University Researchers Partner on Education Grant Project

Jan. 6, 2012

AUSTIN, Texas — A research team in the School of Undergraduate Studies (UGS) at The University of Texas at Austin has received a $150,000 Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) grant to develop a set of online training modules for Texas educators.

Led by Assistant Dean Cassandre Alvarado, the team intends to create an interactive resource that educators can use to enhance their understanding and use of data in both classroom and administrative environments. The team will partner with another research and development team from The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) to create a comprehensive final product.

The project is one in a series of efforts by the Coordinating Board to create a "Culture of Evidence" in Texas schools and universities by providing educators with virtual pedagogical tools.

"We are extremely excited to partner with UTEP and the Coordinating Board for this groundbreaking online endeavor," Alvarado said. "It is our hope that it lays the foundation for a future in which Texas educators feel more comfortable using and interpreting data in their day-to-day roles as teachers, administrators and researchers."

"The online tutorials being developed by The University of Texas at Austin will assist all educators — especially those of us who are not statistics savvy — in better engaging in and using data to inform our work in the classroom and in the policy arena," said Kristen Kramer, THECB's director of success initiatives.

Although professional development efforts in Texas have traditionally involved face-to-face interaction at conferences and seminars, the online modules will have the potential to play an equally crucial, cost-effective role in keeping educators at the cutting edge of their fields.

"We want Texas teachers to be the most well informed, creative, prepared educators in the country," Alvarado said.

Alvarado's research team for the grant includes Julie Schell of the university's Center for Teaching and Learning and a postdoctoral fellow in Harvard University's Mazur Group; Leslie Kavanaugh, UGS assessment coordinator; Scott Brownlee, UGS program coordinator; and Kye-Hyoung Lee, Higher Education Administration doctoral student.

For more information, contact: Leslie Kavanaugh, UGS assessment coordinator, 512-471-8990.