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After one year of implementation, the Institute for Chemistry Literacy through Computational Science, an NSF Mathematics and Science Partnership Institute Project led by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s Department of Chemistry, College of Medicine, and National Center for Supercomputing Applications, experienced statistically significant gains in chemistry content knowledge among students of the rural high school teachers participating in its intensive, year-round professional development course, compared to a control group. The project utilizes a two-cohort, delayed-treatment, random control trial, quasi-experimental research design with the second cohort entering treatment one year following the first. The three-year treatment includes intensive two-week summer institutes, occasional school year workshops and year-round, on-line collaborative lesson development, resource sharing, and expert support. The means of student pre-test scores for Cohort I (η=963) and Cohort II (η=862) teachers were not significantly different. The mean gain (difference between pre-test and post-test scores) after seven months in the classroom for Cohort I was 9.8 percentage points, compared to 6.7 percentage points for Cohort II. This statistically significant difference (p<.001) represented an effect size of .25 standard deviation units, and indicated unusually early confirmation of treatment effects. When post-tests were compared, Cohort I students scored significantly higher than Cohort II and supported the gain score differences. The impact of these results on treatment and research plans is discussed. concentrating on the effect of lessening rural teachers’ isolation and increasing access to tools to facilitate learning.





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