SRRI Projects

Current projects

Data Games

Tools and Materials for Learning Data Modeling
Students playing computer games generate large quantities of rich, interesting, highly variable data that mostly evaporates into the ether when the game ends.

What if in a classroom setting, data from games students played remained accessible to them for analysis?

Model Construction Processes in Experts

This project complements and provides input to our science education projects by attempting to understand model construction and learning processes in expert scientists, with an emphasis on the roles of analogy, imagery, and thought experiments.

Past projects

Visual Modeling Strategies in Science Teaching

Finding principles of instruction for developing students' visualizable models in science
This NSF-funded project seeks principles of instruction for developing students' visualizable models in science, including design principles for curriculum development, technological tools, and new pedagogical principles.


Teacher Learning of Technology-Enhanced Formative Assessment
TLT was a five-year research project studying how secondary science and mathematics teachers learn to use an electronic "classroom response system" to implement a specific pedagogical approach called Technology-Enhanced Formative Assessment (TEFA).

Model Chance

Simulation software and classroom activities to help middle school students understand probability
Model Chance was a project funded by the National Science Foundation to develop simulation software and classroom activities to help middle school students learn about probability and data modeling. The simulation tool was integrated into our data-analysis software, TinkerPlots and was eventually released as TinkerPlots version 2.0.


Involving museum visitors in data analysis explorations
Funded by the National Science Foundation, the Tinkerzeum Planning Project was a one-year collaborative project exploring the feasibility of involving museum visitors in data analysis. These studies, which took place at the Museum of Science in Boston and at the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield MA, have helped us understand the kinds of data and exhibits that lead to compelling museum investigations and the types of additional supports visitors require to begin exploring data.

Data Modeling

Constructing data, modeling worlds: Collaborative investigation of statistical reasoning
This project aimed to change the way students -- and teachers -- think about math and science and was part of a larger endeavor by Peabody College to "reform the schooling of mathematics and science," said co-investigator and Professor of Science Education Rich Lehrer. This innovative project focused on learning rather than performance as the standard by which educational methods are judged.


Online support for students doing electronic homework
At a large state university such as UMass, resources are necessarily limited, and students in a course with 200 or more classmates often think they cannot possibly get the assistance they need to answ

Every Decision Counts (EDC)

Developing and researching the impact of an alternative format for multiple-choice assessment
Standard multiple-choice assessments, for which there are 4 incorrect and exactly one correct choice, are efficient to implement but imprecise and difficult to interpret.


Advanced visualization tools for understanding statistics
This project addresses the growing importance of data literacy as a fundamental skill for living in a democratic society and the disheartening fact that few people have a solid understanding of data. It addresses this need by studying how advanced visualization tools can affect teachers' and students' develop understanding of several crucial statistical concepts.


Researching the Role of Qualitative Analysis
RRA was a research project on the combined impact of qualitative analysis and reasoning activities and formative assessment on the attitudes, conceptual understanding, skills, and problem-solving prof

Deepening Conceptual Understanding in Middle School Life Science

This NSF project is completing a model-based curriculum on Energy and the Human Body at the middle school level and investigating ways of teaching complex visual models in science.

TinkerPlots Project

Developing tools and curricula for enhancing data analysis in the middle school
In the TinkerPlots project, funded by the National Science Foundation, we created a software tool and curriculum materials for teaching data analysis and statistics in middle schools.

A2L Project

Assessing-to-Learn: Continuous Formative Assessment for Physics Instruction
There has been considerable interest in assessment, especially in view of the goals set forth in reform documents, such as the NRC's National Science Education Standards.

Data Sharing

A Study of Student Investigations in Data-Sharing Projects
Overview The primary objectives of this research project were to a) identify the core ideas in rudimentary data analysis, b) research the methods students typically employ to compare two groups or judge the relationship between two variables, and c) identify features of data and tasks that we should attend to in designing instruction. Our research was aimed at informing teachers as well as the development of future data analysis projects, materials, software, and teacher development efforts.


Computer-based assessment tools for probing physics students' conceptual knowledge structures
Traditional problem-based exams are not reliable tools for diagnosing students' knowledge and guiding pedagogical intervention; new tools grounded in cognitive science and educational research are nee

Critical Barriers

Students Analyzing Data: A Study of Critical Barriers
This study was funded under the Small Grant for Exploratory Research Program at NSF.

Minds*On Physics Project

Developing and field testing a research-based curriculum for high school physics
To learn about the finished Minds·On Physics product, see the MOP entry in our Resources section.


A Computer-Based Curriculum in Probability and Statistics
ChancePlus was a four-year project to develop and field test materials for teaching probability and statistics at the high-school level using computers.


S-CASTS: System for Collaboration among Students, Teachers and System is a collaboration between UMass, TERC, and Artificial Intelligence researchers at Harvard. We are investigating the use of models of collaboration, especially as embodied in collaborative human-computer interface systems, in the augmentation of existing flexible software tools for mathematics education.

Knowledge Broker

Exploring technology for next-generation classroom response systems
Effective pedagogy --- identifying students' initial understanding and misconceptions, engaging their minds in the activity of learning, continually monitoring their individual progress, and adjusting

Research: Statistical Intuitions

Investigate statistical intuitions of college students
Understanding of Basic Statistical Concepts
NSF Grant BNS-8509991 (1985 - 88)

Cognitive Skills Underlying Statistical Inference
NSF Grant SED-8113323 (1981 - 85)

Program of Applied Research on Scientific Reasoning Processes
NSF Grant SED-8016567 (1980 - 83)

Role of Preconceptions and Representational Transformations in Understanding Science and Mathematics
NSF Grant BNS-8509991 (1978 - 80)

In these four projects We used primarily clinical interviews to investigate statistical intuitions of college students.