Several government funded projects are developing facet-based, diagnostic formative assessments to support teachers in understanding and addressing their students’ conceptual strengths and weaknesses and to promote students’ conceptual change in science at the middle school level, high school level and beyond. These projects bring together experts in assessment, science education, science teaching, and science content from SRI International, FACET Innovations, Sonoma State University, University of Illinois Chicago, Seattle Pacific University and the University of Washington. Supported by research on students' preconceptions, particularly in science, and their need to build on the knowledge and skills that students bring to the classroom, the projects are aimed at implementing a facets-of-thinking perspective for the improvement of formative assessment, learning, and instruction in precollege science classrooms.
CIRCL brings together the research of more than 200 separately funded research projects in the National Science Foundation theme of “cyberlearning.” New technologies change what and how people learn. Informed by learning science, cyberlearning is the use of new technology to create effective new learning experiences that were never possible or practical before.
“Providing a richness of resources unavailable in any classroom, informal science institutions across the country have developed exemplary partnerships with public schools—and have room for more.” Read this brief to explore how out-of-school learning can complement and enhance what is being taught in the classroom.
DSST’s (Denver School for Science and Technology) Stapleton High is the founding school in a network of public charter schools. DSST Public Schools currently operates five STEM open-enrollment charter schools, four middle schools, and two high schools, serving almost 2,000 students in Denver, Colorado.
Critical Zone Observatories (CZOs), funded by the National Science Foundation, are environmental laboratories established to study the chemical, physical and biological processes that shape the Earth’s surface. Little is known about how these processes are coupled and at what temporal and spatial scales. CZO research seeks to understand these couplings through monitoring and modeling at the watershed scale. As part of this research initiative, CZO sites are encouraged to bring research to K–12 students in the field and in their classrooms. The three Pennsylvania-based CZOs represented here have developed innovative education projects that illustrate the research of Earth’s Critical Zone: (1) a STEM academy that emphasizes hands-on activities with students in the field; (2) an after-school science club where students learn about soil characteristics and how they reflect the ecosystems where the soils formed; (3) programs where middle-school students build environmental sensors to investigate the environment of their school yard; (4) a data visualization portal that provides real-time data on CZO research that can be used in middle and high school math and science classrooms; and (5) stream-table demonstrations that allow students to experience hand-on science in their own classrooms.
Workers in STEM fields play a direct role in driving economic growth. Yet, because of how the STEM economy has been defined, policymakers have mainly focused on supporting workers with at least a bachelor’s degree, overlooking a strong potential workforce of those with less than a BA.
These Education Development Center (EDC) projects—a logic-building algebra intervention curriculum, a professional development program, and a set of mathematical puzzle apps—build essential algebraic habits of mind that, in alignment with the Common Core Mathematical Practice Standards, include abstracting regularity from repeated reasoning, using general purpose tools strategically to organize mathematical thinking, seeking and using structure, communicating with precision, and puzzling and persevering through mathematical problems. The approach is designed for a diverse population of students at risk of losing access to STEM coursework and careers.
Our Mathematics and Science Partnership focuses on enhancing environmental literacy in K–12 schools and beyond through research on student and teacher learning, professional development informed by the research, and institutional reform. We work at the critical education juncture of middle school through high school (grades 6–12). The project connects the research strengths in the environmental sciences and education of our partner universities and sites within the NSF-funded Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) Network with K–12 teacher professional development in science and mathematics of our partner schools. The program takes advantage of the local and regional partnerships between the universities and the K–12 districts and provides a common research framework and professional development model. As such, site-based research and professional development are implemented and coordinated within a network. Our work emphasizes a core set of environmental issues defined by researchers within the LTER network, alignment of those issues to state science and mathematics content standards, research on student and teacher understanding of principles underlying the environmental issues, and the development and implementation of professional development and instructional strategies that are informed by this research. Partnership between K–12 and higher education and engagement of each in the others’ activities, institutions, and cultures are key elements to approach and success.
On a broad, national level, DeafTEC: Technological Education Center for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Students, a National Science Foundation Advanced Technological Education (NSF ATE) National Center of Excellence, serves as a resource for high schools and community colleges that educate deaf and hard-of-hearing (deaf/hh) students in STEM-related programs and for employers hiring deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals. DeafTEC is also establishing a model within targeted regions of the country to create partnerships among high schools, community colleges, and industry to improve access to technological education and employment for deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals.
The Concord Consortium is a nonprofit R&D organization in Concord, Mass., dedicated to transforming education through technology. Our free, deeply-digital tools and learning activities capture the power of curiosity and create revolutionary new approaches to science, math, and engineering education that bring out the inner scientist in everyone. Since 1994, we have been pioneers in probeware, models and simulations, data collection with mobile computing, online assessment and teacher professional development, and the nation’s first online high school.
This project is funded by the National Science Foundation, grants # 0822241, 1449550, 1650648, and 1743807. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in these materials are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.