CREP Continues Its Nearly 15-Year Relationship with Smithsonian

MEMPHIS, Tenn. - In 2019, the Smithsonian Science Education Center (SSEC) was awarded a five-year, $4.5 million earlyphase Education Innovation and Research (EIR) grant from the U.S. Department of Education to support the development, implementation, and initial evaluation of evidence-based innovations to improve student achievement.

The project, titled “Smithsonian Science for the Classroom: Improving Student Achievement Across State Borders and State Standards,” conducted between October 2019 – September 2024, is impacting third, fourth, and fifth grade classrooms in 37 schools across seven districts in North and South Carolina. Smithsonian Science for the Classroom is a series of NGSS-aligned science and engineering modules, which leverage a 30+ year body of work to bring authentic science learning experiences to students with embedded Smithsonian resources and teacher supports.

CREP is evaluating the impact of Smithsonian Science for the Classroom modules and professional development on student achievement using standardized assessments, classroom observations, and teacher surveys and focus groups. The CREP team includes Dr. Todd Zoblotsky (PI), Dr. Carolyn Kaldon (Co-PI), and Mr. Robert McKinney. Participating schools were randomly assigned as either “experimental” or “comparison” schools. Experimental schools receive both an engineering and science module in grades 3-5 with two levels of accompanying professional development. Comparison schools will receive one module and one level of professional development in the final year of the project.

Ultimately, this project aims to improve teacher content knowledge and pedagogical skill, curricular support, and student achievement in science, reading, and math, making it easier for students, especially underserved students, to successfully pursue a career in STEM.