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Module 4: Science, Technology, and Education Science and technology education from diverse perspectives Science education controversies Information technology and education Women and science education Race and science education Science Education

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Module 4 science technology and education l.jpg
Module 4: Science, Technology, and Education

Science and technology education from diverse perspectives

  • Science education controversies

  • Information technology and education

  • Women and science education

  • Race and science education

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Science Education

  • For nations, science is widely seen as a source of economic development.

  • For individuals, science provides access to economic and social advancement.

  • Education controls access to these opportunites, so science education programs are an important context where science deeply affects society.

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Today: Science Education Controversies Advanced Secondary Study

  • The National Academy as a source of advice on policy questions involving science.

  • Programs for advanced study of science in secondary schools as a window on science education more broadly.

  • Cognitive research as a methodology for evaluating educational programs.

  • Education at different levels: the secondary-college interface.

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The National Academy of Sciences

  • Created by Congress to advise the nation.

  • Consists of about 1000 scientists elected on the basis of research achievement.

  • It’s research arm, the National Research Council, conducts studies upon request by any agency of the government.

  • Those conducting a study (not necessarily members) are selected for their relevant expertise, and the selection is subject to public comment.

  • Several hundred investigations are conducted annually; extremely diverse (see partial current list).

  • Study committees work by consensus (usually).

  • Investigations must meet rigorous standards of peer review.

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Improving Advanced Study of Mathematics and Science in U.S. High Schools

  • 2-year study by the National Research Council, Center for Education.

  • Stimulated initially by TIMSS international comparisons.

  • Focused on AP and IB programs in Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Math.

  • Considers programs in light of research on learning and cognition.

  • Committee: scientist-researchers, teachers, educators with experience in teacher education and access/equity, cognitive scientists.

  • Supported by NSF, Dept. of Education.

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Committee Members High Schools

  • Jerry Gollub, Physics, Haverford/Penn (Co-Chair)

  • Philip Curtis, Math, UCLA (Co-Chair)

  • Camilla Benbow, Education, Vanderbilt

  • Hilda Borko, Education, UC Boulder

  • Wanda Bussy, IB Math Teacher

  • Glenn Crosby, Chemistry, Washington State

  • John Dossey, Mathematics, Illinois State

  • David Ely, AP Biology Teacher

  • J.K. Haynes, Biology, Morehouse

  • Deborah Hughes Hallett, Mathematics, U. Arizona

  • Valerie Lee, Education, Michigan

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Committee (cont.) and Staff High Schools

  • Stephanie Pace Marshall, President Illinois Math and Science Academy

  • Michael Martinez, Education, U.C. Irvine

  • Patsy Mueller, AP Chemistry Teacher

  • Joseph Novak, education, Cornell and U.W. FL

  • Jeannie Oakes, GSE, UCLA

  • Robin Spital, AP Physics Teacher

  • Conrad Stanitski, Chemistry, U. Central AK

  • William Wood,Biology, U. Colorado Boulder

    NRC STAFF: Jay Labov (Director); Meryl Bertenthal (Sr. Program Officer);

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Acknowledgements High Schools

  • 22 Members of Content Panels in physics, chemistry, biology, and mathematics

  • Directors and 20 staff of the AP and IB programs

  • Experts on learning and cognition

  • Experts on the TIMMS Study

  • Many consultants: minority students; students with special needs

  • Survey of college admissions officers

  • NRC suppport staff and consultants

  • > $1 Million from NSF and the U.S. Dept. of Education

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AP Physics Exams High Schools

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The AP Program High Schools

  • Developed by the College Board.

  • 11 courses in 8 science/math subjects.

  • Course outlines based on college surveys.

  • Elective, end-of-course exams, 760,000 per year; 1-5 scale; 34% do not take the exams.

  • Limited specific advice to teachers. Actual courses vary widely.

  • Teacher preparation is quite diverse.

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International Baccalaureate Program High Schools

  • Started as an international standard for families stationed outside home countries.

  • 272 U.S. schools, 51,000 examinations

  • Most students are diploma candidates; integrated program of 6-7 courses over 2 years.

  • In-course and final examinations to measure knowledge, understanding, and cognitive skill.

  • Internal assessments: laboratory investigations; portfolios in mathematics

  • Not designed for college credit, but credit is sometimes given.

  • Monitored by IBO.

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Context of Advanced Study High Schools

  • Angst about performance of schools

  • Uneven resources: money; teachers; programs

  • Disparities in participation

  • Poor coordination between levels: middle school, high school, and college

  • Advanced study as currency for admission to college

  • Mis-use of advanced study programs

  • Differentiated vs. constrained curriculum (tracking)

  • Inadequate support and development opportunities for teachers.

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African American High Schools











Minority Participation and Success in AP

  • Number of AP courses offered in schools declines as African-American and Hispanic population increases. (CA)

  • These groups under-participate by factor of 3-4 nationally.

Mean AP Scores

AP Bio Chem PhysB PhC-M PhC-EM CalcAB Calc BC


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Misuses of AP and IB Exams in Ranking Schools and Evaluating Teachers

  • Counter to AERA Standards for Testing because uncontrolled for prior knowledge.

  • May cause teachers to discourage students from taking courses or exams.

  • Motivates teachers to teach to tests that are flawed.

  • Prevents schools from offering other rigorous options.

  • Emphasizing enrollment numbers can lead to inadequate preparation of students.

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The Recommendations: Teachers1. Primary Goal of Advanced Study

  • The primary goal - for students to achieve deep conceptual understanding of the content and unifying concepts of a discipline.

  • To develop skills of inquiry, analysis, and problem solving so that they become superior learners.

  • Acceleration and the aim of obtaining college credit compete with depth of understanding.

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2. Access and Equity Teachers

  • Schools need a coherent plan extending from middle school through the last years of secondary school. Treat all students as potential future participants (in advanced courses) while in grades 6-10.

  • Course options with reduced academic content leave students unprepared for further study and should be eliminated. *

  • Improving access requires many parties to work together:

    • Invest in facilities and materials; train teachers; provide support systems for students.

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3. Learning Principles Teachers

  • Programs of advanced study in science and mathematics must be made consistent with findings from recent research on how people learn.

    • Importance of principled conceptual knowledge;

    • The learner’s prior knowledge is used to create new understanding;

    • Motivation and confidence affect learning;

    • Self-monitoring of learning improves proficiency;

    • Context of learning (practices and activities) shapes what is learned.

  • Current programs not designed with these principles in mind, but can benefit from this body of research.

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Example of Analysis of Programs based on Learning Principles Teachers

  • Role of Prior Knowledge:

    • Prerequisites: Neither the CB nor IBO specify the competencies students need prior to advanced study.

    • Inadequate preparation of students starting in middle school.

    • Inadequate attention to sequencing topics within courses for gradually increasing complexity.

    • Inadequate attention to diagnosing and correcting common misconceptions.

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Example of Analysis of Programs based on Learning Principles Teachers

  • Situated Learning: What is learned depends on the context of the learning experience.

    • AP Program does not assess ability to apply learning to new situations.

    • AP and IB programs do not emphasize interdisciplinary connections.

    • Programs make inadequate use of hands-on or inquiry-based laboratory experiences.

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A Framework for Evaluating Programs Teachers

  • Systematic program design based on learning principles is required for success:

    • Effective curricula in math and science are coherent, focused on important ideas, and sequenced to optimize learning.

    • Instruction begins with careful consideration of students thinking.

    • Assessment includes both process and content, aligned with instruction and desired outcomes.

    • Development opportunities for teachers are essential.

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4. Curriculum Teachers

  • Curricula for advanced study should focus on a reasonable number of central organizing concepts and principles and their empirical basis.

  • Integration with earlier courses. Multiple year programs may help.

  • Requires collaborative team effort: teachers, scientists, experts in pedagogy. Repeated cycles of design and revision.

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5. Instruction Teachers

  • Engage students in inquiry via opportunities to experiment, analyze, make conjectures argue, and solve problems.

  • Instruction: recognize differences among learners; employ multiple representations of ideas; pose a variety of tasks.

  • Program developers should suggest appropriate strategies to teachers. Current materials provide little assistance.

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6. Assessment: During and After Teachers

  • Assessment should include content and process.

  • Final assessments influence instruction, so they need to measure what is important.

  • Avoid predictable formulaic questions; test conceptual understanding and thinking.

  • Need for research about what the examinations measure.

  • Teachers need assistance with with in-course assessments for practice and feedback.

  • Reporting: A single numerical score is not sufficiently informative.

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7. Teachers and Prof. Development Teachers

  • AP and IB should specify the qualifications expected of teachers.

  • Schools must provide frequent opportunities for continuing professional development.

  • AP and IB should provide models of PD that foster quality instruction.

  • PD should emphasize deep understanding of content and subject-specific methods of inquiry.

  • Teachers need professional communities.

  • University science and mathematics departments can help.

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8. Alternative Programs Teachers

  • Approaches to advanced study other than AP and IB should be developed and evaluated.

  • Many alternatives exist: collaborative programs; college sponsored enrichment; specialized schools; distance learning; internships; competitions.

  • Alternatives may increase access to advanced study or lead to novel and effective strategies.

  • Special needs of very high-ability students (top few %).

  • Important role for funding agencies.

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9. Secondary-College Interface Teachers

  • Credit and placement decisions: base on multiple sources of information.

  • College admissionsdepartments: discourage taking advanced courses without doing well or taking the exams.

  • College and university scientists and mathematicians: focus our own courses on deep understanding, etc.

  • Departments: carefully advise undergraduates about benefits and costs of bypassing introductory courses.

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10. Changes in AP and IB Teachers

  • CB: AP courses should not be designed to replicate typical introductory college courses.

  • CB and IBO: revise assessments to measure conceptual understanding and complex reasoning.

  • Both: provide guidance and assistance to schools and teachers on instructional practices and teacher qualifications. Lists of topics aren’t enough.

  • CB: Exercise more quality control over courses.

  • Both: discourage misuses of exam scores.

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The Full Report: Teachers

  • Explains how programs fit within the context of high schools; relationship to middle school and higher education.

  • Describes AP, IB, and alternatives in depth.

  • Reviews research on learning and its application to improving curriculum, instruction, assessment, and teacher prof. development.

  • Analyzes AP and IB programs for consistency with this research.

  • Describes misuses of these programs.

  • Presents recommendations for change.

  • Includes panel reports on Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Mathematics (web only).

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Content Panel Reports: Common Elements Teachers

  • Inadequate utilization of learning research. Programs not consistent with national standards; excessive content encourages memorization rather than conceptual learning. Insufficient interdisciplinary connections in AP.

  • Exams do not test conceptual understanding adequately.

  • Biology and chemistry courses are out of date.

  • Clear expectations for teacher and student preparation are needed.

  • Insufficient cooperation between schools and universities.

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Research Needs Teachers

  • Research on effectiveness is needed. Data appears to show that AP students exempted from college courses do well, but is flawed.

  • How are these courses actually implemented?

  • What instructional practices are effective in advanced study?

  • What do the tests actually measure (what cognitive processes are elicited)?

  • How are the colleges and universities affected?

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What will make all this happen? Teachers

  • Many different organizations and individuals need to cooperate to change this complex system:

    • Curriculum developers

    • School districts

    • Government

    • Colleges and universities