Critical Appraisal to Improve Neuroscience Education (CAINE)

Project: Research project

Project Details


DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): This Science Education Drug Abuse Partnership Award (SEDAPA) application seeks to create, evaluate, and disseminate new teaching materials centered on neuroscience and the biology of drug abuse and addiction. Entitled Critical Appraisal to Improve Neuroscience Education (CAINE), this project will take place in the context of teacher professional development. Teacher and scientist teams will adapt principles of critical appraisal, a method for evaluating published scientific reports, to create plain language versions and make neuroscience more accessible to their students. The core content of this proposal utilizes information from neuroscience translational and patient-oriented clinical research as examples to create lessons to effectively teach science, math, technology, and health principles at the middle school level. The Teacher Enrichment Initiatives (TEI) Program is a growing interdisciplinary partnership between the scientists of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSCSA) and educators from San Antonio, TX. The TEI Program has produced a set of freely available classroom-ready instructional materials that meet the NIDA SEDAPA overall goal `to provide public education and outreach related to NIH- funded research to a variety of audiences, including K-12 students.'Through our scientist-educator partnerships, we propose to develop and evaluate the innovative CAINE Program to enhance neuroscience and biology of drug abuse and addiction knowledge among middle school teachers and students. Novice science teachers (1-5 years of classroom experience) from majority minority school districts will be recruited to participate. Expected improvements in science literacy will emphasize understanding the processes of biomedical research and the ability to evaluate the quality of research studies reported in the media. To meet the NIDA goal, the CAINE Project set three specific aims. Aim A develops new educational materials that adapt concepts from critical appraisal of the literature to translate research reports into forms that middle school students may evaluate. Using tools created by the scientist-educator teams, students will appraise plain language versions of research articles and compare them to accompanying media reports to ascertain accuracy of science reporting. These educational materials will increase student knowledge about NIDA focus areas, improve science literacy as assessed by student ability to search for and evaluate research reports, improve student knowledge about biomedical research and study design, and change attitudes toward science. Aim B utilizes our partnerships to qualitatively and quantitatively assess teacher professional development through measures of self-efficacy, classroom observations, and ability to create and evaluate new teaching materials, career trajectory, and continuing professional education. Aim C disseminates the curriculum through the website, conference presentations, and published findings in peer-reviewed journals. PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE STATEMENT: The CAINE Project's main goal is to provide new, effective teaching materials based on examples from the neurosciences and the biology of drug abuse and addiction. Scientists will work with teachers to create the new lessons;the teachers will improve their ability to instruct their students. Middle school students who use CAINE Project lessons will learn more about science, math, health, and the methods used to conduct research and will be better informed to make decisions for maintaining and improving their own health.
Effective start/end date4/1/093/31/14


  • National Institutes of Health: $254,921.00
  • National Institutes of Health: $251,574.00
  • National Institutes of Health: $263,655.00
  • National Institutes of Health: $258,401.00


  • Medicine(all)


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