William Penuel

Professional Title
About Me (Bio)
Bill Penuel is a professor in Educational Psychology and the Learning Sciences at the University of Colorado, Boulder. His research focuses on teacher learning and organizational processes that shape the implementation of educational policies, school curricula, and afterschool programs. In his research, he examines learning and development from sociocultural, social capital, and complex social systems perspectives. One strand of his research focuses on designs for teacher professional development in Earth science education. A second strand examines the role of research-practice partnerships in designing supports for teacher learning in school districts. A third strand examines how children’s interest in science develops over time and across different kinds of settings. This third strand includes a focus on young children’s learning through digital media, including public television programs. His research has appeared in the American Educational Research Journal, Teachers College Record, the American Journal of Evaluation, Science Education, and the Journal of the Learning Sciences. He is currently associate editor of the Social and Institutional Analysis section at the American Educational Research Journal, and he is on the editorial board for Teachers College Record, American Journal of Evaluation, and Cognition and Instruction. Penuel holds a BA in Psychology from Clark University, an EdM in Human Development and Psychology from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and a PhD in Developmental Psychology from Clark University.
University of Washington (UW)

This project will examine how partnerships among state science leaders, education researchers and education practitioners cultivate vertical coherence and equity in state science education.

SRI International

SRI International developed a formative assessment intervention that integrates classroom network technologies and contingent curriculum activities to help middle school teachers adjust instruction to improve student learning of Earth science concepts. The intervention was tested as part of a quasi-experimental study within an urban school district in Colorado that includes ethnically and economically diverse student populations. Findings indicate significant student learning gains for students in implementation classes as compared to students in comparison classes.

SRI International, Michigan State University (MSU), University of Colorado Boulder, University of Michigan (UM)

This research and development project examines the impact of the Project-Based Inquiry Science (PBIS) middle school science curriculum. The research questions explored will look into efficacy, implementation, and teacher practice. A unique feature of the study’s design is an analytic focus on the conditions needed to implement the curriculum in ways that improve student learning in light of the Framework for K-12 Science Education.

University of Colorado Boulder

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.

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.