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LeaPS Learning in Physical Science. December 9, 2010. Welcome!. A MSP Grant through KDE and Administered by University of Kentucky PIMSER Math and Science Outreach. Presentation Provided by the P-12 Math and Science Outreach Division of PIMSER. Project Goals for LeaPS.

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leaps learning in physical science

LeaPSLearning in Physical Science

December 9, 2010


A MSP Grant through KDE and

Administered by University of Kentucky

PIMSER Math and Science Outreach


Presentation Provided by the

P-12 Math and Science Outreach

Division of PIMSER

project goals for leaps
Project Goals for LeaPS

Overall goal: Students will learn targeted physical science concepts (structure and transformation of matter, force & motion)

Goal 1: Enhance teacher content and pedagogical knowledge of targeted physical science concepts

Goal 2: Improve Teacher Instructional Practices

Goal 3: Enhance Administrator Support

kit development
Kit Development
  • Why kits?
  • Development process
  • Learning progressions
  • Sample lesson
  • Sample test

“Research strongly suggests that a more effective approach to science learning and teaching is to teach and build on core concepts of science over a period of years rather than weeks or months.”

    • Ready, Set, Science! NRC, pg. 59
some benefits of learning progressions
Some Benefits of Learning Progressions

They require serious thinking about the underlying concepts that need to be developed before a student can master a particular area of science.

They prompt educators to think about how topics are presented at each grade level so that they build on and support each other.

They can draw on research about children’s learning in determining the scope and sequence of a curriculum.

They can incorporate all four strands of scientific proficiency. (Understanding scientific explanations, generating scientific evidence, reflecting on scientific knowledge, participating productively in science)

They engage students with meaningful questions and investigations of the natural world.

They suggest the most appropriate ages for introduction of core concepts.

They can suggest the most important tools and practices to assess understanding.


“The point is to emphasize the goal of understanding concepts, which is very different than merely memorizing vocabulary or definitions.”

    • Ready, Set, Science! pg. 65
sample lesson
Sample Lesson
  • Examine the sample lesson
    • Layout
    • Thinking required
    • Literacy connections
    • Meaning making
  • Comments and/or questions
sample test
Sample Test
  • Pre and post-testing
  • Examine the sample test
    • Unit alignment
    • Balance for concepts
    • Conceptual focus
    • Student self-assessment
  • Comments and/or questions

“This framework of competencies for school leaders is specific largely to the classroom level of assessment in a balanced system…First, standards-driven reform has created new knowledge requirements and responsibilities for school leaders…Assessing the standards, not just through large-scale accountability tests or even local short-cycle or common assessments, but day to day in the classroom where standards, instruction, and assessment are all pages in the same book, is a requirement for standards-based reform.”

    • An Action Guide for Leaders, pg. 97
current status of u s educational assessment system
Current Status of U.S. Educational Assessment System

Three Positives

Four Negatives

Educator’s abysmal assessment literacy

Uncritical adoption of interim assessment system(s)

Computer adapted testing’s seductive allure

Instructionally insensitive accountability tests

  • Reduction of assessment bias in large-scale tests
  • Research ratification of the formative assessment process
  • Increased advocacy of the formative assessment process

James Popham, July 2010


“The second reason this leadership framework is focused largely on the classroom level of assessment is the reward in improved student learning brought about by the use of classroom assessment of learning. Described by Fullan (2004) as a ‘high-yield strategy,’ the research reported on the topic helps explain why leadership knowledge and skill specific to it are beneficial.”

    • An Action Guide for School Leaders, pg. 98
Research consistently shows that regular, high-quality FORMATIVE ASSESSMENT increases student achievement.
black wiliam research on effects of formative assessment 4 to 7 gain
Black & Wiliam Research on Effects of Formative Assessment:.4 to .7 Gain

.7 Standard Deviation Score Gain =

25 Percentile Points on ITBS (middle of score range)

70 SAT Score Points

4 ACT Score Points

Largest Gain for Low Achievers

Reprint of “Inside the Black Box” in September, 2010 Kappan


formative assessment in action
Formative Assessment in Action
  • Formative assessment is a process used by teachers and students during instruction that provides feedback to adjust ongoing teaching and learning to improve students’ achievement of intended instructional outcomes.
    • FAST/SCASS Project of CCSSO
five attributes that render fa most effective
Five Attributes that Render FA Most Effective
  • Learning Progression
    • Clearly articulated sub-goals of the ultimate learning goal
  • Learning Goals and Criteria for Success
  • Descriptive Feedback
    • Evidenced based feedback that is linked to the instructional outcomes and criteria for success
  • Self- and Peer- Assessment
  • Collaboration
    • Teachers and students are partners in learning.
classroom vignettes examples and counter examples of fa
Classroom VignettesExamples and Counter-examples of FA
  • Individually, read vignette 5.
  • Determine if FA practices are present and provide justification for your reasoning.
  • Discuss with an elbow partner.
classroom vignettes examples and counter examples of fa1
Classroom VignettesExamples and Counter-examples of FA
  • Number 1 – 4 at your table, if more than 4, keep numbering.
  • Read the vignette that corresponds to your number.
  • Determine if FA practices are present or not and justify your choice.
  • Starting with vignette 1, provide an overview of your vignette, and share your justifications.
  • Compare your responses to the rationales provided by the FAST/SCASS project through CCSSO.
classroom vignettes formative assessment in practice
Classroom VignettesFormative Assessment in Practice
  • Read each vignette.
  • Analyze each vignette using the 5 attributes of effective formative assessment.
  • Highlight where you see the attributes evidenced.
  • Provide a brief overview of your vignette and indicate how it aligned with the five attributes.
  • As each table member shares, begin to look across the vignettes and focus on ways one attribute appears across both vignettes.
balanced assessment goal of sb 1
Balanced Assessment Goal of SB 1


Formal and informal processes teachers and students use to gather evidence to directly improve the learning of students assessed


Provides evidence achievement to certify student competence or program effectiveness

Assessment for learning

Use assessments to help students assess and adjust their own learning

Assessment for learning

Use classroom assessments to inform teacher’s decisions

Formative uses of summative data

Use of summative evidence to inform what comes next for individuals or groups of students

research study
Research Study
  • Shavelson, et. al., embedded formal formative assessments into a unit on buoyancy from a nationally recognized science curriculum (FAST)
  • P-O-E tasks were built into conceptual hinge points in the lessons’ sequence called “reflective lessons,” which were designed to provide useful information to the teachers and students about students’ understanding of floating and sinking.
research study1
Research Study
  • Teachers received PD about the curriculum and the “reflective lessons.”
  • Lessons were videotaped.
  • Teachers were asked to hold class discussions during the reflective lessons.
  • Discussions only took 27% of the time and were not always right after the POE or short-answer tasks.
  • This was the problem – it was at this point the students were to use FA information, but they were not given processing time.
research study2
Research Study
  • Other student-centered parts of the FA became easily derailed.
  • Teachers did use a variety of strategies for collecting student ideas and concepts.
  • They did display the ideas.
  • Only a few of the teachers spent time clustering the ideas, looking for patterns, or helping students make sense of the ideas.
research study3
Research Study
  • Most of the time, teachers did not ask follow-up or “why” questions to ask students to express their reasoning.
  • Most of the time, students did not back up their scientific claims with evidence.
  • Most of the time (83%), when students were talking they were addressing the teacher rather than other students.
research study4
Research Study
  • “…the notion that when it comes to significant learning it matters more what the student does than what the teacher does is a conceptual change that is difficult for most teachers to make at first.”
  • “…we are talking about a complex change in culture – a change that will require effort over time.”
research study5
Research Study
  • “The bottom line is that formative assessment is a learning process. It is not a prepackaged program with teachers manuals, lesson plans, worksheets, and other materials. It is not something that teachers must enact but, rather, something they must embrace. Although embracing significant conceptual change about what it means to teach and what we should count as evidence of learning is difficult, it is much more lasting than asking teachers to adopt the next educational trend or buzzword.”
kit management
Kit Management
  • Logistics
  • Barriers
  • Support needed
  • Sustainability
writing in science
Learning Targets:

I can explain the rationale for using science notebooks as an instructional tool.

I can identify ways that WinS can assist with the implementation of the science literacy standards.

Writing In Science
science notebooks
Science Notebooks
  • Is a science notebook different from a science journal or log?
  • How have you science notebooks been used in the past?
where is the trouble
Where is the trouble?

Does it lie

with content


with communication?

five big assumptions seattle s science notebook program
Five Big AssumptionsSeattle’s Science Notebook Program
  • Students are motivated to learn new concepts and skills when they are engaged in meaningful learning experiences, such as those in inquiry-based science units.
  • The ultimate goal is for students to develop an understanding of science concepts, and to do so, they must learn how to think scientifically
assumptions cont
…Assumptions (cont)

Students also need to learn specific scientific skills (e.g., making observations and interpreting data) and forms of expository writing (e.g., data analysis and conclusions) to help them construct their understanding of concepts and develop their ability to think analytically. Science notebooks serve as a tool in this learning.

assumptions cont1
…Assumptions (cont)

Students need scaffolding and modeling to help them learn science concepts, scientific thinking and skills, and expository writing.

Elementary students have limited time and energy for making entries in their science notebooks, so their entries should focus on expository writing that will deepen their conceptual understanding and/or develop their scientific skills and thinking.

science notebooks1
Science Notebooks

The science notebook is not a product that looks good, but it is a product to support learning and to develop expository writing skills.

The science notebook is not about what students did, but it is about helping them to make meaning of what they did.

Avoid having students write about how they felt, what was their favorite…,what they did, or a generic, “What did you learn today?”

Notebooks should be for formative rather than summative purposes and, therefore, should not be graded.

writing in science how to scaffold instruction to support learning
Writing in Science:How to Scaffold Instruction to Support Learning

Science Session


Date and Focus Question

Active Investigation

Record data, take notes, make illustrations or diagrams

Shared Reflection


Writing Session

Shared Review

Questions about shared reflection of conclusions based on focus question

Shared Writing

Model structure


Independent Writing

Use scaffolding to complete notebook entries

Pg. 152

science notebook rules for science section
Science Notebook “Rules”for Science Section

Date, in numerals, the first page of the entry.

Write a focus or investigative question for each lesson.

Write something about each science session.

Write legibly (not necessarily their “best handwriting”).

“You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to think like a rocket scientist.”

Gerry Wheeler, NSTA Executive Director