Examining an Innovative Approach to Supporting Science Teachers Practice Towards Three-Dimensional Learning Goals through Adapting Classroom Assessment Tasks

This collaborative project will conduct early stage research on promising advances in how we prepare science teachers to support three-dimensional science learning as outlined in the Framework for Science Education. The project aims to demonstrate the effectiveness of a new approach to designing support tools and professional development focused on adapting classroom assessments that achieves these shifts in teachers' instructional vision and practice in less than 20 hours of professional development.

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This collaborative project will conduct early stage research on promising advances in how we prepare science teachers to support three-dimensional science learning as outlined in the Framework for Science Education (National Research Council, 2012). In order to achieve the new goals for science teaching and learning aimed for in current standards reforms, there is a need for radically new models of professional development of science teachers. While prior research has identified that 80-100 hours of professional development is necessary for teachers to change their instructional vision and practice to align with the Next Generation Science Standards, most states and districts who are adopting the new standards do not have the resources to support teacher preparation to this extent. This project aims to demonstrate the effectiveness of a new approach to designing support tools and professional development focused on adapting classroom assessments that achieves these shifts in teachers' instructional vision and practice in less than 20 hours of professional development. The team will also discern the contributions to changes in teachers' instructional vision when teachers only use the support tools versus using the tools in the context of the full professional development model. Evidence of effectiveness of this high leverage approach to teacher preparation focused on adapting classroom assessments is important in order to develop scalable solutions to the significant science teacher professional development need created by the recent adoption of the Next Generation Science Standards by 28 states and numerous other districts.

The project will conduct a two-iteration comparative research study that explores differences in outcomes between science teachers who use only the support tools as resources to adapt classroom tasks versus those who use the tools as part of a two-day professional development experience. The outcomes include changes in teachers' instructional vision related to three-dimensional science learning as measured by a teacher vision survey and teacher interviews, and improvements in the quality of teachers' adapted assessment tasks as determined by a rubric-based analysis and observations of the professional development sessions. Data analysis will follow a conjecture-mapping strategy to compare changes over time within and across groups in order to evaluate hypothesized links between design features of the tools and professional development models, mediating processes, and outcomes. Findings of this study will provide evidence to inform instructional leaders and designs for science teacher preparation, and lead to future development and research in this area.

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