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OERL Project Types

Funding Sources

National Science Foundation

  • Elementary, Secondary, and Informal Education (ESIE)
    • Informal Science Education
    • Instructional Materials Development
    • Teacher Enhancement
  • Human Resource Development (HRD)
    • Program for Women and Girls
    • Career Access Activities in Science & Technology for Women
    • Presidential Awards for Excellence in Science, Mathematics & Engineering Mentoring
    • Summer Science Camps
  • Undergraduate Education (DUE)
    • Advanced Technological Education
    • Collaboratives for Excellence in Teacher Preparation
    • Course and Curriculum Development
    • Course, Curriculum and Laboratory Improvement
    • Instrumentation and Laboratory Improvement
    • Undergraduate Faculty Enhancement
  • Research, Evaluation, and Communication (REC)
    • The Evaluation Program

U.S. Department of Education

Overview of OERL Project Types

OERL categorizes projects into six types - Curriculum Development, Teacher Education, Faculty Development, Laboratory Improvement, Under-Represented Populations, and Technology. Most of the projects are funded by programs administered by divisions of the National Science Foundation's Directorate of Evaluation and Human Resources. A small group of technology projects funded by the U.S. Department of Education are represented in OERL as well. Due to reorganizations, NSF programs are periodically created, eliminated, renamed or subsumed.

Curriculum Development

A number of NSF programs support curriculum development activities. The goal of course and curriculum development activities is to support major improvements in undergraduate education through the creation of new or improved courses, curricula, laboratories, delivery systems, and nationally disseminated products. The restructuring of courses and curricula are based on current needs, new technologies, improved teaching methods, and new knowledge within and across disciplines.

The OERL Web site contains resources drawn primarily from the Division of Undergraduate Education's Course and Curriculum Development (CCD) Program now known as Course, Curriculum, and Laboratory Improvement (CCLI) and the Instrumentation and Laboratory Improvement (ILI) program.

Teacher Education

Many NSF programs have teacher education components that aim to substantially increase the quantity and quality of teachers in science and mathematics. Resources are primarily taken from two ESIE programs, Teacher Enhancement (TE) and Instructional Materials Development, one REC program, Program Evaluation, and the DUE Collaboratives for Excellence in Teacher Preparation (CETP) program, which is no longer active.

Faculty Development

This collection of NSF projects aim to support the development of post-secondary faculty whose primary efforts and interests lie in providing instruction to undergraduate students. These projects provide faculty with opportunities to gain experience in instructional techniques, learn about cutting-edge advances and innovations in their fields, and integrate new information and approaches with the content and instructional techniques they currently use. Resources are taken from DUE's Undergraduate Faculty Enhancement (UFE) and Instrumentation and Laboratory Improvement programs..

Laboratory Improvement

Currently the OERL Web site does not contain evaluation resources that focus on Laboratory Improvement. We expect to provide such resources by September, 2002.

Under-Represented Populations

A number of NSF projects have components which focus on increasing the access, retention, and preparation of under-represented student populations in science, mathematics, engineering, and technology. These projects may be implemented in all NSF-funded disciplines, and focus on a variety of levels and aspects of the education process (e.g., projects focus on teacher training, student mentoring, professor appointment criteria, curriculum development and evaluation, and science summer camp opportunities for middle students). Currently, OERL contains resources drawn from various Human Resources Development Division programs. These include:

  • Activities for Women and Girls in Science, Engineering & Math (Program for Gender Equity)
  • Career Access Activities in Science & Technology for Women
  • Presidential Awards for Excellence in Science, Mathematics & Engineering Mentoring
  • Summer Science Camps

Other Under-Represented Populations resources are taken from the ESIE Informal Science Education program.


These projects are part of the Technology Innovation Challenge Grant (TICG) Program, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Educational Research and Improvement. The projects aim to make effective use of technology in K-12 education through organizational capacity-building, teacher professional development, and curriculum implementation. There also projects from the Advanced Technology Education Program from NSF's DUE division.

The matrix below shows how OERL project types are related to the NSF and U.S. Department of Education's programs. The columns are the OERL Project Types and the rows are the various funding sources.

Table 1. Numbers of OERL projects classified by Project Type and Funding Source

  Curriculum Development Teacher Education Faculty Development Laboratory Improvement Under-Represented Populations Technology
Elementary, Secondary, and Informal Education (NSF)   31     1  
Human Resource Development (NSF)         24  
Undergraduate Education (NSF) 40 13 10     1
Research, Evaluation, & Communication (NSF)   1        
Technology Innovation Challenge Grants (U.S. Department of Education)           4

Overview of Funding Sources of OERL Projects

OERL currently contains evaluation materials from two federal agencies, the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Education. The agencies and their divisions and programs that have evaluation materials displayed on OERL are described below.

NSF Division of Elementary, Secondary, and Informal Education

Programs of the Division of Elementary, Secondary, and Informal Education (ESIE) support projects designed to improve the educational experiences of all students, pre-kindergarten through the 12th grade, and provide opportunities for all individuals to explore science, mathematics, and technology beyond the school setting.

Informal Science Education (ISE) activities provide rich and stimulating opportunities outside formal school settings, where individuals of all ages, interests, and backgrounds increase their appreciation and understanding of science, mathematics, and technology. ISE emphasizes collaborations between informal and formal education communities, increased access for individuals from underrepresented groups, and increased involvement of parents in their children's education.

Instructional Materials Development (IMD) supports development of comprehensive curricula and supplementary materials that change classroom instruction. All IMD-supported materials must be aligned with standards for content, instruction, and assessment developed by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) and the National Research Council (NRC). IMD also supports the development of embedded and large-scale student assessments that align with standards, as well as implementation and dissemination projects that provide information and technical assistance to decision-makers responsible for selecting and implementing curricula.

The Teacher Enhancement (TE) program supports professional development projects that lead to new levels of teacher competence and a supportive school culture that empowers teachers to engage all students in rich and challenging science, mathematics, engineering and technology (SMET) education programs. Projects improve, broaden, and deepen the disciplinary and pedagogical knowledge of teachers. They also involve administrators and others who play significant supporting roles. Special emphasis is given to projects that implement systemic change, develop leadership infrastructure, and provide research experiences for teachers and students.

NSF Division of Human Resource Development

Programs of the Division of Human Resource Development (HRD) in EHR support projects that aim at developing and broadening the participation of under-represented populations in science, mathematics, engineering, and technology (SMET). In particular, the program aims to increase the participation of women and girls, minorities, and persons with disabilities in SMET. Projects focus on issues such as increasing the participation and retention of under-represented populations in SMET at all levels, supporting innovative teacher development projects, addressing structural constraints to under-represented populations' participation in SMET, and strengthening the research and training capacity of institutions with large enrollments of under-represented populations.

The Executive Office of the President of the United States has established the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM) program. The program, administered on behalf of the White House by the National Science Foundation, seeks to identify outstanding mentoring efforts/programs designed to enhance the participation of groups underrepresented in science, mathematics and engineering. The awardees will serve as exemplars to their colleagues and will be leaders in the national effort to more fully develop the Nation's human resources in science, mathematics and engineering. Nominations to honor individuals and institutions are invited for the 2001 competition of these annual awards.

The Program for Women and Girls, renamed in 1999 to the Program for Gender Equity in Science, Mathematics, Engineering, and Technology (PGE) focuses on supporting projects that 1) increase and improve the recruitment and access of girls and women into SMET education and careers; 2) promote positive, long-term change in the academic, scientific, and social climates that girls and women encounter in SMET; and 3) widely disseminate research results that increase girls and women's interest and retention in SMET education and careers.

NSF Division of Undergraduate Education

The Division of Undergraduate Education (DUE) serves as a focal point for NSF's agency-wide effort to strengthen and enhance the vitality of undergraduate education in science, mathematics, engineering, and technology for all students. The programs in this division have been reorganized. Some of the key changes are described below.

Jointly managed by the Division of Undergraduate Education (DUE) and the Division of Elementary, Secondary, and Informal Education (ESIE), the Advanced Technological Education (ATE) program promotes improvement in technological education at the undergraduate and secondary school levels by supporting curriculum development; the preparation and professional development of college faculty and secondary school teachers; internships and field experiences for faculty, teachers, and students; and other activities. With an emphasis on two-year colleges, the program focuses on the education of technicians for the high-technology fields that drive our nation's economy. The program also promotes articulation between programs at two-year colleges and four-year colleges and universities--in particular, articulation between two-year and four-year programs for prospective teachers (with a focus on activities and disciplines that have a strong technological foundation) and between two-year and four-year programs in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (also with a focus on disciplines that have a strong technological foundation).

Collaboratives for Excellence in Teacher Preparation (CETP), which promoted large-scale systemic projects designed to significantly change teacher education programs on a state or regional basis and serve as comprehensive national models, is no longer an active program. In the past, the collaboratives featured creative design in both content and method of teaching courses and curricula in mathematics and science. Collaboratives must include the leadership and participation of faculty members in science, mathematics, and engineering departments in collaboration with colleagues in education departments and in the K-12 community.

Course and Curriculum Development (CCD) projects emphasized the development of introductory-level courses for science and non-science majors. The CCD program has been replaced by the Course, Curriculum, and Laboratory Improvement (CCLI) program. CCLI grants continue to provide for the development, adaptation, implementation, and dissemination of projects that are designed to improve curricula, laboratory experiences, and educational practices in undergraduate science, mathematics, engineering, and technology (SMET) courses. CCLI encompasses SMET education for all students and targets activities affecting learning environment, content, and educational practices. The program consists of three components: Educational Materials Development; Adaptation and Implementation (of exemplary materials, laboratory experiences, and educational practices), and National Dissemination. Although CCLI does not solicit proposals for the sort of single-workshop faculty enhancement projects previously supported by the UFE program, CCLI does encourage projects that offer multidisciplinary professional development for faculty nationwide through workshops, short courses, or related activities.

The Undergraduate Faculty Enhancement (UFE) program had the twofold purpose of training undergraduate instructors and adapting and disseminating courses and materials that were developed by DUE's curriculum and laboratory improvement program. In addition, the UFE also supported the formation of regional coalitions between two and four year institutions. UFE projects were most often conducted at the regional or national level, and were often designed as workshops or short "hands-on" courses to enhance the performance of undergraduate faculty. They addressed topical areas drawn from all fields of science, mathematics, technology, and engineering that are typically supported by NSF. These short-term events held for instructors were followed up by longer-term activities that were designed to encourage dialogue among individuals who had participated in program activities and among institutions of higher learning. The UFE program has been replaced by the CCLI program.

NSF Division of Research, Evaluation, and Communication (REC)

The Division of Research, Evaluation, and Communication (REC) contributes to the broad field of educational research and improvement by funding projects through grants, contracts, and cooperative agreements. It also provides conceptual and technical assistance to various EHR programs and principal investigators, through project and program evaluation, dissemination and implementation of knowledge and effective practices, and the utilization of technology in education. Currently, REC includes the Research on Learning in Education (ROLE) program, the Evaluation Program, and the Interagency Education Research Inititiative. (IERI)

REC's Evaluation Program oversees the evaluation of the science, mathematics, engineering, and technology (SMET) education programs of NSF and coordinates the evaluation of corresponding NSF initiatives with other Federal agencies. Evaluation program staff also work closely with education program staff to facilitate program monitoring and accountability.

U.S. Department of Education Technology Grants

The Technology Innovation Challenge Grant Program, funded by the Office of Educational Research and Improvement, helps local communities meet the educational needs of their students through the development of new applications and creative ways to use technology for learning. Local communities are challenged to form partnerships of schools districts, colleges, universities and private businesses to accomplish their goals.