FSU professor receives grants to study teacher preparation, training

A professor in Florida State University’s College of Education who is working to develop more-effective models for teacher preparation and professional training has received two grants totaling more than $600,000 from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

With the NSF grants, "We hope to get a better understanding of what changes can be made to the ways teachers are taught that would improve student achievement," said Betsy Becker, a professor and program coordinator in the Program in Measurement and Statistics in FSU’s department of educational psychology and learning systems.

One of Becker’s research projects, "A Linked Meta-Analysis on Teacher Knowledge," will examine results from existing research to build a model for the development of teacher knowledge. The study, which will be conducted jointly with Mary Kennedy of Michigan State University and Fran O’Reilly of Abt Associates, a research and consulting firm, will focus on the relationship between existing elements of professional development, qualifications and knowledge. Linking the findings from previous research will allow the research team to build a model of development that will span across the training continuum—from preservice training to professional development.

In the second research project, "Methods for Synthesizing Regression Results," Becker will conduct a four-year study in conjunction with Ingram Olkin, a world-renowned statistician at Stanford University, to examine methods of data analysis in research. The goal of the project is to develop new ways for researchers to summarize and analyze research data based on real-world situations that often are more complicated than the scenarios created in laboratory research.

"Methods for Synthesizing Regression Results" could have a wide-reaching effect in the research community, Becker said, since many important studies have the potential of being omitted because the researchers have difficulty deciding how best to analyze and represent their results.

"The NSF has included this type of work in its portfolio of grants because it is a way to support the development of an infrastructure for the future building of knowledge about teachers, math and science education, and more," she said.

For more information about the Program in Measurement and Statistics and others offered by the College of Education at FSU, visit www.coe.fsu.edu.