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 and the Center for P-16 Research and Collaboration.

The Study

The Social Self-Reflection Study is designed to improve social skills in children and adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). We teach students with ASD to self-reflect about their own behavior, in order to learn from it and make changes to their conversational and social skills. This is an innovative approach that has not been tried anywhere else to help people with ASD to learn a new set of skills.


We are recruiting participants who have a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or Asperger’s Syndrome, are between 10 and 17 years old, and have an average (or above average) IQ. We will be having conversations and playing games, so participants should have conversational language and be able to engage in those kinds of activities.

What’s involved

Participants will come to our Learning Lab in the School of Education at Indiana University Bloomington. We will have conversations, play games, and video tape many of our activities for review. Participation will include approximately 12 visits, each lasting about one hour.

Participation is free. Participants will be able to choose a small gift or gift card at the completion of each visit. If at any time you decide you don’t want to participate, that is okay and there is no penalty.

All of the information that we will collect from you during this study will be kept confidential and your name will not be associated with your data in research reports.

Research Team

The project is run by Assistant Professor of Special Education Sarah Hurwitz and Assistant Professor of Psychology and Brain Sciences Dan Kennedy.

For More Information

Email us at We are happy to answer any questions that you might have! Or click the link below, fill out the form, and we will contact you.

Participate in the study

Supported by a grant from the Lloyd G. Balfour Foundation, Bank of America, N.A., Trustee, the Balfour Scholars Program (BSP) is a program for high school juniors designed to help cultivate student academic and career development as well as minimize misperceptions about affordability, unfamiliarity with higher education, and difficulties with cultural adjustment that prevent students from successfully matriculating and graduating from college. The program is free of cost to all participants. The program is a primary focus of the Center for P-16 Research and Collaboration.     

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.

BioSim, a participatory simulation where young students (grades K-3) enact the roles of honeybees, army ants, and other agents within biological systems through the assistance of electronically-enhanced e-puppets. Using novel combinations of play, reflection, interaction, and exploration, this study capitalizes upon the alignment between participatory simulations and the play activities of young children, who are already apt to explore topics of interest to them through play-acting and games. We’re in the middle of implementations with honeybees right now, and gearing up for an exploration of army ants, using electronic push-toys. Funded by the National Science Foundation and implemented through the Center for Research on Learning and Technology. Led by Dr. Kylie Peppler through the Center for Research on Learning and Technology.

The Center for International Education, Development and Research (CIEDR), in partnership with the Office of International Development, is working to build a research culture with the Faculty of Education at the University of Prishtina in Kosovo.  Supported through World Learning with funding from the United States Agency for International Development, the Transformational Leadership Program is designed to spur transformational institutional and individual change in relation to research capacity, curriculum and pedagogy, and quality assurance.  CIEDR, in collaboration with the University of Prishtina, has created a scholarly learning community organized by research clusters to stimulate research studies, international publication, and teacher education reform in higher education in Kosovo.  CIEDR is also establishing IU School of Education mentors to work with Kosovo

While past research has explored the impact of the college experience on the development and success of college students, this study represents the first comprehensive, multi-campus study of the broader impact of living on campus on college students’ experience and success. The project is supported by a grant from the Association of College and University Housing Officers–International Foundation. The study will combine data from the National Survey of Student Achievement, the Association of College and University Housing Officers–International Campus Housing Index, and the National Student Clearinghouse to create a comprehensive picture of how students’ living arrangements, both on- and off-campus, influence their participation in effective educational practices and likelihood to persist in college. In the spring of 2018, the study collected data on the experiences of over 32,000 undergraduates attending 76 U.S. bachelor’s-degree-granting colleges. The aim of the study is to produce actionable recommendations that colleges and universities can use to improve the effectiveness of their residential facilities, programs, and staffs.  For additional information, please contact Dr. Robert Gonyea, project investigator.


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.



During the summer of 2015, the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) gave grants to six Indiana elementary schools to pilot dual language immersion (DLI) programs.  Since then the Indiana University School of Education, Center for P-16 Research and Collaboration has played an instrumental role in providing the resources and professional development necessary to assuring the success of these pilot programs and other DLI programs in the state.  Our director of Global Education Initiatives, Dr. Vesna Dimitrieska, has worked closely with the schools, making on-site visits, facilitating connections with other DLI programs across the country, and providing professional development here at Indiana University. Dr. Dimitrieska has conducted research with the educators in the DLI programs to examine the instructional practices during the early implementation of these programs. Dr. Dimitrieska has also worked with Dr. Martha Nyikos (LCLE) to secure two internal IU grants (Maris M. Proffitt and Mary Higgins Proffitt Endowment Grant and New Frontiers of Creativity and Scholarship). The Proffitt grant began during fall, 2016, and its aim was to hone in on effective DLI pedagogy and assessment strategies. The New Frontiers grant aimed to research the integration of foreign language learning with art education for K-6 students in the Bloomington area. Dr. Dimitrieska has also held a weeklong Summer DLI Institutes, at which DLI teachers have receive professional development around DLI pedagogy and DLI administrators have received training on program sustainability and growth.  For additional information, please contact the Center for P-16 Research and Collaboration.

Since 2014 the Indiana University Bloomington (IUB) School of Education, IUB Center for P-16 Research and Collaboration and IUB Kelley School of Business have partnered to provide an intensive, team-based professional leadership opportunity to support schools in need of improvement – The Effective Leaders Academy. The Academy draws from the best of business and educational leadership research and practices to create a strong, research-based, results-driven protocol for school improvement. The Effective Leaders Academy uses a two pronged approach to school improvement that develops both knowledge and relationships.  The first component is geared towards helping school teams better understand group dynamics, determine a problem they wish to address and create an action plan to implement.   The second relational component provides individualized, school-based support throughout the school year.  Two assigned “improvement coaches” (one from the Kelley School of Business and the other from School of Education) meet with school teams regularly and provide guidance and support in the implementation of strategies outlined in the action plan to support schools in achieving established goals.  Schools that participated in the first two cohorts achieved measurable improvement in teacher quality and student achievement in the years following participation and have maintained this impact. Currently a third cohort is working through this same process and looking forward to similar results.  Invitations are open to schools interested in joining the fourth cohort which will begin in the fall of 2016. Led by Dr. Dionne Cross Francis with Dr. Daisy Lovelace through the Center for P-16 Research and Collaboration.

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 (

Indiana Kids is a program launched from the IUPUI campus in collaboration with Serve Indiana and the seven Indiana University Campuses (IU, Bloomington, IUPUI, IU East, IU Kokomo, IU Northwest, IU South Bend, IU Southeast). The program provides tutoring, mentoring, college and career resources to students in grades six through twelve.  Services are offered free of charge.  College and career readiness workshops are sponsored by each campus for students and their families to attend.  Workshops feature various topics to support students’ goals.  Family engagement is also very important to student learning and success.  Family members are invited to participate in a variety of workshops, webinars, and informational sessions such as positive youth development or college and career planning.  Online tutoring is available through the 2018-19 school year on Sundays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 6:00 PM – 9:30 PM EST.  To participate in this program go to the following link: For additional information, please contact the Center for P-16 Research and Collaboration.

In collaboration between Indiana University’s School of Global and International Studies and the School of Education, Dr. Dimitrieska has worked on infusing global perspectives in K-16 education across Indiana. The grant from the  Longview Foundation allowed us to expand our initiatives by providing professional development on how to infuse global perspectives for pre-service teachers from the School of Education (Global Competence Workshop Series), internationalize the curricula of School of Education faculty (Faculty Internationalization Workshops), and internationalize schools for K-12 principals from different parts of Indiana (Principals Academy on Internationalizing Schools). The research conducted across these three projects has provided us with insight on how pre-service teachers become globally competent educators; how School of Education faculty internationalize their courses; and how principals and school administrators can engage in global projects in an efforts to internationalize their schools. As a Principal Investigator, Dr. Dimitrieska has brought in- and out-of-state experts to facilitate the professional development workshops and events across the three initiatives. Additionally, Dr. Dimitrieska has organized events that aimed to provide platform for the participants to share their experiences during the workshops as well as during the implementation of the various projects.  This project is led by Dr. Vesna Dimitrieska through the Center for P-16 Research and Collaboration.

With this project, the Center for P-16 Research and Collaboration aims to enhance the quality of mathematics instruction and increase mathematics student learning in grades K-6 in all participating schools in Owen and Monroe County. Through professional development, this project aims to increase students’ understanding of and achievement in mathematics; and improve teacher’s knowledge of mathematics, strengthen their pedagogical skills, their knowledge of uses of technology to support mathematics learning, and their dispositions to collaborate to reflect on their practice and improve their teaching. IME will support teachers as they implement student-centered instruction that engages students in mathematics learning using technology tools and the mathematical practices. Project staff will also collaborate with teachers to help them create and nurture professional learning communities that will sustain project efforts after the grant ends. IME is directed by Dr. Enrique Galindo and includes participants from Richland Bean Blossom and Spencer-Owen Community Schools.

Innovations in STEM Education is a project developed and administered through a partnership between the Center for P-16 Research and Collaboration and the Bloomfield School District. This initiative aims to successfully implement STEM learning opportunities aligned with the Indiana State Standards.  The goal of this project is to increase the number of teachers trained in collaborative, problem-based STEM curricula which will, in turn, increase the number of students participating in hands-on STEM projects and programs.

The Center for P-16 Research and Collaboration will provide comprehensive professional development and on-going support for all K-6 teachers in the following research-based STEM curricula: (1) Engineering is Elementary, (2) Family Engineering and (3) ScratchEd. Follow-up coaching and PLC support will ensure grant success and sustainability. To ensure sustainability and fidelity of implementation, teachers are being supported by monthly coaching and PLC site visits by faculty of the P-16 Center at IU.  For additional information, please contact the Center for P-16 Research and Collaboration.

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.

Natural Wonderers was a two-year project that ended July 2018.  With leadership from principal investigator, Gayle Buck, staff and faculty at the Center for P-16 Research and Collaboration to address the academic needs of middle schoolers, grades 4-9, in rural southern Indiana by enhancing the abilities of teachers to use educational technologies to foster scientific investigations, explanations and evidence-based argumentation in regard to Earth and life topics. This project was structured as professional development workshops during the school year and summer workshops in which university faculty in Earth and Life Sciences provide content support to 4th-9th grade science teachers’ teaching courses in their respective disciplinary areas. In addition, project personnel helped teachers develop strategies to implement technology-enhanced instruction, as well as assistance in developing project-based units that they implemented in their classrooms. Natural Wonderers’ participants include teachers from eight school districts across Daviess, Martin, and Greene Counties. If you would like more information, please contact the Center for P-16 Research and Collaboration or Dr. Gayle Buck.

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.

Science the “Write” Way is a project with a focus on improving teacher effectiveness, specifically in reading and writing on local scientific concerns (including the divisions of biology, chemistry, and earth sciences) by introducing and creating a core of teachers skilled in literacy-based scientific practices that is upheld by a sustainable network of support.  The project is grounded in the research literature that emphasizes literacy as the means to foster students’ scientific reasoning abilities. The objectives of this project are to: a) increase teachers’ understanding of literacy in science, particularly in terms of scientific explanations and argumentation; b) improve teachers’ skills in addressing the literacy-based science standards; c) improve students’ literacy proficiency in regards to scientific explanations and argumentation; and d) increase students’ sense of voice in science-related issues in their communities. This project is structured as professional development workshops during the school year and a week in the summer.  Teacher participants are provided with pedagogical content in science-related issues affecting their communities, as well as assistance in developing curricular units for classroom implementation. For additional information, please contact the Center for P-16 Research and Collaboration

An important aspect of science literacy is the ability to represent challenging concepts using drawings, pictures, graphs, or other representational forms. However, students find these representations challenging, and often interpret them rather superficially. At the same time, teachers don’t always recognize which representations will be the most productive for their current lessons. Furthermore, teachers may not know how to engage students in productive classroom conversations that make use of, critique, or refine representations. In short, there are two key inter-related dimensions to teachers’ knowledge of representations in science: 1) an understanding of representations and their value in learning concepts, and 2) the ability to support productive use of representations within classroom conversations, and facilitate discussions which help students see representations as part of their scientific practices.

To help address these inter-related dimensions of teacher knowledge, ISR aims to work with practicing teachers to identify their existing practices and challenges they face in incorporating representations in their science classrooms. We work with teachers to iteratively explore new ideas from the cognitive and learning sciences, introduce those ideas in their own classrooms, document their teaching practices, reflect upon their practices and those of their peers, and develop new practices. As we work collaboratively with teachers, we will document the processes through which teachers engage with new ideas about representations to better understand their cognition around how to work with representations, and how to engage with students in productive classroom interactions that leverage representations within science inquiry.  The goal of the research is to build on teachers’ existing expertise, while gaining a richer understanding of the problems they face so our account of their learning and cognition will be directly applicable to practice. If you would like updates on the research please contact Dr. Meredith Park Rogers or the Center for P-16 Research and Collaboration.

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