Christian Doabler, Meadows Center Receive $2.5 Million Grant to Design a Core Science Program

Aug. 1, 2017

Department of Special Education Assistant Professor Christian Doabler and the Meadows Center for Prevention of Educational Risk (MCPER) have received a $2.5 million federal grant to design a core science program for second grade students who are with or at risk for learning disabilities in mathematics, reading, and science. 

The primary aim of this 4-year project (Scientific Explorers) is to iteratively develop and rigorously test the promise of a core science program aimed at promoting an early foundation for learning science among all second grade students, including students at risk for or with learning disabilities and dyslexia. Specifically, the Scientific Explorers program will be designed to improve students’ knowledge and understanding of disciplinary core ideas and cross-cutting concepts related to Earth’s Systems in the Next Generation Science Standards.

A second aim of this project is to develop and empirically validate a science assessment that measures students’ knowledge and application of disciplinary core ideas and practices related to Earth’s Systems. The final year of the project will involve a rigorous pilot study aimed at establishing the feasibility and efficacy of the Scientific Explorers program in approximately 40 second grade classrooms from two different geographical regions (Texas and Virginia). The pilot study will also formally assess the technical adequacy (reliability and validity) of the early science achievement measure. Doabler will serve as the principal investigator of the project, with Sarah Powell and Vic Sampson as the co-principal investigators. MCPER Associate Director Greg Roberts and Anna-Mari Fall will serve as the project’s methodologists. Bill Therrien at the University of Virginia will also serve as a co-principal investigator.

The project, which started on July 1, 2017, is funded through the National Science Foundation’s Discovery Research PreK-12 program (DRK-12).