The educational foundations of this CRYSTAL are the recognition that student success is a function of "Risk Factors" which have a negative impact on student success, and "Protective Factors" which have a positive impact. The combined effect of these factors is "resiliency", so that the aim of this CRYSTAL is to increase resiliency by first recognizing risk and protective factors and second, minimizing risk factors and optimizing protective factors. These factors reside within a number of nested "systems": (A) learners themselves as dynamic "systems"; (B) interaction of learners with their immediate environment as a second "system; (C) interaction of learners with their local community as a third system; and (D) the interaction of learners with the global environment as a fourth "system" This CRYSTAL concentrates on increasing resiliency in each of these four systems, although it is recognized that the systems are themselves dynamically interactive. Research will be conducted across cultural (Anglophone, Francophone and Aboriginal) and geographical (urban, rural and northern) gradients. Individual initiatives within this framework are collaborative efforts of scientists and science educators from the Universities of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Regina, and Saskatchewan, Brandon and Lakehead Universities, and Collège universitaire de Saint-Boniface. Within the four systems above, the research will focus on increasing resiliency and optimizing success in science and mathematics.
Sixteen individual projects have been identified, with each focusing on one of the four "systems". Each system has a main focus that addresses a particular question:
For System A: How do attributes of the learner combine to impede, contribute to, and sustain personal science and mathematics success?
For System B: How do attributes of the classroom and school community combine to impede, contribute to, and sustain science and mathematics success?
For System C: How do the attributes of the local community contribute to the development and success in science and mathematics for students?
For System D: What is the impact of direct involvement with global environmental issues on student attitudes and success in science?
New and existing interventions to increase residency in each system will be implemented and monitored, and success will be assessed through studies of learner trajectories.