Enhancing Middle School Mathematics Achievement through Spatial Skills Instruction

Project: Research project

Project Details


The overall goal of the project is to evaluate the effectiveness of a spatial skills curriculum in facilitating middle-school children's learning of mathematics. Students first learn a range of spatial skills; the researchers test whether, and how, these learning experiences affect performance on a state-mandated mathematics achievement tests and other measures designed specifically for the research.

The Northwestern portion of this project will focus on two aspects of the larger project: (a) collection and entry of data related to logs of teachers' use of the curriculum, and (b) interpretation of findings and preparation for publication.

Co-PI: Uttal will devote ½ month per year to the project. He will do the following:

a) Participate in weekly conference calls
b) Participate in yearly board meetings, in person if held in the Chicago area or virtually if held elsewhere
c) Consult on plans for data analysis and assist in the interpretation of the results. Professor Uttal will not personally conduct data analyses, focusing instead on their planning and interpretation.
d) Assist in the interpretation of the results
e) Prepare work for submission for publication. This includes writing or editing manuscripts and revise them in response to editors' comments.

The Northwestern sub-contract also includes for a portion of the salary of a Research Assistant. The Research Assistant will do the following:

a) Remind teachers each week to complete the web-based logs of their weekly activities
b) Monitor the logs to make sure they are complete, and ask teachers (vial email or phone) to complete missing logs
c) Download teacher logs and enter data into a spreadsheet or SPSS file. Also ensure that the web-site is running smoothly and report problems to PI Sorby.
d) Receive digital (scanned) copies of measures of Mathematics Motivation and check them for readability and for errors. The RA will attempt to resolve errors or record them if they cannot be resolved. She will then enter the data from these scanned sheets into a spreadsheet and upload them to the Box server for analysis. Thus, the RA is responsible for checking, entering, and uploading spreadsheets of the data from the Math Motivation Questionnaire.
e) Participate in weekly conference calls
f) Assist in the preparation of publications, such as drawing charts or graphs or typing tables.

The scope of work explicitly does not include the following activities:

a) Conducting statistical analysis, other than simply descriptive statistics than can be calculated on an Excel or other spreadsheet.
b) Monitoring of data other than (1) teacher-entered logs of classroom activities, and (2) the Mathematics Motivation survey
c) Repairs or maintenance of web sites or computer-based data entry mechanisms
d) Digital or paper copying of more than 100 pages per year.
e) Any other activities not explicitly mentioned in the list of those to be performed.
Effective start/end date3/27/186/30/20


  • University of Cincinnati (011275-004//R305A170640-18)
  • Institute of Education Sciences (011275-004//R305A170640-18)


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