Research Initiatives

Research Initiatives

The ASKTM project will investigate the structure of elementary teachers’ mathematical knowledge for teaching (MKT) as it is held by novice or experienced teachers, as it is learned in the context of teacher preparation and practice, and as it is used for instruction and to support student learning. The project team will develop a teacher knowledge assessment focused on fractions and decimals and subsequently examine the relationships between teacher knowledge, observed mathematics instruction, and student learning, through applications of recent advances in psychometric methods. The study aims to advance fundamental knowledge of the structure of MKT and thereby offer theoretical and pragmatic implications for the field of mathematics teacher education.  For additional information, please contact Dr. Erik Jacobson.

The Beginning College Survey of Student Engagement (BCSSE) is a national survey project that measures entering first-year students’ high school academic and co-curricular experiences as well as their expectations for participating in educationally purposeful activities during the first college year. Typically administered during orientation, BCSSE is a companion project to the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) and, thus, contributes to the broader discourse about student engagement and the quality of undergraduate education. BCSSE results, especially when examined alongside NSSE data collected the following spring, can inform initiatives to enhance the first-year experience with recognized effective educational practices. Participating institutions use BCSSE results in many ways such as academic advising, retention efforts, first-year program design and evaluation, accreditation self-studies, faculty and staff development, and recruitment. Since its inception in 2007, more than 800,000 new first-year students at 488 colleges and universities have completed BCSSE. The BCSSE website provides resources and tools used by institutional researchers, faculty, and others involved in assessing and promoting student engagement in higher education. BCSSE findings have been presented at many national and international conferences as well as in scholarly journals, book chapters, and other outlets. BCSSE is housed in the Center for Postsecondary Research.  For additional information, please contact Dr. James S. Cole, BCSSE project manager.

The CCIHE has been the leading framework for recognizing and describing institutional diversity in U.S. higher education for the past four and a half decades. On January 1, 2015, the Classifications moved from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching to IU’s Center for Postsecondary Research.  The 2015 update was released by year’s end, continuing the five year cycle established in 2000.  The system includes the well-known “basic classification” as well as five other classifications that distinguish institutions according to the types of degree programs and enrolled students.  The CCIHE web site provides a set of tools for benchmarking U.S. degree-granting postsecondary institutions that are used by institutional researchers, higher education researchers, and policy makers, nationally. Led by Dr. Vic Borden through the Center for Postsecondary Research.

The College Union Engagement Study, a partnership with the Association of College Unions International (ACUI) (, is designed to examine the outcomes associated with student engagement in a college union facility and to develop a framework of how the college union broadly contributes to student learning and success within a complex higher education environment. Specifically focusing on ACUI’s The Role of the College Union statement to guide this study will provide a foundation for understanding how the college union contributes to student success and learning. Understanding how a higher education institution’s mission aligns with The Role of the College Union will provide professionals with the evidence they need to enhance programs and services on college campuses and to think intentionally about building renovations.  For additional information, please contact Dr. Danielle DeSawal.



Special Education professor Hannah Schertz's autism research includes: "Supporting Early Interventionists of Toddlers with Autism to Build Family Capacity (SEITA)," a framework utilized to help early interventionists in promoting parent mediation of social communication in toddlers with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), "Joint Attention Mediated Learning for Toddlers with Autism (JAML)," an intervention practice for toddlers with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) that directly targets foundational preverbal social communication competencies from within the parent-child relationship at a critical juncture (by 30 months of age).

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Equity in Action develops culturally responsive practices to support the academic and behavioral needs of students with disabilities.

We prepare special education teachers to work with all students by using evidence-based practices, culturally responsive teaching, and trauma-informed care.

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The Faculty Survey of Student Engagement (FSSE) is a web-based survey administered nationally to faculty and instructors at baccalaureate degree-granting colleges and universities. The survey complements the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) and is designed to measure instructional staff expectations for student engagement in educational practices that are empirically linked with high levels of learning and development. Since 2003, more than 250,000 instructional staff from more than 800 institutions have participated in FSSE, which has provided data for critical discussions and research related to teaching, learning, and the quality of undergraduates’ educational experience. Institutions also use FSSE results for accreditation self-studies, assessment and improvement, curricular reform, professional development, institutional research, faculty and graduate student workshops and retreats, and the scholarship of teaching and learning. For additional information, please contact either Dr. Thomas Nelson Laird, PI or Allison BrckaLorenz, FSSE Project Manager (

(Investigating Differentiated Instruction and Relationships between Rational Number Knowledge and Algebraic Reasoning in Middle School)


The research goals of this project are to investigate how to differentiate mathematics instruction for middle school students with different ways of thinking, and to understand how students’ rational number knowledge and algebraic reasoning are related. In years 3-6 of the project we also investigated how classroom teachers learn to differentiate instruction.

The educational goals of this project are to enhance the abilities of prospective and practicing teachers to teach diverse students, to improve doctoral students’ understanding of relationships between students’ learning and teachers’ practice, and to form a community of mathematics teachers committed to on-going professional learning about how to effectively differentiate instruction.

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LSSSE surveys law students about their activities, experiences, and satisfaction in law school, and uses the data generated from its survey to help improve legal education. Participating law schools receive anonymized data as well as analytical reports that provide context and comparison to groups of law schools as well as national averages. Through consulting services, LSSSE helps law schools maximize the usefulness of their survey data and assessment activities. Academics and higher education scholars also utilize LSSSE data in diverse research on legal education. With more than 330,000 responses by law students since its inception in 2004, LSSSE comprises perhaps the largest database on legal education. LSSSE is housed at the Center for Postsecondary Research.    For additional information, please contact Meera Deo, Contributing Director or Chad Christensen, LSSSE project manager, at

The overarching aim of this initiative is to create and utilize tools to assist postsecondary institutions in their efforts to examine, understand, and improve their campus environments and to maximize success among diverse student populations. Moving beyond typical climate assessments, which tend to focus on challenges in the environment, the National Institute for Transformation and Equity focuses on the types of environments that engage and support college students from all backgrounds.  For additional information, please contact Dr. Lucy LePeau, NITE Associate Director.

The National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) is a combined research and service project that assesses the extent to which first-year and senior undergraduates are exposed to and participate in empirically supported effective educational practices. It is the largest survey on the quality of the undergraduate experience, with roughly 500–750 bachelor’s degree-granting colleges and universities participating and 1.5–2 million undergraduates invited to complete the online survey each year. Since its launch in 2000, more than 1,600 institutions in the US and Canada have participated, most of them on a periodic basis.

NSSE aims to shift the national discourse about quality in undergraduate education to focus on what matters to student learning, while providing participating colleges and universities with valid, reliable, diagnostic, and actionable evidence about the undergraduate experience. NSSE findings have been reported in dozens of scholarly articles as well as in The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA TODAY, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Inside Higher Ed, and other media outlets. NSSE has also been adapted for use in several other countries. Initially funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts, NSSE is now fully self-supported by institution participation fees.

NSSE is housed in the Center for Postsecondary Research.  For additional information, please contact Dr. Alexander C. McCormick, NSSE Director.

Over the past several years, the Project on Academic Success (PAS) has collaborated with the National Student Clearinghouse (NSC) to perform analyses using NSC data and to prepare manuscripts for the Signature Report series. To assist with the data analysis, PAS receives additional NSC funds for the NSC Fellows Program, providing tuition and stipends for two graduate assistants. For additional information, please contact Dr. Phoebe Wakhungu, PAS project manager.