PHILADELPHIA — The University of Pennsylvania is a part of a consortium consisting of three Pennsylvania universities and two non-profit organizations receiving $10 million for five years from the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences to establish a 21st Century Center for Cognition and Science Instruction. The consortium will work with the Commonwealth’s Department of Education and nearly 200 Pennsylvania middle schools to better understand how the mind receives, processes, stores and retrieves knowledge and how to modify middle-school science curricula to improve learning outcomes.
Penn’s Graduate School of Education will take the lead in designing a major intervention study and analyzing the study’s results. GSE investigators will work in collaboration with Penn’s Institute for Research in Cognitive Science.
“The United States could be much stronger in preparing the general population with levels of science knowledge needed for success in the 21st-century workplace and in the production of future scientists,” Andy Porter, dean of Penn GSE and co-principal investigator of the center, said. “It’s highly unlikely that the U.S. can continue to produce leading scientists and engineers without providing a stronger science education to our children, particularly in the critical middle-school years.”
The mission of the Center is to conduct research that informs educators and policymakers and to provide national leadership for the improvement of science curricula.
The Center is a joint venture of Penn, the Spatial Intelligence and Learning Center at Temple University, the University of Pittsburgh’s Learning Research and Development Center, Research for Better Schools and the 21st Century Partnership for STEM Education.