Sharon Lynch

Professional Title
About Me (Bio)
Sharon Lynch, PhD, is a science educator and researcher who has focused on science education policy and science education policy research. She has written several peer-reviewed articles on science education policy, school practice and equity issues, and has published a book, Equity and Science Education Reform (2000). She has a recent chapter (2011), Equity and US Science Education Policy from the GI Bill to NCLB: From Opportunity Denied to Mandated Outcomes for a new book edited by George DeBoer, called Research in Science Education: The Role of Public Policy in K-12 Science Education, edited by George DeBoer of AAAS. Another chapter, ISO metaphor and theory for scale-up research: Eagles in the Anacostia and activity systems will appear in the Second International Handbook of Science Education, edited by Barry Fraser, Ken Tobin, & C. McRobbie in 2012.

Lynch has also written articles on science teacher education policy and ability grouping. Her last major recent research project was Scaling up highly rated science curricula in diverse student populations: Using evidence to close achievement gaps, a $5M+ project funded by the NSF/Interagency Research Initiative. This project focused on implementation, feasibility, scale-up and sustainability issues for middle school science curriculum materials. An article summing up the results of that six year study will be published in February, 2012 in the Journal of Research in Science Teaching, and is entitled: A Retrospective View of a Study of Middle School Science Curriculum Materials: Implementation, Scale-up, and Sustainability in Changing Policy Environment.

Sharon Lynch is currently the PI on a new NSF DRK-12 project, called Opportunity Structures for Preparation and Inspiration (OSPrI). This research, currently in its first year (2011-12), focuses on inclusive STEM-focused high schools. It will select 12 exemplary schools from across the US, and conduct site-based structured case studies that include 10 candidate critical components of the selected schools. The goal is to provide rich cases that reflect the important attributes of the schools to the field, as well as to make comparisons across schools. The study will also focus on students’ experiences in the schools from students’ points of view.

Sharon Lynch is president-elect of the NARST (National Association of Research in Science Teaching), A Worldwide Organization for Improving Science Teaching and Learning Through Research. She serves on many national committees on science education and is a frequent contributor at national conferences.

University of Missouri-Columbia

This exploratory project will design, pilot, and evaluate a 10-week, energy literacy curriculum unit for a program called Energy and Your Environment (EYE). In the EYE curriculum, students will study energy use and transfer in their own school buildings. They will explore how Earth systems supply renewable and nonrenewable energy, and how these energy sources are transformed and transferred from Earth systems to a school building to meet its daily energy requirements.

Concord Consortium

This project will create two curriculum units that use sophisticated simulations designed for students in secondary schools that integrate the study of the tectonic system and the rock genesis system. The project seeks to overcome the more typical approaches taken in earth science classrooms where such geologic processes are treated as discrete and highly predictable, rather than intertwined and dynamic.

Digital Promise

This is a quasi-experimental study of the effects of attending an inclusive STEM high school in three key geographic regions and comparing outcomes for students in these schools with those of their counterparts attending other types of schools in the same states. The study's focus is on the extent to which inclusive STEM high schools contribute to improved academic outcomes, interests in STEM careers, and expectations for post secondary study.

George Washington University (GW)

The aim of this project is to examine opportunity structures provided to students by inclusive STEM-focused high schools, with an emphasis on studying schools that serve students from underrepresented groups. The project is studying inclusive STEM-focused high schools across the United States to determine what defines them. The research team initially identified ten candidate critical components that define STEM-focused high schools and is refining and further clarifying the critical components through the research study.

University of Colorado Boulder

This study focuses on working with teachers to develop assessment practices that focuses on the three NGSS dimensions of science ideas, practices and cross-cutting concepts, and adds two more dimensions; teachers will develop assessment tasks interesting to students, and promote the development of their science identities. To advance equitable opportunities for all students to learn science, this project will design and provide an online course to support rural teachers who teach science in grades 6-12. The course will focus on improving classroom science assessment practices and instruction to meet the unique needs of rural educators and their students.

Horizon Research, Inc.

This project will support a national research study on how teachers are helping students respond to COVID-19. The findings will inform the development of curriculum materials for teaching about COVID-19 and help science teachers to adapt their instruction as they help to fulfill a critical public health function. This study will enable a better understanding of the role that science teachers can play in a national response, both now and in future crises.

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC Chapel Hill)

This research project will produce curricular materials designed to help students learn about viral epidemics as both a scientific and social issue. It will engage students in scientific modeling of the epidemic and in critical analyses of media and public health information about the virus. This approach helps students connect their classroom learning experiences with their lives beyond school, a key characteristic of science literacy.