Student assessments face challenges of quality, cost, and appropriate use, writes scholar Linda Darling-Hammond. Written for school board members, this article is brief and to the point about ensuring and implementing the use of high-quality assessments (a topic covered in numerous publications by Darling-Hammond and other assessment experts – see Related Resources below for a few). High-quality student assessments “measure and promote complex learning skills and instruction for deeper learning” (p. 22), and, importantly, they are used as tools of improvement, being placed in new accountability paradigms that use “assessment data to guide instruction and inform school decision-making” (p. 23), instead of punishing students, teachers, and schools for low scores.
This paper describes how modeling works in concert with all the other science practices in the classroom to promote students’ reasoning and understanding of core science ideas. Modeling usually works in tandem with another practice explanation. These two practices are at the heart of disciplinary work.
This resource is an article in the April 2013 issue of Science. It is available through subscription (personal or library).
The author offers an overview of the call for improving science education in the United States, and the role that the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) play in accomplishing this endeavor, through the critical lens and agenda of research on science teacher professional development (PD).
It offers several key messages regarding the large-scale PD needed to help current teachers acquire the knowledge and skills called for in the NGSS, considering the shifts that these require beyond the traditional content knowledge, pedagogy, or curriculum materials PD offered in the past and the varied cultures of reform in schools.
A section on pressing challenges addresses equity issues, offering use of technologies and social media for more scalable PD and access for all teachers.
As part of a Science magazine special issue on grand challenges in science education, the author provides an overview of the promise for the future of science learning with the release of the NGSS, and of the challenges associated with achieving the full vision of the NGSS. The paper focuses on the implications of assessment on instruction, noting that what states and schools choose to assess often dictates what will be included in instruction. Overviews of the National Research Council’s Framework for K-12 Science Education, the NGSS, and different approaches to measuring proficiency in science are included. Challenges in designing assessments to measure proficiency in science, and examples of existing projects attempting to assess science through the integration of conceptual knowledge with aspects of science practices, are explored.
This resource is an article written for the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) online newsletter. Science in the Classroom (SiTC) is an initiative for higher-education science educators, launched in October 2013 with support from the National Science Foundation, designed to help demystify how scientists build a basis for understanding the world.
The AAAS publication Science opened its resource materials in order to introduce concepts to students in settings such as community colleges, where large, intricate laboratory experiments may be cost-prohibitive. An educator who participated in the initiative reports his own experience using resources that have now been made freely available to educators by AAAS. He explains that his students broadened their knowledge of experimental design, science writing, and terminology by studying two SiTC papers on a gene that directs leaf shapes in the Brassicaceae family of plants and the mechanism that triggers flowering in one member of that plant family (Arabidopsis thaliana). Half of the class looked first at one paper, then at the other, creating a glossary, reference annotations, and questions. Students also peer-reviewed each other’s work and wrote mini-grant proposals and reviews. By analyzing, annotating, and reviewing two Science papers as part of a SiTC exercise, students improved their scientific vocabulary and critical-thinking skills. For their contributions to the growing SiTC stockpile of study materials, the students will also all receive bylines on the Science website.
In collaboration with leaders from the Open Education Resources (OER) community, Achieve has developed eight rubrics to help states, districts, teachers, and other users determine the degree of alignment of OERs to the Common Core State Standards and determine aspects of their quality. The rubrics represent an evaluation system for objects found within OERs. An object could include images, applets, lessons, units, assessments, and more. For purposes of the evaluation, any component that can exist as a stand-alone tool qualifies as an object. The rubrics in the suite can be applied across content areas and object types. In general, the rubrics should be applied to the smallest meaningful unit. In some cases, this may be a single-lesson or instructional support material, while in others it might be a complete unit of study or set of support materials.