Reiser Receives $2.5 Million McDonnell Foundation Grant

Reiser Receives $2.5 Million McDonnell Foundation Grant

Brian ReiserBrian Reiser

Northwestern University’s Brian Reiser has received a five-year, $2.5 million grant from the James S. McDonnell Foundation to study how to best support science teachers as they integrate new practices into the classroom.

Reiser, a professor of learning sciences at Northwestern’s School of Education and Social Policy, helped develop the Framework for K-12 Science Education, which guided the design of The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and other recent state benchmarks, now used in states that educate more than 60 percent of K-12 students in the U.S.

These new standards call for giving children a central role in their science and engineering education. The students, guided by the teachers, actively build, test, and revise science ideas using developing science and engineering skills to understand and solve real-world problems.

Many educators, however, need help to adapt their teaching to support this more ambitious role for students.

Reiser’s project is a collaboration with Cindy Passmore at the University of California at Davis and Bill Penuel of the University of Colorado Boulder.

The researchers will examine how educators learn, evolve, and change their teaching practice over a two-year period as they teach with instructional materials aligned to the new framework and the NGSS.

“We hope the research findings will fill an important gap in our present understanding of how advances in the science of learning can best be integrated into educational practices,” said McDonnell Foundation President Susan Fitzpatrick.

Reiser also is collaborating with several state initiatives to design and provide professional development for K-12 teachers to help them implement NGSS in their classrooms.

He will present the keynote speech at the 2018 National Science Education Leadership Association Leadership Summit on March 14 in Atlanta. His talk, “Developing, Analyzing and Teaching with NGSS Storylines” will explore the characteristics of coherent storylines for the Next Generation Science Standards and effective teacher-student partnerships through example videos and student work from elementary and middle school classrooms.

The James S McDonnell Foundation awarded $24.5 million overall for research looking at teachers as learners, as part of a new program within the ongoing 21st Century Science Initiative.


By Julie Deardorff
Last Modified: 2/9/18