National Centre for Improving Student Learning and Achievement in Mathematics and Science (NCISLA)

The University of Wisconsin - Madison †

Director: Thomas P. Carpenter


The University of Wisconsin, US Department of Education


Working with teachers and schools, Center researchers conduct long-term, in-class studies to identify the many ways K-12 students learn mathematics and science ideas with understanding. The center focuses on the following areas: student reasoning, mathematics and science instruction, student assessment, teacher professional development, and school features that support learning and achievement.


The NCISLA, consisting of some 20 researchers, is a nationally coordinated research program working with teachers and diverse student populations to advance effective reform of K-12 mathematics and science and to develop new mathematics and science learning environments and professional development models.


Freudenthal Institute, UCLA, UMass Ė Dartmouth, University of Miami, Peabody College, Wisconsin Center for Education Research

Guiding Principles

Improving mathematics and science education requires a solid research base about ways in which instruction can be improved.

K-12 Research

Across grades K-12, researchers focus on ways that students investigate, model, discuss, and understand increasingly sophisticated mathematics and science concepts. The center currently runs seven K-12 projects: Algebraic Reasoning in the Elementary Grades, Classroom Assessment as the Basis for Teacher Change, Statistics in the Middle Grades, Modeling for Understanding in Science Education, Cross-site Analyses of District and School Organizational Contexts, Task Force Synthesizing Research in Mathematics, Science and Diversity, and The Communication Program.


The center produced a wide range of publication many of which outline the centerís long-term research results. See

Professional Development

Center researchers collaborate with schools and teachers to create and study instructional approaches that support and improve student understanding of mathematics and science. The centerís resources for teachers are listed online at

Project Management Plan

The center consists of some twenty researchers, five of whom function as a directorate and an advisory board.

Formative Evaluation Plans


Timeline of Project Activities