focus only on the use of teaching methods; they ignore temporary fluctuations in teaching practices throughout a class period; or they equate instructional quality with one teaching method. Read more.

Measuring Coherence in Teacher Knowledge

To measure the coherence of teacher knowledge, researchers asked math teachers to react to a mathematical task. As teachers addressed the problem, patterns of connections among concepts became apparent. To visualize these patterns, the research team created conceptual “network maps” for each teacher. The stronger teachers invoked high numbers of concepts and demonstrated a clear pattern of connections among key concepts. The remaining teachers used fewer concepts or had fewer strong connections.

What does it mean for teachers to have coherent understanding of their subject?

Coherence is considered an important aspect of knowledge. Incoherent understanding of a subject reproduces disconnected facts. By contrast, coherent knowledge allows one to bring to a subject richly connected ideas, to zoom to the heart of a complex subject, and to offer strategic solutions. Yet coherence has seldom been defined or measured, even in the context of teaching and learning. Read more.





Charleston to Lead CIRTL Webinar on African Americans in Computing Science
Sept. 9, 2014, at 12 Eastern/11 Central time
Read more.


Beth Graue talks about transitioning from summer to a new school year (WISC-TV, 27 August)

Madeline Hafner discusses ways that MSAN schools work to eliminate racial opportunity gaps (Hanover Research)

WIDA's Gary Cook explains that Common Core Standards do not pose a threat to homeschoolers, despite what some claim  (ThinkProgress, 26 August)

WCER celebrating 50 years of informing teaching and learning (School of Education Learning Connections)



Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching, and LearningCenter for the Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning

Center on Education and Work

Children, Families & SchoolsChildren, Families & Schools

CRPBISCulturally Responsive Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports

Consortium for Policy Research in EducationConsortium for Policy Research in Education


CALLComprehensive Assessment of Leadership for Learning

CCHERCulture, Cognition, and Evaluation of STEM Higher Education Reform

Epistemic GamesEpistemic
Games Group

Exploring the alignment between workforce and education

Formative Language Assessment Records for ELLs in Secondary Schools

Interdisciplinary ITPTraining Program in the Education Sciences

Investing in Family Engagement

LSFFLongitudinal Study of Future STEM Scholars

Mobilizing STEM for a Sustainable FutureMobilizing STEM for a Sustainable Future

Minority Student Achievement NetworkMinority Student
Achievement Network


Strategic Management of Human CapitalStrategic Management of Human Capital

Surveys of Enacted CurriculumSurveys of Enacted Curriculum

System-wide Change for All Learners and EducatorsSystem-wide Change for All Learners and Educators

Talking About Leaving, Revisited

TDOP: Teaching Dimensions Observation Protocol

TransanaTracking the Processes of Data Driven Decision-Making in Higher Education


Value-Added Research CenterValue-Added Research Center

WIDA ConsortiumWIDA Consortium

WeilabWisconsin's Equity and Inclusion Laboratory


What Factors Make College Affordable for Low-Income Students?

Many students from low-income families leave college before completing a degree, sometimes attributing their departure to college “unaffordability.” What does this mean to them? With college costs continuing to rise, and the income gap between students who finish college and those who do not increasing, answering the question of college affordability is more important than ever. Read more.

The Network Seeks to Transform Public Education

The Wisconsin Collaborative Education Research Network brings together education researchers, practitioners, and policy makers to advance and facilitate innovation in education.

Funded by Wisconsin’s Department of Public Instruction, the UW–Madison School of Education, and WCER, the Network creates collaborative, interdisciplinary opportunities to share knowledge and turn research into effective practices that improve education both inside and outside of schools. Read more.