Center for Advancing Research and Communication in STEM

Advancing the quality and use of evidence for educational policy and practice, ARC was funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to support education research focused on core scientific questions about learning in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The Center also conducts research and provides technical assistance in support of over 300 STEM investigators across the U.S. funded by NSF’s Research and Evaluation on Education in Science and Engineering (REESE) program as they work to improve instruction, and learning, in and outside of formal classroom settings. Working closely with REESE investigators and other NSF support centers, ARC’s mission is to build capacity to:

  • Produce rigorous evidence of what works to improve STEM instruction and learning
  • Encourage discovery and innovation across disciplines and institutions
  • Accumulate, synthesize, and disseminate findings to stakeholders

Research Topics

Center investigators’ research interests include:

  • Establishing principles for educational research accounting for judgments and evidence
  • Developing criteria for establishing the rigor of investigations at all stages of the research and development cycle
  • Determining and measuring meaningful effect sizes
  • Identifying and addressing factors that impede and strategies that enhance knowledge accumulation
  • Establishing the broader impacts of both individual research investigations and broad and diverse portfolios of funded research
  • Investigating educational links among transitions between formal schooling and careers in STEM
  • Encouraging women, minorities, and other underrepresented groups to pursue education and careers in STEM


Promoting awareness of the REESE program and its contributions to STEM learning.

ARC makes available via the Center’s website descriptions of the work undertaken by current and former REESE projects.  To ensure consistency in the descriptions of each project’s key characteristics and major outcomes, ARC asks REESE investigators to provide information about their projects via a Structured Abstract form. Learn moreextlink

Building the capacity of REESE projects to produce and disseminate rigorous research.

ARC provides technical assistance on research methods and analysis; assists projects in sharing and archiving measures, instrumentation, and data; offers workshops and convenes sessions for PI meetings; organizes symposia to highlight REESE findings at scientific and professional meetings; and implements and evaluates activities to increase awareness, accessibility, and use of knowledge and innovations arising from the REESE program. Learn moreextlink

Providing resources for designing interventions to identify effects on learning and instruction in specific locales: the Web VA.

Assigning classrooms and schools to treatment conditions is increasingly common in education research. ARC provides online access to information from the Variance Almanac of Academic Achievement (developed by ARC Co-Principal Investigator Larry V. Hedges and NORC Research Scientist Eric Hedberg) needed to ensure adequate statistical power in such cluster randomized trials. Learn moreextlink

ARC Research

Expertise and sensitivity to research problems are strengthened when investigators offering technical assistance are actively pursuing closely-related research agendas. ARC’s research initiatives are designed both to advance the mission of the REESE program and to inform the technical assistance services we provide to the REESE community. Learn moreextlink

ARC Board of Science Advisors

ARC’s Board of Science Advisors include STEM experts from Michigan State University and research universities in the Chicago area who join ARC investigators and staff in providing technical assistance to REESE projects, and advise ARC on the development, provision, and evaluation of other services to the REESE community. Learn moreextlink