Center for Curriculum Materials in Science

AAAS Project 2061, Michigan State University, Northwestern University, University of Michigan

CCMS Research Programs

Overview of the CCMS Research Agenda

Curriculum Materials for All Children
This aspect of CCMS research focuses on the nature of curriculum materials and how they can encourage and support learning. Research questions include how curriculum materials can scaffold learners in complex practices and motivate all students to engage in and learn from activities. Research also seeks to identify attributes of curriculum materials that support local adaptation and attend to the learning needs of all students.

Teacher Learning and Educative Materials
This aspect of the research deals with teacher learning as it relates to science curriculum materials. CCMS research focuses on the best ways to provide teachers with the support they need to implement high-quality curriculum materials. Research questions include how teachers interpret and use curriculum materials, what qualities of pre-service education and professional development can best help teachers to successfully use and adapt high-quality materials to serve the diverse needs of students, and how curriculum materials can take into account the diverse needs of teachers who will be enacting the materials.

The Curriculum Development Process
CCMS seeks to understand the contribution of various design elements (such as the kinds of expertise on the design team, an underlying theoretical model, periodic analysis of drafts against specific criteria, periodic evaluation of student learning) to a successful product. Research questions include how learning objectives can best be articulated to guide the design process, what processes enable developers to effectively and efficiently translate learning objectives into curriculum designs, how learning theory can guide design, and how a design process can best be articulated to support its use by others.

Research related to student assessment is central to the work of CCMS. Assessment is a critical component of curriculum materials themselves and a necessary tool for conducting research on those materials. Of particular interest are questions about what types of assessment items are most effective as probes of student understanding, how such items can be designed and incorporated into curriculum materials, and how teachers can be helped to use assessment results to adapt curriculum materials to their own students.

In the context of curriculum materials, policy involves the world of publishing, funding agencies, adoption committees, school administrators, teachers in classrooms, as well as parents and other community members. It is concerned with the production and dissemination of materials, the adoption of materials, and the enactment and sustainable use of materials. Research questions relate to the level of understanding and acceptance of CCMS core principles by key constituents and the identification of effective strategies to promote the widespread understanding and acceptance of them and of materials that are consistent with them.

Text: AAAS Project 2061, Michigan State University, Northwestern University, University of Michigan
Text: Center for Curriculum Materials in Science