Education Week - May 15, 2013 - (Page 12)

12 EDUCATION WEEK n MAY 15, 2013 n SCIENCE IN PRACTICE Carrying Out Standards 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 the standards. Initiatives are already underway to support implementation. 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 preservice models.” 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 this together.” ‘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. SCIENCE 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 computational thinking repeated reasoning LITERACY STANDARDS l l Demonstrate independence in reading complex texts, and writing and speaking about them l Come to understand other perspectives and cultures through reading, listening, and collaborations 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 n 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.” ‘Learning Laboratory’ 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 evidence + Reason abstractly and quantitatively + l Construct viable arguments and critique reasoning of others n Engage in argument for evidence n Construct explanations and design solutions n Obtain, evaluate, and communicate information 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 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
Report Roundup
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
Policy Brief
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