Laying the Foundation for a Spatial Reasoning Researcher-Practitioner Partnership with CPS, SILC, and The Learning Partnership

September 24, 2020

Authors

David Uttal

Northwestern University

Katie James

Northwestern University

Steven McGee

The Learning Partnership

Phillip Boda

The Learning Partnership

The goal of this project was to explore how explicit instruction in spatial reasoning in primary grades can contribute to reductions in variation in STEM outcomes for low-income, minority students in the Chicago Public Schools (CPS). Our project focused on the persistent gender, racial and ethnic, and socioeconomic inequalities in STEM educational and career achievement and attainment. Our approach to addressing this problem was guided by research evidence that much of the variation in STEM outcomes for these groups can be explained by spatial reasoning abilities. Importantly, spatial reasoning skills can be improved through practice, but are rarely explicitly taught in the classroom. The spatial reasoning needs and opportunities identified by this work are relevant to CPS in that they focus on the prevalent science, math, and computer science curricula currently used in CPS K-2 instruction. As such, our findings provide specific, actionable guidance for the development of curricular supports that infuse explicit spatial reasoning instruction.

Research Areas

Suggested Citation

Uttal, D., James, K. McGee, S. & Boda, P. (2020). Laying the Foundation for a Spatial Reasoning Researcher-Practitioner Partnership with CPS, SILC, and The Learning Partnership. Northwestern University. https://doi.org/10.51420/report.2020.1

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