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School of Education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison

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WCER - Celebrating 50 years
Please join us October 20th for a day of learning and scholarship as we celebrate WCER's groundbreaking contributions to advancing education policy and practice across our state, nation and world.


It’s Time to Document Teaching Styles More Carefully

College-level teaching is more complex and nuanced than ever, and simple descriptors such as “lecturing” or “interactive” don’t tell us much.

Reducing how an instructor teaches Biology 101 to a variable such as “lecturing” masks other important dimensions of her teaching. What kind of questions does she ask students? How often? How are students socially and cognitively engaged in the classroom? How is technology used?

Those who evaluate classroom teaching can record their observations using a number of tools, but most are limited: They rely on open-ended response items that preclude reliability tests or comparison across individuals; they focus only on the use of teaching methods; they ignore temporary fluctuations in teaching practices throughout a class period; or they equate instructional quality with one teaching method. Read more.

Measuring Coherence in Teacher Knowledge

To measure the coherence of teacher knowledge, researchers asked math teachers to react to a mathematical task. As teachers addressed the problem, patterns of connections among concepts became apparent. To visualize these patterns, the research team created conceptual “network maps” for each teacher. The stronger teachers invoked high numbers of concepts and demonstrated a clear pattern of connections among key concepts. The remaining teachers used fewer concepts or had fewer strong connections.

What does it mean for teachers to have coherent understanding of their subject?

Coherence is considered an important aspect of knowledge. Incoherent understanding of a subject reproduces disconnected facts. By contrast, coherent knowledge allows one to bring to a subject richly connected ideas, to zoom to the heart of a complex subject, and to offer strategic solutions. Yet coherence has seldom been defined or measured, even in the context of teaching and learning. Read more.





250 students attend the Minority Student Achievement Network conference this week (Michigan Daily, 16 October)

Two WCER initiatives receive more than $7 million from the Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation
WI State Journal, 14 Oct.
Capital Times, 15 Oct.

WIDA's Gary Cook says a free English proficiency test will be welcome, especially in low-income countries (NPR, Oct. 1)

WIDA's Erin Arango-Escalante used her experience with early learners to create a neat playroom for her children (Isthmus, 11 Sept.)

A new MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) offering an in-person twist - local weekly facilitated meetings - debuts next week to help future and current college STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) faculty become better teachers. It is designed to be of special interest to grad students planning to teach professionally. (UW–Madison News, 1 October)

WIDA's Tim Boals discusses new standards for English Learners (Chalkbeat, 1 October)

Clif Conrad says educators must emphasize collaboration in which everyone is engaged in mutually reinforcing teaching and learning (Diverse Issues, 30 Sept.)



Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching, and LearningCenter for the Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning

Center on Education and Work

Children, Families & SchoolsChildren, Families & Schools

CRPBISCulturally Responsive Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports

Consortium for Policy Research in EducationConsortium for Policy Research in Education

CALLComprehensive Assessment of Leadership for Learning

CCHERCulture, Cognition, and Evaluation of STEM Higher Education Reform

Epistemic GamesEpistemic
Games Group

Exploring the alignment between workforce and education

Formative Language Assessment Records for ELLs in Secondary Schools

ILDLInteractive Learning & Design Lab

Interdisciplinary ITPTraining Program in the Education Sciences

Investing in Family Engagement

LSFFLongitudinal Study of Future STEM Scholars

Mobilizing STEM for a Sustainable FutureMobilizing STEM for a Sustainable Future

Minority Student Achievement NetworkMinority Student
Achievement Network



Strategic Management of Human CapitalStrategic Management of Human Capital

Surveys of Enacted CurriculumSurveys of Enacted Curriculum

System-wide Change for All Learners and EducatorsSystem-wide Change for All Learners and Educators

Talking About Leaving, Revisited

TDOP: Teaching Dimensions Observation Protocol

TransanaTracking the Processes of Data Driven Decision-Making in Higher Education


Value-Added Research CenterValue-Added Research Center

WIDA ConsortiumWIDA Consortium

WeilabWisconsin's Equity and Inclusion Laboratory


New Website Launched for WCER’s i3 Family Engagement Project in Philadelphia

WCER’s PhillyFASTi3 project, funded by a $15 million U.S. Department of Education Investing in Innovation (i3) grant, has launched a new website ( to inform parents and educators about the Families and Schools Together (FAST) program targeting 60 Philadelphia elementary schools. The site tells the “FAST story” from parents’ perspectives, and provides information and recruitment resources to partners, school principals and teachers through a school portal. Read more.

Indiana Becomes 36th State to Join WIDA Consortium

The WIDA Consortium is now 36 states strong after the Indiana Department of Education moved to implement WIDA’s English Language Development Standards and Assessments statewide starting this school year. Read more.