Visit this section often to keep up-to-date on all of the exciting things happening in the Program.
Department of Psychology, University of Pittsburgh
Cognitive science has "graduated" a small set of principles of learning that were deemed by a committee to be valid—robustly tested in the lab and in at least some classrooms. However, the standards for classroom validation were necessarily low because cognitive science has generally made little penetration into classroom instruction, and much remains to be learned about whether cognitive science can make a difference. The real world of classroom instruction includes learning difficult content by poorly prepared / poorly motivated students and teachers. Will “valid” cognitive science principles of learning be robust under those conditions? I report on a center-level effort that translated and tested cognitive science principals through systematic improvements to two widely-used middle school science curricula. Outcomes were tested in a two multi-year randomized control trials in large urban districts with tens of thousands of middle-schoolers. The analyses examine the situations in which effects were found, and I will discuss possible underlying mechanisms.