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Research Experiences For Teachers: Linking Research to Teacher Practice and Student Achievement

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

NSF Grantees’ Poster Session

Tagged Division

Division Experimentation & Lab-Oriented Studies

Tagged Topic

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.1042.1 - 24.1042.11



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Paper Authors


Gisele Ragusa University of Southern California

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Dr. Gisele Ragusa is an associate professor at the University of Southern California (USC) in the Viterbi School of Engineering in the Division of Engineering Education. She co-directs USC’s STEM Education Consortium. Her research interests and areas of expertise include: engineering education, engineering innovation and global preparedness, college access, STEM K-12 education and teacher education, STEM literacy education, as well as assessment and measurement in STEM education. She teaches courses in research design, measurement theory, critical pedagogy in STEM and courses in learning and instructional theory. She extensive expertise in assessment, psychometrics, advanced quantitative analyses, and multimodal research design. She is active in many professional associations in the engineering and science education, teacher education, distance learning, program evaluation and special education fields. She has been the principal investigator on several federal grants through the US Department of Education, the National Institute of Health, and the National Science Foundation.

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Maja J. Mataric University of Southern California

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Maja Mataric´ is professor and Chan Soon-Shiong chair in Computer Science, Neuroscience, and Pediatrics at the University of Southern California, founding director of the USC Center for Robotics and Embedded Systems (, co-director of the USC Robotics Research Lab ( and Vice Dean for Research in the USC Viterbi School of Engineering. She received her PhD in Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence from MIT in 1994, MS in Computer Science from MIT in 1990, and BS in Computer Science from the University of Kansas in 1987. She is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), Fellow of the IEEE, and recipient of the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Science, Mathematics & Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM), the Anita Borg Institute Women of Vision Award for Innovation, Okawa Foundation Award, NSF Career Award, the MIT TR100 Innovation Award, and the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society Early Career Award. She served as the elected president of the USC faculty and the Academic Senate. At USC she has been awarded the Viterbi School of Engineering Service Award and Junior Research Award, the Provost's Center for Interdisciplinary Research Fellowship, the Mellon Mentoring Award, the Academic Senate Distinguished Faculty Service Award, and a Remarkable Woman Award. She is featured in the science documentary movie "Me & Isaac Newton", in The New Yorker ("Robots that Care" by Jerome Groopman, 2009), Popular Science ("The New Face of Autism Therapy", 2010), the IEEE Spectrum ("Caregiver Robots", 2010), and is one of the LA Times Magazine 2010 Visionaries. Prof. Mataric´ is an associate editor of three major journals and has published extensively. She serves or has recently servied on a number of advisory boards, including the National Science Foundation Computing and Information Sciences and Engineering (CISE) Division Advisory Committee, and the Willow Garage and Evolution Robotics Scientific Advisory Boards. Prof. Mataric´ is actively involved in K-12 educational outreach, having obtained federal and corporate grants to develop free open-source curricular materials for elementary and middle-school robotics courses in order to engage student interest in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) topics. Her Interaction Lab's research into socially assistive robotics is aimed at endowing robots with the ability to help people through individual non-contact assistance in convalescence, rehabilitation, training, and education. Her research is currently developing robot-assisted therapies for children with autism spectrum disorders, stroke and traumatic brain injury survivors, and individuals with Alzheimer's Disease and other forms of dementia. Details about her research are found at

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Shaobo Huang University of Southern California

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Shaobo Huang is a Post-Doctoral Research Associate in STEM Education in the School of Engineering at the University of Southern California (USC). With BS and MS degrees in electrical engineering, she received her Ph.D. in Engineering Education at Utah State University (USU). Her areas of interest include increasing retention rates in engineering, and improving academic performance of minority students in STEM disciplines.

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Svetlana Levonisova University of Southern California

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Research Experiences For Teachers: Linking Research to Teacher Practice and Student Achievement Abstract Research identifies a national urgency to improve teacher performance and studentachievement in science and engineering. This paper responds to this need and presents the resultsof a four year Research Experience for Teachers (RET) program funded by the National ScienceFoundation in which engineering faculty collaborate with middle and high school teachers andtheir students. RET is a comprehensive teacher professional development program in whichmiddle and high school teachers participate in an intensive summer research experience inengineering labs, build curriculum based on the laboratory research content that they learn,participate in lesson study, and implement new curriculum in their middle or high schoolclassrooms. The program has the combined intent of bringing innovative engineering research tomiddle and high school students and improving student achievement through scientific inquiry.Program design includes a summer intensive experience in which teachers fully participate inengineering laboratory research and engage in an inquiry focused content-to-pedagogy teacherprofessional development workshop, building curriculum from their lab research experience withfoci on scientific experimentation and improving students’ science achievement and literacy. Theprogram is aligned with Common Core Math Standards and Next Generation Science Standardsand addresses the research question: What is the impact of an intensive research-based teacherprofessional development program on teacher and student performance? Thirty-one middle and high school teachers and their 3,923 students have participated in theprogram. Assessment metrics used to measure the impact of the program are: a teacherinstructional performance metric, the Science Teaching Efficacy Beliefs Instrument-revised, ascience qualitative reading inventory, grade and content specific concept inventories, and amotivation for science questionnaire. Program results are: the teachers had a mean scienceteaching efficacy of 3.24 and the national average is 2.47. The mean score on teacherperformance rating was 3.17 and the statewide average rating is 2.89. RET teachers had a 26.4percent performance gain pre to post program. Results also indicate that students madesignificant gains during their curricular intervention resulting from their teachers’ participation inthe RET program. Students gained knowledge (19.1% gain), increased their science interest andmotivation (22.6% gain), and demonstrated gains in science literacy (37% gain) as well.  

Ragusa, G., & Mataric, M. J., & Huang, S., & Levonisova, S. (2014, June), Research Experiences For Teachers: Linking Research to Teacher Practice and Student Achievement Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--22975

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