Teachers

Developing and Evaluating Assessments of Problem-Solving in Computer Adaptive Testing Environments (Collaborative Research: Bostic)

The Common Core State Standards for Mathematics (CCSSM) problem-solving measures assess students’ problem-solving performance within the context of CCSSM math content and practices. This project expands the scope of the problem-solving measures use and score interpretation. The project work advances mathematical problem-solving assessments into computer adaptive testing. Computer adaptive testing allows for more precise and efficient targeting of student ability compared to static tests.

Lead Organization(s): 
Partner Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
2100988
Funding Period: 
Sun, 08/01/2021 to Fri, 07/31/2026
Full Description: 

Problem solving has been a priority within K-12 mathematics education for over four decades and is reflected throughout the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics (CCSSM) initiative, which have been adopted in some form by 41 states. Broadly defined, problem solving involves the mathematical practices in which students engage as they solve intellectually-challenging mathematical tasks. In prior research, problem-solving measures aligned to CCSSM for grades 3-5 were developed and validated to supplement previously established problem-solving measures in grades 6-8. The problem-solving measures assess students’ problem-solving performance within the context of CCSSM math content and practices. This project expands the scope of the problem-solving measures use and score interpretation. The project work advances mathematical problem-solving assessments into computer adaptive testing. Computer adaptive testing allows for more precise and efficient targeting of student ability compared to static tests. Few measures designed to assess students’ mathematical problem-solving ability use this technology. Shorter tests require less in-class time for assessment than current paper-pencil problem-solving measures and increase classroom instruction time. The computer-adaptive problem-solving measures have sufficient reliability and strong validity evidence, and may limit test-taker fatigue. Finally, the project will benchmark current grades 6-8 instruments using an objective standard-setting method, which allows for improved score interpretations with content-related feedback. Immediate results of student- and class-level reports will be produced through the computer adaptive testing system allowing for teachers to modify instruction to improve students’ learning.

This five-year project aims to advance the use of computer adaptive testing and assessment development for use in mathematics instruction. The project applies an iterative and stakeholder-informed design science-based methodology as well as employs the use of Rasch modeling for the psychometric analysis during item development and validation. The project aims to: (a) benchmark the previously established grades 6-8 problem-solving measures; (b) develop, calibrate, and validate criterion-referenced computer adaptive testing for each measure; (c) construct student- and class-level score reports for integration into the computer adaptive testing system; and (d) investigate teachers’ capacity for implementing, interpreting, and using the assessments and results in STEM learning settings. The project addresses the following set of research questions: (RQ1) What benchmark performance standards define different proficiency levels on problem-solving measures for each grade level? (RQ2) What are the psychometric properties of new problem-solving measures items developed for the computer adaptive testing item bank? (RQ3) Is there significant item drift across student populations on the new problem-solving measure items? (RQ4) To what extent are problem-solving measures item calibrations stable within the computer adaptive testing system? (RQ5) What recommendations for improvements do teachers and students have for the new problem-solving measures items, computer adaptive testing platform and reporting system, if any? (RQ6) To what extent do teachers interact with, perceive, and make sense of the assessment information generated for use in practice? and (RQ7) Does an online learning module build teacher capacity for problem solving measures, computer adaptive testing implementation, interpretation, and use of student assessment outcomes in STEM learning settings? An experimental design will be utilized to investigate teachers’ capacity for implementing, interpreting, and using problem solving measures in a computer adaptive testing system. The project has the potential to impact the field by providing school districts and researchers a means to assess students’ mathematical problem-solving performance at one time or growth over time efficiently and effectively; address future online learning needs; and improve classroom teaching through more precise information about students’ strengths with less class time focused on assessment.

Developing and Evaluating Assessments of Problem-Solving in Computer Adaptive Testing Environments (Collaborative Research: Sondergeld)

The Common Core State Standards for Mathematics (CCSSM) problem-solving measures assess students’ problem-solving performance within the context of CCSSM math content and practices. This project expands the scope of the problem-solving measures use and score interpretation. The project work advances mathematical problem-solving assessments into computer adaptive testing. Computer adaptive testing allows for more precise and efficient targeting of student ability compared to static tests.

Lead Organization(s): 
Partner Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
2101026
Funding Period: 
Sun, 08/01/2021 to Fri, 07/31/2026
Full Description: 

Problem solving has been a priority within K-12 mathematics education for over four decades and is reflected throughout the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics (CCSSM) initiative, which have been adopted in some form by 41 states. Broadly defined, problem solving involves the mathematical practices in which students engage as they solve intellectually-challenging mathematical tasks. In prior research, problem-solving measures aligned to CCSSM for grades 3-5 were developed and validated to supplement previously established problem-solving measures in grades 6-8. The problem-solving measures assess students’ problem-solving performance within the context of CCSSM math content and practices. This project expands the scope of the problem-solving measures use and score interpretation. The project work advances mathematical problem-solving assessments into computer adaptive testing. Computer adaptive testing allows for more precise and efficient targeting of student ability compared to static tests. Few measures designed to assess students’ mathematical problem-solving ability use this technology. Shorter tests require less in-class time for assessment than current paper-pencil problem-solving measures and increase classroom instruction time. The computer-adaptive problem-solving measures have sufficient reliability and strong validity evidence, and may limit test-taker fatigue. Finally, the project will benchmark current grades 6-8 instruments using an objective standard-setting method, which allows for improved score interpretations with content-related feedback. Immediate results of student- and class-level reports will be produced through the computer adaptive testing system allowing for teachers to modify instruction to improve students’ learning.

This five-year project aims to advance the use of computer adaptive testing and assessment development for use in mathematics instruction. The project applies an iterative and stakeholder-informed design science-based methodology as well as employs the use of Rasch modeling for the psychometric analysis during item development and validation. The project aims to: (a) benchmark the previously established grades 6-8 problem-solving measures; (b) develop, calibrate, and validate criterion-referenced computer adaptive testing for each measure; (c) construct student- and class-level score reports for integration into the computer adaptive testing system; and (d) investigate teachers’ capacity for implementing, interpreting, and using the assessments and results in STEM learning settings. The project addresses the following set of research questions: (RQ1) What benchmark performance standards define different proficiency levels on problem-solving measures for each grade level? (RQ2) What are the psychometric properties of new problem-solving measures items developed for the computer adaptive testing item bank? (RQ3) Is there significant item drift across student populations on the new problem-solving measure items? (RQ4) To what extent are problem-solving measures item calibrations stable within the computer adaptive testing system? (RQ5) What recommendations for improvements do teachers and students have for the new problem-solving measures items, computer adaptive testing platform and reporting system, if any? (RQ6) To what extent do teachers interact with, perceive, and make sense of the assessment information generated for use in practice? and (RQ7) Does an online learning module build teacher capacity for problem solving measures, computer adaptive testing implementation, interpretation, and use of student assessment outcomes in STEM learning settings? An experimental design will be utilized to investigate teachers’ capacity for implementing, interpreting, and using problem solving measures in a computer adaptive testing system. The project has the potential to impact the field by providing school districts and researchers a means to assess students’ mathematical problem-solving performance at one time or growth over time efficiently and effectively; address future online learning needs; and improve classroom teaching through more precise information about students’ strengths with less class time focused on assessment.

Education and Experience: Do Teacher Qualifications in Career-Focused STEM Courses Make a Difference?

Using high school statewide longitudinal data from Maryland from 2012-2022, this study will first document who has taught STEM-CTE courses over this period. After exploring the teaching landscape, the study will then explore whether qualifications (i.e., education, credentials, teaching experience) of teachers in STEM-CTE high school courses were associated with their students’ success.

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
2101163
Funding Period: 
Sun, 08/01/2021 to Mon, 07/31/2023
Full Description: 

When high school students take “STEM-CTE” (i.e., career and technical education courses in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields), they have much stronger outcomes across the school-to-college/career pipeline, including lower dropout rates and better attendance in high school, stronger math achievement in 12th grade, and higher odds of pursuing advanced STEM courses in high school and college. Growing teacher research shows that teachers matter for students’ success, particularly in STEM. In particular, research has established that teacher education and credentials in STEM fields, as well as years of classroom teaching experiences are key teacher factors in supporting student outcomes. However, there has been limited prior research regarding (a) who teaches STEM-CTE courses and (b) whether the benefits of these courses and pathways are driven or influenced by specific characteristics of STEM-CTE teachers. This project will aim to explore these questions.

Using high school statewide longitudinal data from Maryland from 2012-2022, this study will first document who has taught STEM-CTE courses over this period. The dataset includes approximately 5,000 unique teacher observations and approximately 500,000 unique student observations. After exploring the teaching landscape, the study will then explore whether qualifications (i.e., education, credentials, teaching experience) of teachers in STEM-CTE high school courses were associated with their students’ success. Indicators of success in the dataset include end-of-course grades, STEM-CTE concentration/industry-recognized credentialing, advanced STEM coursetaking (e.g., honors, AP, IB, dual-enrollment), STEM standardized test scores, math SAT/ACT scores, attendance/suspension rates, on-time graduation, and reduced dropout. Data analysis includes multivariate regression analyses, supplemented with tests for nonrandom sorting of teachers to students.

Supporting Teacher Customizations of Curriculum Materials for Equitable Student Sensemaking in Secondary Science (Collaborative Researcher: Reiser)

This project is developing and researching customization tools to support teachers’ instructional shifts to achieve equitable sensemaking in middle school science classrooms. These tools will help teachers to better notice and leverage the ideas and experiences of non-dominant students to support all students in equitable sensemaking.

Lead Organization(s): 
Partner Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
2101377
Funding Period: 
Thu, 07/01/2021 to Mon, 06/30/2025
Full Description: 

This project is developing and researching tools to support teachers’ instructional shifts to achieve equitable sensemaking in middle school science classrooms. Sensemaking involves students building and using science ideas to address questions and problems they identify, rather than solely learning about the science others have done. Despite it being a central goal of recent national policy documents, such meaningful engagement with science knowledge building remains elusive in many classrooms. Students from non-dominant communities frequently do not see themselves as “science people” because their ways of knowing and experiences are often not valued in science classrooms. Professional learning grounded in teachers’ use of innovative high quality curriculum materials can help teachers learn to teach in new ways. Yet teachers need guidance to customize curriculum materials to fit their own local contexts and leverage students’ ideas and experiences while maintaining the goals of recent policy documents. This project is researching and developing customization tools to support teachers in their principled use and adaptation of materials for their classrooms. These customization tools will help teachers to better notice and leverage the ideas and experiences of non-dominant students to support all students in equitable sensemaking. During the project, 74 teachers from diverse schools will participate in professional learning using these customization tools. After testing, the customization tools and illustrative cases will be disseminated broadly to support teachers enacting any science curriculum in leveraging the ideas and experiences that students bring into the classroom. In addition, the research results in the form of design principles will inform future design of curriculum materials and professional learning resources for science.

A key element in science education reform efforts includes shifting the epistemic and power structures in the classroom so that teachers and students work together to build knowledge. Research shows that shifts in science teaching are challenging for teachers. Researchers and practitioners have collaborated to develop curriculum materials that begin to support teachers in this work. But teachers need to interpret these materials and customize the tasks and strategies for their own context as they work with their own students. Curriculum enactment is not prescriptive, but rather a “participatory relationship” between the teacher, curriculum materials, students and context, where teachers interpret the materials and the goals of the reform, and customize them to adapt the tasks and activity structures to meet the needs and leverage the resources of their students. The field needs to better understand how teachers learn from and navigate this participatory relationship and what supports can aid in this work. This project will include design-based research examining teachers’ customization processes and the development of tools to support teachers in adapting curriculum materials for their specific school context to facilitate equitable science sensemaking for all students, where all students engage in ambitious science knowledge building. The major components of the research program will include: (1) Empirical study of teachers’ customization processes; (2) Theoretical model of teacher thinking and learning that underlies customization of curriculum materials; (3) Tools to support principled customization consistent with the goals of the reform; and (4) Empirical study of how tools influence teachers’ customization processes. The project is addressing the urgent need for scalable support for teacher learning for recent shifts in science education in relation to both a vision of figuring out and equity.

Supporting Teacher Customizations of Curriculum Materials for Equitable Student Sensemaking in Secondary Science (Collaborative Researcher: McNeill)

This project is developing and researching customization tools to support teachers’ instructional shifts to achieve equitable sensemaking in middle school science classrooms. These tools will help teachers to better notice and leverage the ideas and experiences of non-dominant students to support all students in equitable sensemaking.

Lead Organization(s): 
Partner Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
2101384
Funding Period: 
Thu, 07/01/2021 to Mon, 06/30/2025
Full Description: 

This project is developing and researching tools to support teachers’ instructional shifts to achieve equitable sensemaking in middle school science classrooms. Sensemaking involves students building and using science ideas to address questions and problems they identify, rather than solely learning about the science others have done. Despite it being a central goal of recent national policy documents, such meaningful engagement with science knowledge building remains elusive in many classrooms. Students from non-dominant communities frequently do not see themselves as “science people” because their ways of knowing and experiences are often not valued in science classrooms. Professional learning grounded in teachers’ use of innovative high quality curriculum materials can help teachers learn to teach in new ways. Yet teachers need guidance to customize curriculum materials to fit their own local contexts and leverage students’ ideas and experiences while maintaining the goals of recent policy documents. This project is researching and developing customization tools to support teachers in their principled use and adaptation of materials for their classrooms. These customization tools will help teachers to better notice and leverage the ideas and experiences of non-dominant students to support all students in equitable sensemaking. During the project, 74 teachers from diverse schools will participate in professional learning using these customization tools. After testing, the customization tools and illustrative cases will be disseminated broadly to support teachers enacting any science curriculum in leveraging the ideas and experiences that students bring into the classroom. In addition, the research results in the form of design principles will inform future design of curriculum materials and professional learning resources for science.

A key element in science education reform efforts includes shifting the epistemic and power structures in the classroom so that teachers and students work together to build knowledge. Research shows that shifts in science teaching are challenging for teachers. Researchers and practitioners have collaborated to develop curriculum materials that begin to support teachers in this work. But teachers need to interpret these materials and customize the tasks and strategies for their own context as they work with their own students. Curriculum enactment is not prescriptive, but rather a “participatory relationship” between the teacher, curriculum materials, students and context, where teachers interpret the materials and the goals of the reform, and customize them to adapt the tasks and activity structures to meet the needs and leverage the resources of their students. The field needs to better understand how teachers learn from and navigate this participatory relationship and what supports can aid in this work. This project will include design-based research examining teachers’ customization processes and the development of tools to support teachers in adapting curriculum materials for their specific school context to facilitate equitable science sensemaking for all students, where all students engage in ambitious science knowledge building. The major components of the research program will include: (1) Empirical study of teachers’ customization processes; (2) Theoretical model of teacher thinking and learning that underlies customization of curriculum materials; (3) Tools to support principled customization consistent with the goals of the reform; and (4) Empirical study of how tools influence teachers’ customization processes. The project is addressing the urgent need for scalable support for teacher learning for recent shifts in science education in relation to both a vision of figuring out and equity.

Connecting Elementary Mathematics Teaching to Real-World Issues (Collaborative Research: Felton)

This project will engage students and teachers in rich, real-world math tasks; will support future teachers and mathematics educators in adapting, designing, and implementing similar tasks; and will provide a basis for further research on the most effective ways to design and implement real-world tasks in the mathematics classroom.

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
2101456
Funding Period: 
Thu, 07/01/2021 to Sun, 06/30/2024
Full Description: 

There are long-standing calls to make mathematics more meaningful, relevant, and applicable both inside and outside of the K-12 classroom. In particular, there is a growing recognition that mathematics is a valuable tool for helping students understand important real-world issues that affect their lives and society. Further, mathematics can support students in becoming mathematically literate and engaged democratic citizens. Despite the increased interest in connecting mathematics to real-world issues in the classroom, many teachers feel unprepared to do so. This project will engage students and teachers in rich, real-world math tasks; will support future teachers and mathematics educators in adapting, designing, and implementing similar tasks; and will provide a basis for further research on the most effective ways to design and implement real-world tasks in the mathematics classroom.

The three goals of the Connecting Elementary Mathematics to the World project are: (1) To explore how mathematics teachers adapt, design, and enact tasks that connect mathematics to the real world. We will study the teaching practices of the project team as they engage in this work in two summer camps and in elementary classrooms at two sites. (2) To develop a collection of exemplar tasks and rich records of practice for each task. These records of practice will detail the mathematical and real-world learning goals, background knowledge needed for both goals, common student responses, and videos or vignettes of the task in progress. A team of six teachers at two sites will be recruited to collaborate with the team throughout the project. Teachers will provide input and feedback on the design of, appropriateness of, and relevance of the tasks and the support materials needed to implement the real-world tasks. Initial tasks will be field tested with elementary students and additional tasks will be developed for subsequent week-long summer camps and for teaching in elementary classrooms. (3) To research both the development and enactment of these tasks. We will develop a theoretical framework for creating and implementing real-world tasks that can inform future practice and research in this area. The research products of this project will result in (a) an understanding of effective teaching and design practices for connecting mathematics to real-world issues, (b) a theoretical framework of how these practices are interconnected, and (c) how these practices differ from practices when teaching typical school mathematics tasks.

Connecting Elementary Mathematics Teaching to Real-World Issues (Collaborative Research: Thanheiser)

This project will engage students and teachers in rich, real-world math tasks; will support future teachers and mathematics educators in adapting, designing, and implementing similar tasks; and will provide a basis for further research on the most effective ways to design and implement real-world tasks in the mathematics classroom.

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
2101463
Funding Period: 
Thu, 07/01/2021 to Sun, 06/30/2024
Full Description: 

There are long-standing calls to make mathematics more meaningful, relevant, and applicable both inside and outside of the K-12 classroom. In particular, there is a growing recognition that mathematics is a valuable tool for helping students understand important real-world issues that affect their lives and society. Further, mathematics can support students in becoming mathematically literate and engaged democratic citizens. Despite the increased interest in connecting mathematics to real-world issues in the classroom, many teachers feel unprepared to do so. This project will engage students and teachers in rich, real-world math tasks; will support future teachers and mathematics educators in adapting, designing, and implementing similar tasks; and will provide a basis for further research on the most effective ways to design and implement real-world tasks in the mathematics classroom.

The three goals of the Connecting Elementary Mathematics to the World project are: (1) To explore how mathematics teachers adapt, design, and enact tasks that connect mathematics to the real world. We will study the teaching practices of the project team as they engage in this work in two summer camps and in elementary classrooms at two sites. (2) To develop a collection of exemplar tasks and rich records of practice for each task. These records of practice will detail the mathematical and real-world learning goals, background knowledge needed for both goals, common student responses, and videos or vignettes of the task in progress. A team of six teachers at two sites will be recruited to collaborate with the team throughout the project. Teachers will provide input and feedback on the design of, appropriateness of, and relevance of the tasks and the support materials needed to implement the real-world tasks. Initial tasks will be field tested with elementary students and additional tasks will be developed for subsequent week-long summer camps and for teaching in elementary classrooms. (3) To research both the development and enactment of these tasks. We will develop a theoretical framework for creating and implementing real-world tasks that can inform future practice and research in this area. The research products of this project will result in (a) an understanding of effective teaching and design practices for connecting mathematics to real-world issues, (b) a theoretical framework of how these practices are interconnected, and (c) how these practices differ from practices when teaching typical school mathematics tasks.

Supporting High School Students and Teachers with a Digital, Localizable, Climate Education Experience

This partnership of BSCS Science Learning, Oregon Public Broadcasting, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration advances curriculum materials development for high quality units that are intentionally designed for adaptation by teachers for their local context. The project will create a base unit on carbon cycling as a foundation for understanding how and why the Earth's climate is changing, and it will study the process of localizing the unit for teachers to implement across varied contexts to incorporate local phenomena, problems, and solutions.

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
2100808
Funding Period: 
Thu, 07/01/2021 to Mon, 06/30/2025
Full Description: 

Teachers regularly adapt curriculum materials to localize for their school or community context, yet curriculum materials are not always created to support this localization. Developing materials that are intentionally designed for localization has potential to support rich science learning across different contexts, especially for a topic like climate change where global change can have varied local effects. This partnership of BSCS Science Learning, Oregon Public Broadcasting, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration advances curriculum materials development for high quality units that are intentionally designed for adaptation by teachers for their local context. It will develop and test a design process bringing together national designers and teachers across the country. Teachers will be supported through professional learning to adapt from the base unit to create a local learning experience for their students. The project will create a base unit on carbon cycling as a foundation for understanding how and why the Earth's climate is changing, and it will study the process of localizing the unit for teachers to implement across varied contexts to incorporate local phenomena, problems, and solutions. The unit will be fully digital with rich visual experiences, simulations, and computer models that incorporate real-time data and the addition of localized data sets. These data-based learning experiences will support students in reasoning with data to ask and answer questions about phenomena. Research will study the unit development and localization process, the supports appropriate for teachers and students, and the impact on classroom practice.

The project will adopt an iterative design process to create a Storyline base unit, aligned to Next Generation Science Standards, for localization, piloting, and an implementation study with 40 teachers. To support teacher learning, the project adopts the STeLLA teacher professional learning model. To support student learning, the project addresses climate change content knowledge with a focus on socioscientific issues and students’ sense of agency with environmental science. The project will research how the educative features in the unit and the professional development impact teachers’ practice, including their content knowledge, comfort for teaching a socioscientific issue, and their ability to productively localize materials from a base unit. The study uses a cohort-control quasi-experimental design to examine the impact of the unit and professional learning experience on dimensions of students' sense of agency with environmental science. The study will also include exploratory analyses to examine whether all students benefit from the unit. It uses a pre-post design to examine impacts on teacher knowledge and practice.

Fostering Computational Thinking through Neural Engineering Activities in High School Biology Classes

This project will develop and study a curriculum and app that support computational thinking (CT) in a high school biology unit. The project will engage students in rich data practices by gathering, manipulating, analyzing, simulating, and visualizing data of bioelectrical signals from neural sensors, and in so doing give the students opportunities to apply CT principles.

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
2101615
Funding Period: 
Wed, 09/01/2021 to Sun, 08/31/2025
Full Description: 

Computational thinking (CT) is a set of processes to identify and solve problems using algorithms or steps, and can be applied not only in computer science but in other disciplines. This project will develop and study a curriculum and app that support CT in a high school biology unit. Through a month-long neural engineering unit, approximately 500 students in 18 classes will measure their own muscle and brain activity with a low-cost, portable, wearable technology. Students will then analyze the data and design a brain-computer interface to turn neural signals into real-world output (e.g., a mechanical claw controlled by brain activity). The curriculum will be supported by: (1) a web-based instructional application that will guide students through the neural engineering design process; (2) neuroscience and engineering PhD students and postdocs acting as STEM mentors; and (3) a professional development program for teachers and mentors. The goal is to increase the students’ knowledge and interest regarding neurobiology, engineering, and computational thinking. This can contribute to their long-term capacity to pursue STEM careers. By integrating CT education into high school science, this expands the accessibility of the engineering and computing experiences beyond other efforts that focus primarily on programming and computer science courses.

The project will engage students in rich data practices by gathering, manipulating, analyzing, simulating, and visualizing data of bioelectrical signals from neural sensors, and in so doing give the students opportunities to apply computational thinking principles. The project will produce curriculum materials for the neural sensors and associated data practices. It will develop an app to help students design and construct a brain-computer interface, including computational elements like coding blocks, sensor and data simulation, and connecting to external devices. The five proposed research questions of the study are: How does students’ CT change throughout their participation in the neural engineering design process? What is the cross-cultural validity of two CT scales in a sample of high school students in the US? How does the process of collecting and analyzing real-world data relate to students’ experience of he engineering design process? How do students’ attitudes toward STEM change over the course of their participation in a neural engineering design process? How does teachers’ self-efficacy for fostering CT in their students via engineering design change through their participation in professional development and in implementation of the proposed curriculum?

Empowering Teachers to See and Support Student Use of Crosscutting Concepts in the Life Sciences

The project focuses on the development of formative assessment tools that highlight assets of students’ use of crosscutting concepts (CCCs) while engaged in science and engineering practices in grades 9-12 Life Sciences.

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
2100822
Funding Period: 
Sun, 08/01/2021 to Wed, 07/31/2024
Full Description: 

The project focuses on the development of formative assessment tools that highlight assets of students’ use of crosscutting concepts (CCCs) while engaged in science and engineering practices in grades 9-12 Life Sciences. In response to the calls set forth by the Framework for K-12 Science Education and Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), the field has most successfully researched and developed assessment tools for disciplinary core ideas and the science and engineering practices. The CCCs, which serve as the connective links across science domains, however, remain more abstractly addressed. Presently, science educators have little guidance for what student use of CCCs looks like or how to assess and nurture such use. This project, with its explicit attention to the CCCs, advances true three-dimensional scientific understanding in both research and the classroom. Leveraging formative assessment as a vehicle for student and teacher development taps into proven successful instructional strategies (e.g., sharing visions of successful learning, descriptive feedback, self-assessment), while also advancing formative assessment, itself, by strengthening and illustrating how these strategies may focus on the CCCs. Further, a strengths-based approach will center culturally related differences in students’ use of CCCs to achieve more equitable opportunities to engage in classroom sensemaking practices. This work impacts the field of science education by 1) enabling a more thorough realization of NGSS ideals, 2) strengthening teachers’ abilities to identify diverse demonstrations of CCCs, and 3) showcasing the impact of novel classroom tools to sharpen teachers’ abilities to solicit, notice, and act upon evidence of emergent student scientific thinking within their instructional practices.

This design-based implementation research project will engage teachers in the iterative development and refinement of rubrics that support three-dimensional science understanding through formative assessment. The high school biology classrooms that compose the study site are engaged in ambitious science teaching-inspired instruction. An inductive, bottom-up approach (Brookhart, 2013) will allow researchers, teachers, and students to co-construct rubrics. Analysis of classroom observations, artifact collection, interviews with teachers and students, and expert-panel ratings will produce a rubric for each CCC that integrates relevant science and engineering practices and is applicable across a range of disciplinary core ideas. These rubrics will illustrate progressions of increasingly advanced use of each of the CCCs, to guide the construction, pursuit, and assessment of learning goals. There will be two design cycles that allow for the collection of validity evidence and produce rubrics with the potential for broad application by educators. Complementary lines of qualitative and quantitative (i.e., psychometric) analysis will contribute to development and validation of the rubrics and their formative uses. Project inquiry will focus on 1) how the rubrics can represent CCCs for key disciplinary practices, 2) the extent to which teachers’ and students’ understandings of the rubrics align, and 3) how implementation of the rubrics impacts teachers’ and students’ understandings of the CCCs.

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