Grants Office Update: June 2021

Principal Investigator: Caitlin Spear (Tracy Larson – Co-PI)
Department: Office of Child Development
Project Title: Early Childhood Exclusionary Discipline Scan
Agency Name: FISA Foundation

Award Dates: 7/1/21 – 12/31/22 
Amount: $20,000

The project aims to conduct a scan of exclusionary discipline practices across Allegheny County’s early childhood landscape (e.g., early childhood programs that offer services to children ages 0-8), and to document any observed identity-based disproportionalities in their use and application. With this project, we will integrate quantitative and qualitative data collection and analyses, using both publicly available data and more nuanced, observational measures of discipline practices to examine Allegheny County’s early childhood exclusionary discipline landscape.


Principal Investigator: Kevin Binning (Linda DeAngelo – Co-PI)
Department: Learning Research and Development Center / Educational Foundations, Organization and Policy
Project Title: Developing a Context-Integrated Mindset / Belonging Intervention to Eliminate Demographic-based Underperformance in Challenging Large Lecture Undergraduate Courses
Agency Name: U.S. Department of Education

Award Dates: 9/1/21 – 8/31/25 
Amount: $1,999,649 ($102,642 Co-PI portion)

Even among those students who successfully enroll in a four-year college or university, more than one out of three will not earn adegree after six years, and there are further large differences by race/ethnicity. Even in selective institutions and even after accounting for differences in academic preparation, large gaps in completion rates occur by basic demographic variables. Oneimportant source for these inequitable outcomes is performance in large lecture courses, which we call demographic-based courseunderperformance. Psychosocial interventions have shown considerable promise for addressing such course-based inequities usinghighly cost-effective brief interventions.

However, a number of attempts to scale up such interventions have found weak or null effects. We argue that the contents of thesepsychosocial interventions must be adapted to the specific concerns of students in particular courses and use procedures that involvesocial in- class participation with the intervention. Based on highly promising results with early versions of this approach, we proposeto develop a systematic method for adapting the intervention to new courses / new contexts. Link for additional information can be found here.


Principal Investigator: Lindsay Matsumura (Richard Correnti – Co-PI) (Thomas Farmer – Co-Investigator)
Department: Learning Research and Development Center / Health and Human Development

Project Title: The Effect of Content-Focused Coaching on Reading Comprehension Instruction: Evidence from Urban and Rural Schools
Agency Name: U.S. Department of Education

Award Dates: 7/1/21 – 8/31/25 
Amount: $3,796,923 ($170,151 Co-Investigator portion)

Results of national assessments show that a large percentage of students in the United States do not advance beyond basic levels of reading comprehension, and this is especially the case for minoritized students, English learners (ELs), and students living in poverty who are consistently and disproportionately represented within the lowest levels of reading achievement. The purpose of this project is to test the efficacy, implementation, and cost-effectiveness of a web-based professional development program, Online Content-Focused Coaching (CFC), for improving the quality of reading comprehension instruction (text discussion quality) and students’ reading skills in schools serving high numbers of low-income, minoritized and EL students. 

Online CFC is a fully developed professional development program that was advanced with support from an IES Development (Goal 2) grant. Pilot study results from our development work, that met What Works Evidence Standards (with reservations) suggest that Online CFC can increase classroom text discussion quality and students’ reading achievement in urban schools. Our proposed study will formally evaluate Online CFC as implemented in a larger sample of similar, urban schools and include coaches who were not part of the original development team. In addition, we will investigate the implementation of Online CFC in a small sample of geographically diverse rural schools in order to generate information that could be used to evaluate and adapt the intervention for use in those contexts. In both cases we will track and price the ingredients to estimate the cost necessary to implement Online CFC and to produce estimated effects on achievement. Link for additional information can be found here.