Partnerships for Equity, Access, and Representation in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM)

The overarching aim of this project is to address inequities in preparation for STEM careers among K-12 students, with an effort to identify how to optimize preparation among Black and Latinx students. This is a collaborative project with local community organizations and University of Illinois Engineering faculty as well as specialists in public engagement and STEM teaching and learning. We will establish and evaluate a STEM college and career preparation program for K-12 Black and Latinx students in the local community. This project is funded by the University of Illinois Call to Action to Address Racism and Social Injustice Research Program.

The Early Math Learning Project

The key goal of this project is to identify how to help parents support children’s math learning in the early years of school to set a motivational foundation that will sustain children as they face challenges in math in the later years of school. We are examining parenting practices that may be important to children’s math learning and how to optimize such practices. It is our hope that knowledge from this study may be used by school personnel to easily engage parents in children’s math learning in a constructive manner. This project is funded by the National Institute of Science.

The Parent-Teacher Conference Project

Teachers can provide information at parent-teacher conferences about how and what individual children are learning, which may be critical to parents being effectively involved in children’s learning. Despite substantial advice as to how teachers can optimally communicate with parents during parent-teacher conferences, such advice has little empirical basis. This project aims to quantitatively describe teachers’ communications to parents during parent-teacher conferences and the role such communications play in parents’ involvement in children’s learning. Funding for this work was provided by the Spencer Foundation.