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Current and Past Research at Falk

If you are a researcher interested in implementing a study at Falk, please email the chairs of the research committee, Dr. Laura Tomokiyo or Ms. Leah Northrop, with a short description of your project and your IRB attached. Researchers with general questions may also email the research committee.

Teaching Grammar in the Primary School Foreign Language Classroom: A Concept-Based Approach
  • Kristin Davin, Loyola University Chicago
  • Diana Gomez, University of Pittsburgh

This study investigates a certain implementation of dynamic assessment, using specific mediation cues and exploring the impact of involving students in tracking of corrective feedback.  The study is integrated into normal classroom instruction for grade 6; students will receive the same content that they normally would but the teacher’s corrective responses will be more systematic than they ordinarily might and students in different sections will be involved differently in the tracking of corrective feedback.  This study involves videotaped recordings consistent with the school’s consent and privacy practices.  

The DSCoVAR Project: Dynamic Support of Contextual Vocabulary Acquisition for Reading
  • Kevyn Collins-Thompson, University of Michigan
  • Gwen Frishkoff, Georgia State University
  • Charles Perfetti, University of Pittsburgh

DSCoVAR ("Discover") is a three-year project funded by the U.S. Dept. of Education whose goal is to develop effective tools for helping middle-school students learn new words from context. Researchers have developed a Web-based intelligent tutoring system comprising two main parts.  First, it teaches students strategies they can use when they see a word they don't recognize. The study will help to understand which strategies lead to most effective learning. Second, it has interactive training sessions that students can use to practice these strategies. The data gathered from this study will help researchers understand how middle-school students learn new words from context, and which strategies and conditions are most effective.

Screening Children's Auditory Skills - Ages 5-12
  • Deborah Moncrieff, University of Pittsburgh

Problems understanding speech interferes with development of good language skills.  Poor language skills can lead to problems with communication, learning, reading, and social interactions.  The purpose of this study is to screen children for a common auditory weakness that has been linked to problems with learning and reading.  One goal is to learn how common this problem is in children in general. A second goal is to measure how common it is among children who have already been identified with a language or learning disability.

Understanding the Nature of Mentor Teacher Feedback about Literacy Instruction - Grade 2
  • Maria Genest, University of Pittsburgh

his comparative case study examines how mentor teachers support pre-service teachers in literacy instruction as they are apprenticed into the profession. Using the read-aloud practice as an entry point, written feedback and verbal feedback conferences will be analyzed to provide insights into pre-service teachers' learning and teaching opportunities within field placement classrooms.

Instruction of Discovery - Kindergarten
  • Audrey Kittredge and Helen Chao, Carnegie Mellon University

This study examines how children learn and make discoveries in the domain of science learning, investigating the effect of different teaching styles on young children's experimentation.  Children in this study will play a brief, entertaining game.  In the game, children will explore what makes a box light up and play music in an interactive game on a touch screen tablet.  The researchers seek to answer several questions:  When children spontaneously experiment with objects during exploration are they aware that these experiments provide them with important insights?  What kind of instruction will increase children's ability and motivation to engage in scientific investigations?  The results of this research may reveal the ability of different instructional techniques to encourage important 21st century skills - independent exploration and experimentation.