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2015 Media Releases

DU Researchers Receive $3.5 Million to Study Learning Trajectories in Mathematics

June 1, 2015 –Doug Clements and Julie Sarama, Kennedy Endowed Chairs at the University of Denver’s Morgridge College of Education (MCE) have been awarded a $3.5 million grant by the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences. 

In partnership with Denver’s Cherry Creek School District and Denver Public Schools, the grant allows the University of Denver to conduct crucial studies on learning trajectories in American mathematics education. The four-year research project, entitled “Evaluating the Efficacy of Learning Trajectories in Early Mathematics,” will take place from August 1, 2015 to July 31, 2019 at MCE’s Marsico and Kennedy Institutes.  Research will be in collaboration with Art Baroody, PhD from the Marsico Institute and David Purpura, PhD from Purdue University.

Learning trajectories have received increasing attention from policy makers, educators, curriculum developers, and researchers, and are deemed useful tools for guiding instructional planning and assessment. However, research has yet to directly evaluate the specific contributions of learning trajectories in mathematics. The research study at the University of Denver will include a series of eight randomized clinical trials testing various aspects of learning trajectories, to assess the most effective methods for supporting children’s overall learning.

“The results will have implications for the use of learning trajectories across multiple subjects, however mathematics is particularly important,” said Dr. Clements. “This learning predicts later school success not only in mathematics, but in overall achievement and college entry as well.”

MCE’s Marsico and Kennedy Institutes have received more than $1 million in new grant funding in the 2014-2015 fiscal year. In total, lead investigators Sarama and Clements have been awarded more than $30 million in research funding for early childhood learning projects. In addition to this latest grant, MCE research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Heising-Simons Foundation, the National Governors’ Association and the Los Alamos National Labs Foundation.