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Regional Educational Laboratory - Southeast

The Regional Educational Laboratory – Southeast (REL-SE) is one of 10 regional research labs sponsored by the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) at the U.S. Department of Education. Each lab is tasked with conducting research and providing technical assistance to respond to the specific needs of their region. The REL-SE covers Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama, North Carolina, and South Carolina.


REL Southeast is located at Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida, under the direction of Dr. Barbara Foorman ( IRG is one of REL-SE partners and is tasked with executing the following projects.


REL-SE Activities and Projects conducted by IRG


1. Mathematics Alliance


IRG leads the Improving Mathematics Instruction Research Alliance of the Regional Educational Laboratory – Southeast. The alliance includes key education policymakers, practitioners, and researchers from Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, and South Carolina, and focuses on improving mathematics outcomes for students in K-12 schools in the Southeast.


Major alliance activities include:


  • creating opportunities for key education policymakers, practitioners, and researchers to meet regularly to discuss mathematics instruction

  • tracking problems as they emerge in terms of implementation of new state standards and assessments

  • disseminating new and emerging research in the field of mathematics instruction through Bridge Events and workshops

  • conducting professional development events on algebra readiness and related topics to help translate current research into successful classroom practices

  • developing a practitioner-friendly Research Digest that summarizes high quality research on the mathematics professional development


Russell Gersten is the Director of the alliance and Mary Jo Taylor is the Alliance Manager. 



2. Impact of Professional Development in Fractions: A Randomized Controlled Trial


Project Title: The Impact of Professional Development in Fractions for Fourth Grade Teachers on Student Achievement and Teacher Knowledge in Georgia, South Carolina, and Florida


Purpose: The purpose of this Regional Educational Laboratory – Southeast study is to assess the impact of the Developing Mathematical Ideas (DMI) professional development module for fractions on (a) student achievement and (b) teacher knowledge when implemented with fourth grade teachers. The Principal Investigator for this study is Russell Gersten; the co-Principal Investigator is Madhavi Jayanthi.


Design: This study is a multi-site cluster randomized trial, where schools will be randomly assigned within school districts. The study will take place in eight districts across three states (Georgia, South Carolina, and Florida). Eighty-four schools will be matched to form 42 pairs. One school from each matched pair will be randomly assigned to the DMI condition. Fourth grade teachers in each participating school and their students will form the sample for the study. Teachers in treatment schools will receive the DMI professional development in fractions. The professional development sessions will focus on the following DMI module: Making Meaning for Operations: In the Domain of Whole Numbers and Fractions. Treatment teachers will receive a total of 24 hours of professional development divided into eight 3-hour units presented over four days (6 hours each), with accompanying preparation assignments for each unit. Teachers in the control condition will continue to receive the professional development offered by the school and district, and will not participate in or have access to the DMI professional development.


Timeline: 2014-2015


Published Title: Impact of the Developing Mathematical Ideas Professional Development Program on Grade 4 Students’ and Teachers’ Understanding of Fractions

Published Year: 2017

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3. Response to Intervention in Reading: Research Digest


Project Title: RtI in Reading in Grades 1-3: A Rigorous Review of the Research and Implications for Enhancing Current Practice


Purpose: As part of the Improving Literacy Research Alliance of the REL-SE, this Research Digest aims to update the literature review conducted for the What Works Clearinghouse practice guide, Assisting Students Struggling with Reading: Response to Intervention (RtI) and Multi-Tier Intervention in the Primary Grades in order to support alliance members in their work to improve literacy outcomes for students in Grades 1 through 3 who are at risk of reading difficulties. The Digest will help educators focus on effective approaches in RtI in reading and consider ways to enhance and refine current RtI practices in reading. The Principal Investigator is Russell Gersten; the co- Principal Investigators are Rebecca Newman-Gonchar and Kelly Haymond.


Design: This WWC systematic review includes an exhaustive search of the literature, published since the adoption of NCLB in 2002, to identify all studies that include students in Grades 1–3 and that focus on reading interventions for students at risk of reading difficulties. Relevant studies that meet screening criteria will be reviewed by WWC-certified reviewers to evaluate the rigor of the studies and the effectiveness of the interventions. Those studies that meet standards will be summarized in a practitioner-friendly Digest.


Timeline: 2015-2016

Published Title: What is the evidence base to support reading interventions for improving student outcomes in grades 1–3?


Published Year: 2017

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