NSF Program Goals & Specific Aims of USC Viterbi’s Programs

Aligned with the goals of the National Science Foundation’s Research Experience for Teachers program, USC Viterbi’s Research Experience for Teachers programs aim to: (1) build long-term collaborative partnerships between LAUSD K-12 STEM teachers and the research community; (2) increase K-12 teachers’ knowledge of leading engineering technologies, methods, and innovations; and (3) increase K-12 teachers’ science and technology pedagogic competence through a comprehensive collaborative USC/LAUSD professional development program that includes targeted lab-based research experience focused on engineering science and technology and advanced lesson study.

The specific aims of USC Viterbi’s RET programs are to:
  1. Create structured opportunities for teams of middle school science and math teachers to partner with USC researchers in premiere computer science and engineering laboratories;
  2. Measure the impacts of the RET experience on teacher attitude toward and competency in developing and implementing novel engineering, computer science and ethics curricula;
  3. Assist teachers in developing curricula using their ACCESS 4Teachers-RET engineering and CS research experience as a guide;
  4. Collaboratively improve curricula using a lesson study approach that connects the research practices in CS and engineering labs to middle school NGS and CCM curriculum standards;
  5. Disseminate new curricula to middle schools throughout LAUSD and nationally; and
  6. Comprehensively measure the impact that the new curricula have on middle school students’ attitude, achievement, and engagement in engineering, science and math.

These aims guide USC’s RET programs so that the teachers’ experiences will result in the planning, design, piloting, and implementation of engineering-driven 6-8th grade curricula in the LAUSD classrooms and beyond, with significant student achievement impact.