Philip Sadler

Professional Title
Director, Science Education Department
About Me (Bio)
Philip Sadler is currently the Director of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics’ Science Education Department and F.W. Wright Senior Lecturer in Astronomy. He holds a B.S. in Physics from MIT and an Ed.D. from Harvard. He co-authored the first integrated computer and laboratory introductory calculus course in 1975. He has taught middle school mathematics, science, and engineering , as well as undergraduate astronomy and graduate teaching courses at Harvard. He has founded three companies and holds five patents. His research interests include assessment of students' misconceptions and how they change with instruction, K-12 curriculum development, the transition to college of students who wish to purse STEM careers, and the professional development of teachers. Dr. Sadler won the Journal of Research in Science Teaching Award, the AIP’s Computers in Physics Prize, the American Astronomical Society Education Prize, and the AAPT’s Millikan Medal. Materials. Curricula and materials developed by Dr. Sadler are used by an estimated fifteen million students every year.
Citations of DRK-12 or Related Work (DRK-12 work is denoted by *)
  • Sadler, P. M., Sonnert, G., Coyle, H. P., Cook-Smith, N., & Miller, J. L. (2013). The influence of teachers’ knowledge on student learning in middle school physical science classrooms. American Educational Research Journal, 50(5), 1020-1049.*
  • Sadler, P. & Sonnert, G. (2018). The path to college calculus: The impact of high school mathematics coursework. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 49(3), 292-329.*
  • Kitchen, J. A., Sonnert, G., & Sadler, P. M. (2018). The impact of college‐and university‐run high school summer programs on students’ end of high school STEM career aspirations. Science Education, 102(3), 529-547.*
  • Chen, C., Haduong, P., Brennan, K., Sonnert, G., & Sadler, P. (2019). The effects of first programming language on college students’ computing attitude and achievement: a comparison of graphical and textual languages. Computer Science Education, 29(1), 23-48.*
  • Doyle, J., Sonnert, G., & Sadler, P. (2018). How professional development program features impact the knowledge of science teachers. Professional Development in Education, 1-16.*
Harvard University

This project will develop and test a web-based platform to increase the quality of teacher-administered tests in science classrooms. It draws on classroom teacher knowledge while employing the rigorous statistical methods used in standardized assessment creation and validation. The content focus is on the disciplinary core ideas for grades 6-8 physical science in the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).

Harvard University

This project collects evidence supporting the validity of test instruments and initial characterization of high school teachers' background and use of materials and pedagogies. The project is constructing and validating multiple forms of test instruments that can be used for the evaluation of interventions (e.g. professional development, implementation of new curricula) and the measurement of aspects of teacher knowledge (e.g. subject matter, knowledge of student misconceptions).

Harvard University

The objective of this study is to examine the impact of ITEAMS intervention strategies on student persistence in high school STEM course-taking and career expectations, and the value that students place on STEM careers.

Harvard University

This project is developing and validating an assessment instrument that addresses the life sciences for students and teachers in grades 9 through 12 based on the Misconception Oriented Standards-based Assessment Resource for Teachers (MOSART).

Harvard University

This project builds upon the widely used K-12 Misconception Oriented Standards-based Assessment Resource for Teachers (MOSART). The project is developing 500 new test items that are intended to assess disciplinary core ideas in chemistry and physics aligned to Next Generation Science Standards. The new measures will be used to measure the knowledge acquired in a year of study by 10,000 students and 200 teachers in chemistry and physics.

Harvard University

The investigators propose to characterize the multitude of approaches currently employed in the professional development of K-12 teachers of science, and to measure the effectiveness of such approaches in increasing teacher knowledge in the sciences. The project will result in a website, conference presentations, and scholarly and professional publications.

Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory

This project proposes to design, implement, and investigate the impact on students of an innovative curriculum supplement called the Spectrum Laboratory. The Spectrum Lab will be an online, interactive learning environment that enables students to make use of the database of publicly available spectra from research scientists, as well as from students.

Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory

This project will develop and study three week-long middle school lab units designed to teach spatial abilities using a blend of physical and virtual (computer-based) models. "ThinkSpace" labs will help students explore 3-dimensional astronomical phenomena in ways that will support both understanding of these topics and a more general spatial ability. Students will learn both through direct work with the lab unit interface and through succeeding discussions with their peers.