This evening, Trey Foerster, FSU’s Peace Corps Recruiter and a member of the Learning Systems Institute’s staff, and some of Tallahassee’s Peace Corps volunteers will talk about their countries of service, their projects and their experiences in the Peace Corps.
Meet the volunteers, talk with Peace Corps regional recruiter Grant Matthews and learn about this distinguished form of public service at 6-9 p.m. at the Grasslands Brewing Co., 603 W. Gaines St.
Adrienne E. Barnes, Ph.D., a Reading and Literacy Specialist with FSU’s Learning Systems Institute, recently returned from Nigeria, where she is part of LSI’s work in three states in the north of Nigeria that have struggled with educational quality as well as regional instability.
Dr. Barnes is part of LSI’s work to help with teacher training and curriculum development in Hausa and English reading instruction, employing the latest research and best practices.
Helen N. Boyle, Ph.D., Associate Professor of International and Comparative Education and a member of LSI’s research faculty, is the principal investigator on LSI’s role in the Northern Education Initiative Plus project administered by Creative Associates International.
Learn more about FSU’s work with the Nigeria Northern Education Initiative Plus at http://fla.st/2mfja8n.
Learning Systems Institute Director Jeffrey Ayala Milligan is in Pakistan this week, conducting fieldwork in preparation for a visit to Florida by a delegation of education leaders later this year.
The Pakistani officials will be latest to take part in the Community College Administrators Program conducted by Florida State University and Santa Fe College and supported by the U.S. Department of State.
The program provides education leaders from abroad a week of intense study of the development, organization and administration of Florida’s system of community colleges, followed by five weeks of training in key elements of community-college leadership.
So far, educators and administrators from Indonesia, India, Ukraine, Brazil, Columbia, Ecuador and Peru have taken advantage of the State Department’s program.
Also this year, education experts from Egypt will come to FSU and Santa Fe College to take part in the program.
Flavia Ramos-Mattoussi of the Learning Systems Institute returns to Addis Ababa this weekend to continue work with Ethiopia’s Ministry of Education on a far-reaching reading-and-writing program that will reach 15 million children in the African nation.
Since 2013, Dr. Ramos-Mattoussi and LSI colleagues Dr. Marion Fesmire and Dr. Adrienne Barnes have worked with the Reading for Ethiopia’s Achievement Developed Project in Ethiopia. READ TA is a five-year project supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development and implemented by RTI International and its partners, including Florida State University.
While in Addis Ababa, Dr. Ramos-Mattoussi, a senior research associate at LSI, will guide a team of graphic designers to produce the final version of the module designed for teacher instruction, developed by the FSU/LSI team of Dr. Fesmire, Dr. Barnes, Dr. Shannon Hall-Mills and Dr. Dawit Mekonnen, a professor of education at the University of Addis Ababa and FSU’s National Coordinator on this project. The course-module has been piloted at 36 Colleges of Teacher Education in Ethiopia.
LSI faculty involved in the READ TA project have presented their work at international conferences.
Dr. Ramos-Mattoussi has been invited by the USAID Education Office in Washington to present LSI’s work in Ethiopia at the USAID’s panel on teacher education at the Comparative and International Education Conference (CIES) in Atlanta, GA on March 5-9.
The Learning Systems Institute has been nominated for a Lloyd’s List 2016 North America Award for the PortStar project, America’s only online & instructor-led training system on port security.
The system was developed at LSI out of a $6.2-million grant awarded to Dr. Aubteen Darabi by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Dr. Darabi is a senior research faculty at LSI and a tenured associate professor of Instructional Systems and Learning Technology in the Department of Educational Psychology and learning Systems in FSU’s College of Education.
Lloyd’s List is one of the world’s oldest continuously running journals, Lloyd’s today covers all information, analysis, and knowledge relevant to the shipping industry, including marine insurance, offshore energy, logistics, market data, research, global trade and law.
The award goes to a North American company or institution for outstanding commitment in training its employees ashore or at sea or a company or institution that can demonstrate a contribution towards improving training standards across the maritime industry as a whole.
Judges will be looking for examples of investment in new facilities and courses, innovative training solutions and a sustained and effective approach to developing quality staff in the maritime sector.
LSI is one of nine nominees for this year’s award.
A team of experts from FSU’s Learning Systems Institute has received extended funding to continue work with officials and educators in Ethiopia to reform reading instruction in the African nation.
“This is a challenging project, because Ethiopia has one of the most inclusive policies on language of instruction, with more than 20 mother tongue languages being used in classrooms,” said Dr. Flavia Ramos-Mattoussi, the principal investigator and a senior research associate with the Center for International Studies in Educational Research & Development, part of the Learning Systems Institute.
The FSU team in Ethiopia, including Drs. Marion Fesmire and Adrienne Barnes, is working alongside local educators to develop up to seven modules (textbooks) in seven national languages and English.
FSU is a partner to RTI International on the project, “Reading for Ethiopia Achievement Developed Technical Assistance,” which is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development. With the new contract extension, the funding for FSU’s portion of the project now exceeds $2.2 million.
“This project is designed to ensure that reading and writing skills are sufficiently developed in the primary school in the seven most widely spoken languages.” said Ramos-Mattoussi. “Our FSU team focuses on development of teacher education, curriculum and materials and on training of teacher educators.”
The project’s goals are ambitious — it expects to reach 15 million children in all schools and all regions of Ethiopia.
The Center for International Studies in Educational Research and Development’s US-Indonesia Teacher Training Partnership was given feature attention recently by the media in Indonesia.
The partnership, a 2.5-year project to enhance the quality of effectiveness of pre-service teacher training in early grade reading, is a set of activities under the overall USAID PRIORITAS Project implemented by Research Triangle Institute (RTI) to improve access to quality education for children in Indonesia.
“As a manifestation of the commitment to develop the culture of literacy, Semarang State University (UNNES) and Florida State University (FSU), facilitated by USAID Prioritas, work together [and are] synergistically developing literacy teaching materials or modules in the Hall of the Faculty of Education, located on UNNES’ Sekaran North Campus,” according to the article.
“Literacy-based learning concepts should be explored and used in preference to old teaching models that still exist,” said Dr. Edi Purwanto, M.Si., the Vice Dean for Academic Affairs, the Faculty of Education, UNNES. “In (today’s) teaching practices, using literacy-based instructions and basing the teaching on research are still uncommon. It is hoped that through this collaboration, the concepts of literacy-based instructions can expand nationwide.”
Feiny Sentosa, the Deputy Director of USAID Prioritas, said that reading and literacy skills of school students and university students should be developed early. “Students’ reading and comprehension skills need to be improved,” Feiny said. “Students might be able to read fluently; however, when they are asked intrinsic questions, many of them are not able to give proper or right answers. That is what we need to anticipate early.”
The article notes the participation in the workshop of Dr. Marion Fesmire of FSU-Panama City, who is working with CISERD on this project.
Dr. Helen N. Boyle, Associate Professor of International and Comparative Education and a member of the CISERD faculty, is principal investigator of the US-Indonesia Teacher Training Partnership.
The project’s $500,000 funding is from the U.S. Agency for International Development and RTI International.
Read more about the US-Indonesia Teacher Training Partnership here.
The Comparative and International Education Society has honored the Learning Systems Institute’s Dr. Stephanie Simmons Zuilkowski for outstanding scholarly writing that explores themes related to people of African descent.
The society gave Dr. Zuilkowski its Joyce Cain Award for Distinguished Research for her paper in the August 2014 edition of Comparative Education Review. Her paper examines the impact of two categories of post-war interventions on dropout among more than 500 boys and girls who fought in Sierra Leone’s civil war. More than 15,000 child soldiers were involved in the war, which divided the West African nation from 1991 to 2002.
“We found that social support and family financial support for education are far more powerful in preventing dropout than internationally funded programs such as the payment of school fees on behalf of former child combatants,” said Dr. Zuilkowski, who joined the Learning Systems Institute in 2013. She also holds an appointment in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies in FSU’s College of Education.
Dr. Zuilkowski said the findings are relevant to current conflicts in sub-Saharan Africa, including in the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo, where thousands of children and youth are serving as armed combatants.
“Our data suggest that international organizations should find ways to support local means of reintegration rather than using more invasive interventions, such as processing children through lengthy programs in formal centers for rehabilitation and reintegration,” she said. “Returning to school is one of the most powerful means of normalizing children’s lives after a conflict, and failing to successfully reintegrate young people may have a destabilizing effect on countries in the long term.”
The Comparative and International Education Society’s Joyce Cain Award honors the memory of Joyce Lynn Cain of Michigan State University and her dedication to introducing individuals across ethnic boundaries to African culture.
The Joyce Cain Award is Dr. Zuilkowski’s second honor for publication excellence. Last year, the British Journal of Educational Psychology awarded her its Early Stage Career Research Prize for her paper on malaria prevention and school dropout in the Gambia, published in its September 2014 issue.
Teachers in Florida know about the Mathematics Formative Assessment System developed at Florida State University and use it in their classrooms. Now, other teachers are learning about the value of the system through the U.S. Department of Education’s Progress blog.
The USDOE recently featured MFAS, as the system is known, in the online publication focused on “Teachers, Leaders and Students Transforming Education.”
“MFAS tasks have been an excellent resource for me,” said Kevin Mierzwinski of Pacetti Bay Middle School in St. Johns County. “They have allowed me to see the specific gaps and misunderstandings my students have about the standards. By identifying these misunderstandings, I am able to adjust my instruction to fill in the gaps and move my students forward.”
This is the primary purpose of MFAS, explained Maureen Oberlin, the MFAS project manager with the Florida Center for Research in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics at FSU. The center developed MFAS with support from USDOE’s Race to the Top fund.
MFAS is available at CPALMS.org to all stakeholders in Florida, including teachers, parents and students, at no cost. It includes more than 1,300 formative assessment tasks or problems that teachers can implement with their students and rubrics that help teachers interpret students’ responses.
“MFAS is a process rather than a test,” said Oberlin. “Evidence of student understanding related to a specific learning goal is collected during instruction. The objective is to adapt later instruction to the specific needs of students in order to improve their learning and achievement.”
Each MFAS task is directly aligned to a Florida mathematics standard. With each task, there is a multi-level rubric that includes descriptions of the misconceptions or errors that characterize the levels, examples of student work, and targeted instructional suggestions.
Tasks and rubrics are available for grades K-8, Algebra I, and Geometry.
Teachers using MFAS ask students to perform mathematical tasks, explain their reasoning, and justify their solutions. Rubrics for evaluating student responses are included so that teachers can differentiate instruction based on students’ specific level of understanding and their misconceptions and errors.
“Formative assessments that are well designed and correctly implemented can be very effective in improving student learning,” Oberlin said.
In a randomized-controlled trial in grades K-1, students of teachers using MFAS scored significantly better than the control group on a standards-based test of mathematical achievement. In addition, teachers using MFAS significantly improved their scores on a test of mathematical content and pedagogical knowledge over the course of the year.
Oberlin explained how each MFAS task and rubric underwent a lengthy development process. “After initial development, each task was field tested in an actual classroom with real students; rubrics were then drafted and the task was piloted by a teacher with his or her students and revised again based on the teacher’s feedback,” she said. “Finally, the task and rubric were sent to a reviewer external to the project. Final revisions were made before publishing it on CPALMS, where it became available to teachers.”
While MFAS is aligned with Florida’s teaching standards, educators from other states may also use the system. MFAS and its hundreds of tasks and rubrics are available free at http://www.cpalms.org/Resource/mfas.aspx.
The Florida Center for Research in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (FCR–STEM) is a multidisciplinary research center created by the Florida Legislature and competitively awarded to Florida State University in 2007. The center’s mission is to help the State of Florida improve STEM teaching and learning in grades K-12 and prepare students for higher education and STEM careers in the 21st century.