Administrators

Testing a Professional Development Model for High School Science Reform and the Relationship of Key Variables to Student Achievement

This project tests the efficacy of an intensive, three year professional development program, the BSCS National Academy for Curriculum Leadership (NACL) on student science achievement in the state of Washington. The goal of the NACL is to develop the capacity of district-based secondary science leadership teams to sustain the implementation of research-based science instructional materials that promote improvement in teaching and learning.

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
1316202
Funding Period: 
Sun, 09/15/2013 to Mon, 08/31/2015
Full Description: 

This project conducted by the Biological Sciences Curriculum Study(BSCS) tests the efficacy of an intensive, three year professional development program, the BSCS National Academy for Curriculum Leadership (NACL) on student science achievement in the state of Washington. The goal of the NACL is to develop the capacity of district-based secondary science leadership teams to sustain the implementation of research-based science instructional materials that promote improvement in teaching and learning. This study examines the influence of the program on student achievement after the schools and districts have had sufficient time for the effects to take hold.

The project uses existing data gathered from two cohorts of Washington-based NACL teams and archived student achievement data from Washington State?s Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI). Additional data are collected NACL-participating districts and personnel through surveys and interviews. The project compares student achievement between the 27 districts that participated in the NACL, and a minimum of 27 carefully matched, non-NACL districts using propensity-scoring methodology. Districts have experienced different dosages of the NACL, and the project examines the differential effects of being involved in the NACL over time.

This research study provides an opportunity for multiple stakeholders including NSF, other corporate foundations that have funded the development and implementation of the NACL, BSCS, and participating school districts to determine the extent to which professional development promotes the improvement student science achievement results. The broader impact of the research is testing the extent to which basic elements of teacher professional development models correlate with student achievement and to do so in a way that could be replicated by others in similar contexts. The proposed work would inform educators about the research-based approaches to professional development that has evidence of efficacy. Moreover, by determining the time-scales by which professional development programs might be shown to influence student achievement, the findings provide new information to policymakers and researchers regarding the amount of time that could be required to see a positive impact from new educational policies and programs.

Building Capacity for Science Standards Through Networked Improvement Communities

This project brings together teams of teachers, teacher educators, administrators, and researchers to inquire into the development of ambitious and equitable practices that support learning the scientific practices and creating scaffolds for the special language demands of the scientific practices, particularly for English Language Learners.

Lead Organization(s): 
Partner Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
1315995
Funding Period: 
Tue, 10/01/2013 to Wed, 09/30/2015
Full Description: 

The college and career readiness standards in science represent both a challenge and an opportunity for educators. The opportunity lies in the vision that new standards set for the creation of a STEM ready workforce and scientifically literate citizens. Specifically, the standards clarify important content and science practices that students should be proficient in by the time they graduate. The bar is set higher for students, not only in terms of the content and practices but also in terms of the inherent linguistic demands of participating in the practices. Consequently, more will be required of teachers, teacher educators and the broader education community.

This project brings together teams of teachers, teacher educators, administrators, and researchers to inquire into the development of ambitious and equitable practices that support learning the scientific practices (such as developing and using scientific models, and building evidence-based scientific explanations and arguments, communicating findings, etc.) and creating scaffolds for the special language demands of the scientific practices, particularly for English Language Learners (Lee, Quinn & Valdés, 2013). The researchers are implementing a model for change referred to as a Networked Improvement Community, or NIC (Bryk, Gomez & Grunow, 2011). This community will link Local Improvement Networks (LINs are groups of teachers, teacher educators, administrators and researchers) through a web-based technological infrastructure to support the continual improvement of rigorous and equitable forms of classroom instruction. The LINs are all working with high English Language Learner populations and are committed to improving science instruction for all students. The investigators are helping LINs define a problem space using the standards, performance progressions for ambitious teaching practices, and data on students' performance on assessments. As a community, the investigators use these resources to ask: What works? For whom? And under what conditions? More than just sharing tools or training teacher developers, the NIC is engaged in rapid prototyping of tools and practices with a specific focus on improving instruction for English Language Learners. The Networked Improvement Community affords the opportunity for members to share and empirically test tools and other curricular resources so that productive variations of practices and tools can be generated. The system will accelerate the development of both teaching practices and professional learning models aligned with the college and career ready standards in science and understanding how to develop and sustain NICs that are oriented specifically around the improvement of instruction.

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