Education Week - May 15, 2013 - (Page 12)
MAY 15, 2013
SCIENCE IN PRACTICE
May Be Slow
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1
build some capacity and build the right
infrastructure for success.”
One of the biggest issues, experts
say, and a costly endeavor, is helping
teachers deeply understand the vision
for science education espoused by the
standards and gain the knowledge and
skills to effectively deliver on it.
“There are more than 3 million teachers of science, a lot of them elementary
included in that, who in many ways
are going to have to change what they
do as they see the standards come on
board,” said David L. Evans, the executive director of the National Science Teachers Association, based in
Arlington, Va. “Finding the kinds of
professional-development tools that
are appropriate at scale is going to be a
challenge for all of us.”
A new generation of science assessment tools will also be needed to match
Initiatives are already underway to
The congressionally chartered National Research Council, which crafted a
framework to guide creation of the standards, is writing a report to inform the
development of aligned assessments.
The nsta, a partner in producing
the standards, has generated some resources, including webinars, articles,
and readers’ guides to the standards
and the framework. And the standards
played a lead role in the nsta’s annual
conference last month in San Antonio. Also, the group is working with
Achieve and states to build a tool to
guide states in ensuring that instructional units fit the standards.
In addition, teams from more than 40
states have met periodically since 2011
under an initiative called Building Capacity for State Science Education, with
the standards being a core focus.
Peter McLaren, the president of the
Council of State Science Supervisors,
which is spearheading that effort, said
the next two-day meeting, in June, will
focus on key implementation questions:
“How is this going to affect the system
of assessment, the system of instruction, of professional development?”
Even as Mr. McLaren sees big capacity challenges looming, he also sees
great power in states’ banding together
around common science standards.
“We can look at models for professional development, and it can be
ubiquitous across state lines,” he said.
“It’s going to drive the bus in terms of
[instructional] materials, in terms of
New professional-development offerings are already emerging. For example,
the Next Generation Science Exemplar
System, being developed with support
from a National Science Foundation
grant, aims to provide a Web-based system of professional development that allows access to videos, texts, and tools at
any time and that has a strong emphasis on demonstrating what a classroom
looks like that reflects the standards’ vision. Seven states, including Arkansas,
California, and Minnesota, will pilot a
unit on the physical sciences this year.
Whether the Next Generation Science Standards succeed will depend on
the strength of the professional learning opportunities for educators, said
Fred B. Ende, the regional science coordinator for the Putnam-Westchester
area in New York state. “That to me is
really going to be the glue that holds
‘Knowledge in Use’
The new standards were more than
three years in the making. What sets
them apart from existing state standards, and even those abroad, experts
say, is how they weave together three
dimensions: disciplinary core ideas;
science and engineering practices; and
“cross-cutting concepts” that span scientific disciplines.
“You can travel worldwide and you’re
not going to find standards like them,”
OVERLAPPING WITH THE COMMON CORE
The science and engineering practices embedded in the new science standards have considerable
synergy with the practices and skills promoted in the common-core math and literacy standards.
n Ask questions and define problems
n Plan and carry out investigations
n Analyze and interpret data
MATH STANDARDS +
+ Make sense of problems and persevere
in solving them
When states were reviewing drafts of the Next Generation Science Standards, the teams they assembled didn’t
include just state officials and K-12 educators. Others invited to the table came from higher education, the business community, and the informal science education sector.
States that adopt the standards may well find this last
group a natural, but often underused, ally in helping
teachers and students come to grips with the vision espoused for science education.
After all, the standards are focused not simply on mastering scientific facts, but also engaging in a set of practices to demonstrate student learning, such as planning
and carrying out investigations, constructing explanations,
and designing solutions.
“It really gives informal educators a strong footing to position themselves as a resource for formal educators,” said
Jared R. Bixby, the curator of education for the Sunset Zoo
and the Flint Hills Discovery Center, in Manhattan, Kan.
“We provide that hands-on link for teachers,” said Mr.
Bixby, who served on the Kansas review team. “We’re trying to make sure formal educators understand this, and
not just use [these resources] as an end-of-year field trip to
n Develop and use models
+ Model with mathematics
n Use mathematics and
+ Attend to precision
+ Look for and make use of structure
+ Look for and express regularity in
LITERACY STANDARDS l
l Demonstrate independence in reading
complex texts, and writing and speaking
l Come to understand other perspectives
and cultures through reading, listening,
said Joseph S. Krajcik, a professor of
science education at Michigan State
University who served on the 41-member standards-writing team.
At the heart of them is a set of performance expectations that ask students
to take actions to show their learning,
such as plan and conduct investigations, make observations, analyze data,
and devise models.
“It’s about knowledge in use,” said Mr.
Krajcik. This a “different way of thinking about teaching and learning.”
(Major funding for developing the
standards was provided by the Carnegie Corporation of New York. Other
funders include the Noyce Foundation.
Both foundations help support Education Week news coverage.)
The practices are often mentioned
as the dimension that may well be the
Informal Sector Seen as Ally in Science Inititiative
By Erik W. Robelen
get the kids out of the classroom and let them run.”
Attention to the role the informal science education sector plays in boosting student interest in that subject and
related fields, as well as in student learning, has increased.
The sector includes science-rich cultural institutions
such as zoos, aquariums, and natural-history museums.
Other examples include after-school programs, science
competitions, and radio and television programs, such as
“SciGirls,” a program from pbs that targets girls ages 8-13.
Matt D. Krehbiel, a science education consultant for the
education department in Kansas, a lead state in developing the standards, said he sees real potential for the informal sector in helping K-12 teachers. “They bring some
of those real-life, relevant pieces to what’s going on,” he
said. “A lot of other content areas don’t have that available
resource, and we haven’t tapped into it the way we could.”
In Boston, the Museum of Science closely tracked the
development of the standards, said Patti Curtis, a director
with the museum, which, in addition to being a popular site
for field trips, has devised curricula for schools.
The museum also operates after-school programs and
l Build a strong base of knowledge
through content-rich texts
l Read, write, and speak grounded in
+ Reason abstractly and quantitatively
+ l Construct viable arguments and
critique reasoning of others
n Engage in argument for evidence
n Construct explanations and design
n Obtain, evaluate, and communicate
l Obtain, synthesize, and report findings
clearly and effectively in response to
task and purpose
+ Use appropriate tools strategically
l Use technology and digital media
strategically and capably
SOURCES: Next Generation Science Standards;
Tina Cheuk, Stanford University
provides teacher professional development. In fact, it’s
offering a “boot camp” for teachers this summer that will
“go deep” into the new science standards, Ms. Curtis said.
“Our teams are aligning our formal curricula with the
standards and also looking at our exhibits and other presentations,” she said. “If you want to attract teachers and
schools to visit, you want to make yourselves relevant.”
The New York Hall of Science is paying close attention
to the standards, too, said President and ceo Margaret
Honey, who called them a “huge step in the right direction.” She said staff at the New York City museum are
reviewing the standards now, and will be “aligning and
adapting” some of its offerings, such as teacher training
and the teacher guides it provides for those who bring
school groups to the museum.
But she said the opportunities run deeper than that.
“We don’t want to think of our place as just a museum,”
Ms. Honey said. It serves, rather, as a “learning laboratory”
to try out innovative ways of exposing students to the stem
fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
“We’re very logical and grounded allies in the process of
helping districts deliver on the new standards,” she said.
Coverage of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics
education is supported by a grant from the Noyce Foundation,
at www.noycefdn.org. Education Week retains sole editorial
control over the content of this coverage.
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - May 15, 2013
Education Week - May 15, 2013
Standards Supporters Firing Back
FOCUS ON: SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENTS: Wanted: Schools Chiefs for Big-Name Districts
DIGITAL DIRECTIONS: E-Rate Programs Seen as Too Lean for a Digital Era
SCIENCE IN PRACTICE: Capacity Issues Confront Implementation Of Standards
News in Brief
Bar for Teacher Exams Set Low In All States, Federal Data Show
Mobile Apps Aim to Deepen Lessons From Field Trips
Studies Link Early Spatial Skills To Math Achievement
Blogs of the Week
INDUSTRY & INNOVATION: MOOCs Provider Targets Teacher Education
SCIENCE IN PRACTICE: Informal Sector Seen as Ally in Science Initiative
Head Start Centers Feel Sequestration Pain
Arizona ELL Battle Carries On, Despite Ruling
Impact Mulled on Waivers, Grants
LISA MADIGAN & JOHN SUTHERS: Moving Beyond Punishment: Treatment Is Key to Keeping Schools Safe
SARA MARTINEZ TUCKER: We Must Create Opportunities for STEM Learning
JENNIFER JENNINGS: An Apology To Secretary Duncan
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
RONALD J. BONNSTETTER & BILL J. BONNSTETTER: We Need a New Approach to Principal Selection
Education Week - May 15, 2013