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Stimulated by the Office of Astronomy Development, its annual call for project proposals, and other initiatives outside of this pathway, the number of astronomy education projects is growing.  In order to make the most of this expansion, the Working Group seeks to take a scientific approach to the development and evaluation of these efforts.  Such an approach requires adequate empirical research into the educational tools, models, and assessment methods used in astronomy education across international settings.  As such the Working Group seeks to enhance astronomy education research by developing international astronomy education research capacity, research collaborations, and an astronomy education research agenda, with the intention that this work will result in a modern conception of the ways in which teaching and learning can effectively happen in the context of astronomy. As first steps, the Working Group commits to three goals: 

  1. Promoting Astronomy Education Research (AER) by adopting the international collaboration model used astronomy researchers,  

  2. Fostering international astronomy education and AER capacity through the development of networks, training and shared resources, and    

  3. Improving astronomy education by describing research based approaches to the teaching and learning of astronomy.

 In service of these goals, the Working Group commits to two immediate tasks:

  1. Promote, in different regions and continents, surveys, literature reviews and summary reviews of scholarly production that already exists on PhD and MSc Thesis, Published Papers in Journals and Proceedings of Meetings on Physics and Science Education, and

  2. The organization of a series of symposia and conferences in astronomy education research, to include structured networking, collaborative research sessions, methodological and publishing workshops, and the presentation of works of interest.

Products from these beginning steps will be a result of collaborations in the diverse body of astronomy education researchers.  In the near term these products will include:

  1. The production of works that describe the nature of the existing literature in the field, and

  2. The production of works describing the range of methods and findings found in the international research database, across a variety of constructs, including subject matter, instructional settings, audiences, and cognitive processes.

From these products the Working Group will be able to create documents that describe:

  1. Research based practices in astronomy education, and

  2. A research agenda for the international astronomy education community.

Additional partners are welcome.