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Research within CEHD 

The College of Education and Human Development is dedicated to discovering solutions to the problems that face our schools and the challenges encountered by children, adults and families in the 21st century. We focus on applied research, to advance knowledge in the fields of education and human development.  

Grant Information

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Attachment and Bio-Behavioral Catch-up (ABC) and Early Head Start Home Visitors

This study examines the effectiveness of ABC when integrated as a standard component of Early Head Start to foster closer parent-child relationships and reduce children’s stress. The 5-year study is funded by the Administration for Children, Youth, and Families in the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services, through a $2 million award to HDFS faculty Jason Hustedt, Rena Hallam, Myae Han, and Jennifer Vu.

Investigating the Impact of Classroom Instruction and Literacy Skills on Writing Achievement in First Grade

This study provides a detailed picture of what effective writing instruction looks like in first grade and which approaches are more effective for students with a specific set of strengths or weaknesses. The 4-year, $1.4 million grant, funded by the Institute of Education Sciences, was awarded to David Coker, Charles (Skip) MacArthur and Liz Farley-Ripple of the UD School of Education.

Teaching Fractions

The Institute of Education Sciences awarded a $10 million grant to UD professor Nancy C. Jordan, Lynn Fuchs at Vanderbilt University and Robert Siegler at Carnegie Mellon University, to fund this 5-year research and development center aimed at understanding difficulties students have with fractions. The Center for Improving Learning of Fractions, administered at UD, focuses on improving math instruction for elementary and middle school children who have problems with math concepts, specifically fractions.

The Role of Benchmark Data in School Improvement: Understanding Practices and Capacity Development Across Schools 

Funded through the Spencer Foundation Data Use and Educational Improvement initiative, Dr. Elizabeth Farley-Ripple (School of Education) and Dr. Joan Buttram (DERDC) seek to understand how schools use interim or benchmarking data to leverage school-wide improvement, as well as how their capacity to use these data develops.

Delaware Kindergarten Readiness Pilot Study

This study explores the issue of kindergarten readiness in Delaware, and includes surveys of kindergarten teachers and school staff responsible for assessment, as well pilot work on an observational assessment process with kindergartners.  This research is funded through a 2-year, $142,945 grant from the Delaware Department of Education.

Development of a Curriculum to Teach Writing in Postsecondary Developmental English Composition Classes

This project develops and evaluates writing curricula and instructional methods for community college developmental English composition courses. It will draw upon research on writing development and instructional methods with adolescents, particularly self-regulated strategy instruction, as writing instruction is adapted to the special needs of this population and the community college context. The 3-year project is funded by the Institute for Education Science, U.S. Department of Education awarded $880,000 to Charles MacArthur.


Delaware Stars for Early Success

Delaware Stars for Early Success provides Delaware’s Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) focusing on quality improvement in Early Care and Education programs serving children and youth 6 weeks to 12 years of age. Contracted by the Delaware Department of Education and managed by the Delaware Institute for Excellence in Early Childhood, the program aims to prepare children, especially those from low-income families, to enter life and school ready to succeed.

Increasing Vocabulary in Preschoolers: Using Cognitive Science to Guide Pedagogy

The purpose of this project is to create and test a novel approach to building preschool teachers’ abilities to foster vocabulary and therefore, broader language skills among preschool children from low-income homes. The $50K 3-year grant (subcontract from Vanderbilt) serves to understand how children acquire vocabulary through storybook reading. The project evaluates different teaching strategies and how they affect children’s vocabulary.

The longitudinal relationship between geometric, mathematical, and spatial skills in preschool and kindergarten 

To uncover the links between geometric, mathematical and spatial skills, this $17K 1-year project, led by Roberta Golinkoff, (subcontract from Temple Univ.) follows children from a previously completed longitudinal study into their kindergarten year. Testing will be completed on 80+ children identified from the original sample on two measures of spatial skill and two measures of mathematical skill. It is anticipated that children will have to be seen twice at their schools to complete the assessments. 

Using Developmental Science to Create a Computerized Preschool Language Assessment

The purpose of this $2.8 million 4-year project is to develop a reliable, valid, norm-ready, research-driven, and culturally sensitive computer-based language assessment for children 3- to 5-years-old that can be administered in 20 minutes. The preschool language assessment tool is intended to be an easily administered, automatically scored tool, appropriate for teachers, paraprofessionals, and professionals. The tool will have the capacity to quickly and automatically derive individual and group language profiles in two areas of competency: vocabulary & word learning strategies, and grammar and the use of syntax in comprehension.

Roberta Golinkoff is working with colleagues from Smith CollegeTemple University and Laureate Learning on this research project.

SHAPE UP!:  Preschoolers Geometric Sense Predicts Future Mathematics Achievement.

This $880K 3-year study conducted by Roberta Golinkoff follows a group of preschoolers over the course of 14 months and assesses the development their geometric and mathematical ability using a suite of innovative new tasks involving manipulating two- and three-dimensional shapes. The results of this study set the foundation for the creation of preschool curricula that can enhance young children’s geometric-spatial skills prior to kindergarten thus starting them on a good foot forward in science, technology, engineering or math.


Science of Learning Center Initiatives for Translational Science: The Ultimate Block Party and LEARN

The purpose of this $75K 2-year project is to bring representatives of the Science of Learning Centers together to discuss ways to disseminate the rapidly accumulating science of learning to the lay public and to educators. The grant seeks to bridge the gap between developmental science and the community by increasing public participation in science through ventures such as the Ultimate Block Party.



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updated 4/9/12

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