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What Policymakers Need to Know About the Cost of Implementing Lab-Based Science Course Requirements MS Word PDF - An increasing number of states have required that some – or all – Carnegie units in science for high school graduation be fulfilled by lab sciences. This ECS Policy Brief examines the research that supports implementing lab science requirements for high school graduation; the number of states requiring science lab credits for high school graduation; the costs associated with fitting schools with science labs – in terms of capital, equipment, operations, maintenance and other needs; and the alternatives to traditional labs and their respective benefits and disadvantages in terms of cost, space, teaching staff needs and student learning. (Mike Griffith, Education Commission of the States, June 2007)...

"Conceptualizing Astronomical Scale: Virtual Simulations on Handheld Tablet Computers Reverse Misconceptions" - WWC looks at a study comparing ways to look at the solar system on a handheld tablet computer. Results - using 152 Massachusetts high school students - showed the true-to-scale model was superior in student knowledge gains to the more commonly used orrery model which exaggerates the size of plant bodies. WWC is reserving judgement pending more information from the authors on whether its evidence standards were met without reservation. (What Works Clearinghouse, February 2014) (What Works Clearinghouse, February 2014)...

Science in Action: Hands-On and Interactive Computer Tasks From the 2009 Science Assessment - Interactive computer and hands-on tasks were designed to assess how well students can perform scientific investigations, draw valid conclusions, and explain their results. As a part of the 2009 science assessment, a new generation of hands-on tasks was administered during which students worked with lab materials and other equipment to perform experiments. While performing the interactive computer and hands-on tasks, students manipulate objects and perform actual experiments, offering us richer data on how students respond to scientific challenges. Several key discoveries were observed: 1) Students were successful on parts of investigations that involved limited sets of data and making straightforward observations of that data. 2) Students were challenged by parts of investigations that contained more variables to manipulate or involved strategic decision making to collect appropriate data. 3) The percentage of students who could select correct conclusions from an investigation was higher than for those students who could select correct conclusions and also explain their results. (NCES, June 2012) ...

The Nation's Report Card: Science in Action: Hands-On and Interactive Computer Tasks From the 2009 Science Assessment - Science education is not just about learning facts in a classroom—it’s about doing activities where students put their understanding of science principles into action. Two unique types of activity-based tasks were administered as part of the 2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) science assessment. In addition to the paper-and-pencil questions, students completed hands-on and interactive computer tasks. This report shows how these tasks help us understand not only what students know, but how well they are able to reason through complex problems and apply science to real-life situations. (NCES, June 2012) ...

Effective Programs for Elementary Science: A Best-Evidence Synthesis - This article presents a systematic review of research on the achievement outcomes of all types of approaches to teaching science in elementary schools. The review concludes that science teaching methods focused on enhancing teachers’ classroom instruction throughout the year, such as cooperative learning and science-reading integration, as well as approaches that give teachers technology tools to enhance instruction, have significant potential to improve science learning. (Johns Hopkins University School of Education’s Center for Data-Driven Reform in Education (CDDRE), May 2012)...

Effective Programs for Elementary Science: A Best-Evidence Synthesis - This article presents a systematic review of research on the achievement outcomes of all types of approaches to teaching science in elementary schools. The review concludes that science teaching methods focused on enhancing teachers’ classroom instruction throughout the year, such as cooperative learning and science-reading integration, as well as approaches that give teachers technology tools to enhance instruction, have significant potential to improve science learning. (Best Evidence Encyclopedia, May 2012)...

Science and Engineering Indicators 2012 - This overview of the National Science Board’s Science and Engineering Indicators 2012 highlights some major developments in international and U.S. science and technology (S&T). (National Science Foundation, 2012)...

Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts and Core Ideas - Framework for K-12 Science Education is the first step in a process that will inform state-level decisions and provide a research-grounded basis for improving science teaching and learning across the country. The document will guide standards developers, curriculum designers, assessment developers, teacher educators, state and district science administrators, teachers, and educators who work in informal science environments. (National Academies Press, 2011)...

The Nation's Report Card: Science - This report presents results of the 2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) in science at grades 4, 8, and 12. National results for each of the three grades are based on representative samples of public and private school students from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and the Department of Defense schools. (National Center for Education Statistics, January 2011)...

National Task Force on Teacher Education in Physics: Report Synopsis - Except for a handful of isolated pockets of excellence, the national system of preparing physics teachers is largely inefficient, mostly incoherent and massively unprepared to deal with the current and future needs of the nation's students. At least that is the conclusions drawn by a national task force. The document provides a synopsis of the findings and recommendations. (National Task Force on Teacher Education in Physics, January 2010)...

Exploring What Works in Science Instruction: A Look at the Eighth-Grade Science Classroom - This report provides a view of eighth-grade science classrooms in 2005, using statistical models particularly suited to this type of data--hierarchical linear models. After briefly describing the state of science achievement, teacher characteristics and instructional strategies across U.S. eighth-grade classrooms, the report presents the results of a three-phase analysis that is deigned to illuminate the statistical relationships among these variables. (Henry Braun, Richard Coley,Yue Jia and Catherine Trapani, ETS, May 2009)...

Science Education That Makes Sense - This article states that loading students down with too many facts and insufficient connections to appreciate the power and potential of science has deterred students and frustrated teachers. The report advocates for: (1) requiring students to explain their ideas and connect scientific events can improve outcomes; (2) guiding scientific investigations so that teachers can help students explore complex phenomena, develop confidence in their abilities to make sense of science, and extend scientific ideas beyond the classroom; and (3) making sophisticated use of technology in the classroom, providing visualizations of complex phenomena that help students connect school science to everyday situations. (American Educational Research Association, 2007)...

Taking Science to School: Learning and Teaching - Major policy debates and the need to remain economically competitive mean that improving science education in the United States is more important than ever. This executive summary provides a comprehensive picture of what is known about teaching and learning science from kindergarten through 8th grade and provides a basic foundation for teaching and learning. The full report may be ordered online or browsed and printed by chapter for free here. (The National Academies of Science, 2007) ...

The Legal Evolution of Intelligent Design - This brief examines legal action regarding the teaching of evolution in public schools. There has been political activity at the school district or state level pertaining to teaching about the origin of humanity in 40 states since 2001. Almost one-third of the science teachers who responded to a recent survey of the National Science Teachers Association said they had experienced pressure by parents and students to include lessons on intelligent design or creationism in their science classes, and 30% had felt pressure to eliminate evolution from the curriculum. (Martha M. McCarthy, Educational Horizons, Spring 2006) ...


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