Achieve and its work • Achieve, Inc., was created by the nation’s governors and business leaders in 1996 following the first National Education Summit. • Achieve is a bipartisan , non-profit organization that helps states raise academic standards, improve assessments, and strengthen accountability to prepare all young people for postsecondary education, work, and citizenship. • Achieve and the National Governors Association co-sponsored the 2005 National Education Summit on High Schools.
The 2005 National Education Summit on High Schools • At the 2005 National Education Summit on High Schools, governors from 45 states joined with business leaders and education officials to address a critical problem in American education: Too few high school students graduate prepared for the demands of postsecondary education and 21st-century jobs. • As a result of the Summit, 29 states have joined with Achieve to form the American Diploma Project Network.
Achieve’s Benchmarking Services Achieve contracts with individual states to provide • In-depth review of standards in the core subject areas, customized to a state’s priorities and culminating in a detailed report to the state • Alignment reviews of state tests to state standards, based on Achieve’s subject-specific protocols and conducted by content area experts
The 2005 National Education Summit on High Schools Why the Urgency for Science Education Reform?
Economic warning signals • Surrendering Our Competitive Edge • Nearly half of U.S. patent applications in 2001 were filed by foreign competitors • U.S. trails western Europe in number of research publications, while Asian publications escalate1 • U.S. share of high technology exports has fallen in last two decades from 30% to 17% and trade balance in high-technology manufactured goods went from plus $33 in 1990 to minus $24 billion in 20042 Sources:  Computer Systems Policy Project, Choose to Compete. How Innovation, Investment and Productivity Can Grow U.S. Jobs and Ensure American `Competitiveness` in the 21st Century, 2005, p. 16.  National Academies Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy, Rising Above the Gathering Storm
Economic warning signals • Likely Shortfall in STEM Professionals • Sharp increase in retirements, including teachers, will occur over next 20 years1 • Falling proportion of students earning STEM degrees– from 32% to 27% – in the last 10 years2 • Cannot count on continuing supply of foreign nationals who now fill numerous STEM slots Sources:  National Science Board, The Science and Engineering Workforce. Realizing America’s Potential. An Emerging and Critical Problem of The Science and Engineering Labor Force, National Science Foundation, August 14, 2003, p. 21.  Government Accounting Office, Higher Education: Federal Science, Technology,Engineering and Mathematics Programs and Related Trends, www.gao.gov.new.items/d06114.pdf, October 2005.
Education warning signals: international results • U.S. students trail peers on TIMSS (administered at grades 4 and 8) • And, trail peers on PISA (administered to 15 year-olds) PISA may be especially telling because it targets the ability to apply knowledge, rather than content common to participating countries
Education warning signals: NAEP 2005 science results • NAEP 2005 Science: Summary Results • Grade 4: Overall average score up from 2000 • Grade 8: Results flat • Grade 12: Results flat • NAEP 2005 Science: Areas of Special Concern • Though rarely statistically significant, % of students at advanced level has declined since 1996 at all grades • Greatest gains at grades 4 and 8 come from lowest 50% of students • Average score of grade 8 students for physical science has declined since 1996
Too few high school students graduate on time Source: Manhattan Institute, April 2006, Leaving Boys Behind: Public High School Graduation Rates.
College bound does not necessarily mean college ready Percentage of U.S. first-year students in two-year and four-year institutions requiring remediation • Nearly three in 10 first-year students are placed immediately into a remedial college course. Source: National Center for Education Statistics, Remedial Education at Degree-Granting Postsecondary Institutions in Fall 2000, 2003.
Most U.S. College students who take remedial courses fail to earn degrees Percentage not earning degree by type of remedial coursework • Many college students who need remediation, especially in reading and math, do not earn either an associate’s or a bachelor’s degree. Source: National Center for Education Statistics, The Condition of Education, 2004: % of 1992 12th graders who entered postsecondary education.
Towards A Solution Path: Scientific and Technological Literacy For All Students
Scientific and technological literacy • Scientificliteracy involves the ability to grasp issues, raise questions and draw conclusions, based on the quality of the supporting evidence • Technologicalliteracy involves the ability to use technology, weigh the pros and cons of new technologies, recognize that unanticipated side effects may result, and that all technological solutions involve trade-offs.
Scientific and technological literacy These abilities are necessary, not just nice. They are essential for • maximizing employment opportunities in a global economy driven by science and technology; • participating in a democracy in the context of a global society; and • making informed decisions as a consumer, e.g., on health care and retirement planning Yet Americans avoid studying science; the result? • 20% think the sun travels around the Earth • 50% believe dinosaurs and humans co-existed
The Changed And Changing Job Market
Whether graduates are going to college or work, they need the same skills • Research by both the American Diploma Project and ACT found: The knowledge and skills that high school graduates will need to be successful in college are the same as those they will need to be successful in a job that • pays enough to support a family well above the poverty level • provides benefits • offers clear pathways for career advancement through further education and training Sources: ACT, Inc., Crisis at the Core-Preparing all students for College and Work, 2005 Achieve, Inc. Ready or Not-Creating a High School Diploma That Counts, 2004.
A high school diploma is not the last educational stop required • Jobs that require postsecondary education or training will make up more than two-thirds of new jobs. Source: Carnevale, Anthony P. and Donna M. Desrochers, Standards for What? The Economic Roots of K–16 Reform, Educational Testing Service, 2003.
Jobs in today’s workforce require more education & training Change in the distribution of education/skill level in jobs, 1973 v. 2001 -9% -23% +16% +16% Source: Carnevale, Anthony P. and Donna M. Desrochers, Standards for What? The Economic Roots of K–16 Reform, Educational Testing Service, 2003.
Science is now preparation for all careers USDOE has identified 16 Career Clusters that • group occupations/industries based on commonalities and depict multiple education pathways • help students focus on an interest area without tying them to preparation for a specific job1 Matching the real-world demands of each cluster to a recommended sequence of courses reveals that • 14/16 call for 4 years of science; 2 call for 3 years • an emphasis on preparation in the physical sciences • allcall for 4 years of math up through Algebra II2 Sources: U.S. Department of Education, Office of Vocational Technical Education, Career Cluster Brochure, July 2000.  National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium, Sample Plans of Study, www.careerclusters.org/plans.htm, 2006.
Science standards in the larger context of science education reform Looking back… • 50 years of reform efforts, despite significant effort and expense, have produced meager results • Previous initiatives were not systemic or sustained; interventions occurred in silos Going forward… • States must align all components of the system: standards, assessments, curriculum, graduation requirements, teacher preparation and development • States must wed a technical strategy to a political one to upgrade components, while gaining support Source:Heck and Weiss, Lessons Learned about Planning and Implementing Statewide Systemic Initiatives in Mathematics and Science Education, a paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, 2002, p. 4.
Components of an effective science education system • Solid standards are essential, but ineffective unless supported with aligned assessments, curriculum, and taught by teachers with a firm grasp of science and related math skills • Currently, the U.S. comes up short on all these counts • AFT reported just 23 states had aligned science standards and tests at all three NCLB required grade levels in 2005-06 • A textbook does not a curriculum make • Teaching quality is key
Why the disappointing performance in U.S. science? • Low expectations • Teaching knowledge and methods • Low caliber curriculum and textbooks • Flawed standards Result islow performing, disengaged students Source:CED: Learning For The Future, 2003
Science in Elementary School:Generalists not Specialists • K-6 teachers are typically generalists who teach most, if not all, school subjects • Nonetheless, these teachers need to lay the experiential, conceptual, and attitudinal foundation for future learning by guiding students through a range of inquiry activities
Science in the middle grades:a major disconnect Curriculum • Goes into greater depth • Is more quantitative • Requires more advanced reasoning • Uses more complex tools and technology Teachers • Often have K-8 certification with only 3-6 undergraduate credits in science • ~ 60% of students in life science and ~93% in physical science are taught by out-of-field teachers
Science in high school: out-of-field teaching High school teachers in math and science courses often teach out-of-field • Nearly 33% of math classes are taught by teachers who lack a major or minor in math • In biology, it is 45% • In physical sciences, it is 60%
Curriculum and textbooks • AAAS Project 2061 review of math/science textbooks • Only a few math texts scored at an acceptable level • No science texts! • Urban Institute Study Feb 2005 • Science curricula based on inquiry approach are consistently more effective than traditional curricula as measured by student achievement
External reviews of state’s science standards American Federation of Teachers: 7 states still lack strong science standards at elementary, middle and/or high school Fordham: Final Adjusted Letter Grades Source: The Thomas B. Fordham Institute. The State of State SCIENCE Standards 2005.
Achieve’s criteria for exemplary science standards Based on its experience, Achieve has identified criteria for exemplary science standards These include: Rigor, Coherence, Focus, Manageability, Specificity, Clarity, Measurability and Progression
Achieve’s criteria for exemplary science standards Questions that frame the criteria for exemplary science standards: • Rigor— Do the standards represent core content and level of cognitive demand necessary for success in credit-bearing college courses and entry-level high growth jobs? To what degree are inquiry strategies and application of mathematics required? • Coherence—Do the standards convey a unified vision of science as a discipline, showing the connections among the natural sciences?
Criteria for exemplary science standards • Focus— Do the standards emphasize central concepts, laws, principles and unifying theories, inquiry strategies and cross-cutting ideas, such as systems, that link the natural sciences? • Manageability — Does the amount of content delineated for a grade level or course allow for in-depth teaching and learning? • Specificity—Are the standards precise enough to transmit the level of performance expected of students? Need to strike a balance between being overly general and atomistic.
More about specificity Specificity A confounding issue in constructing standards is fluctuating grain-size. For example: From global – Describe the role of light, heat and electrical energies in physical, chemical and nuclear changes. To precise – Predict how a reaction rate will be quantitatively affected by changes in concentration.
Criteria for exemplary science standards Clarity/Accessibility— Are the standards clearly written and presented in an error free, easy-to-use format, accessible to the general public? Measurability— Is each standard measurable, observable, or verifiable in some way? Do the standards focus on the results, not the process of teaching?
Criteria for exemplary science standards Progression— Do knowledge and skills build clearly and sensibly on previous learning and increase in intellectual demand from year to year? (In general, there is a progression−for learners and for concepts−from the phenomenological to the empirical to the theoretical, or from a qualitative to a quantitative understanding.)
More about progression–an examplefrom NAEP: Science Content Source: Science Assessment and Item Specifications for the 2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress Draft: February 20, 2006
More about progression–an examplefrom NAEP:Content Table Source: Science Assessment and Item Specifications for the 2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress Draft: February 20, 2006
Scientific inquiry is at the heart of rigor Research, the core business of science, is based on inquiry, and includes such skills as: • Identifying questions that can be investigated scientifically • Designing and carrying out a scientific investigation, including observing and describing phenomena, generating hypotheses and identifying and controlling variables • Selecting and using appropriate tools and techniques to gather, analyze and interpret data • Developing descriptions, explanations, predictions and critiquing predictive and explanatory models • Reasoning critically and logically to determine the nature of qualitative and quantitative relationships (e.g., direct, inverse, or non-existent) and relating evidence to an explanation Inquiry encapsulates higher-order thinking in science and the kind of portable analytic skills that have broad application in today’s society. Source: National Research Council, Inquiry and the National Science Education Standards: A Guide for Teaching and Learning, Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press, 2000,p. 13.
Scientific inquiry is effective teaching • Guided inquiry is not just core science, it is effective teaching • Three separate lines of research provide evidence • Discovery of problem-solving rules in mathematics • Discovery of conservation strategies (Piaget’s findings) • Discovery of LOGO programming strategies
What the research base tells us about science standards:less is more Cognitive Research— K-8 students are far more capable of abstract thought and the ability to think scientifically than previously thought. Therefore • Focus on foundational, cross-cutting concepts and K-12 learning progressions, cycling back through core ideas in different contexts • Make standards parsimonious to allow time to address misconceptions and for students to reflect on and monitor their understanding Source: Committee on Science Learning, Kindergarten through Eighth Grade, Richard A. Duschl, Heidi A. Schweingruber, and Andrew W. Shouse, Editors. Taking Science to School: Learning and Teaching Science in Grades K-8. The National Academies Press: Washington D.C., ©2007
Achieve’s science benchmarks • Delaware (2003) Notable features — Grade- level standards grouped in clusters (K-3, 4-5, 6-8, 9-12); activities to show expected level of understanding; exceptional life science strand; careful treatment of controversial issues. • Indiana K-8 (2004) Notable features — Grade- level standards; integration of core content, inquiry and mathematics
Achieve’s science benchmarks • Massachusetts Science & Technology/ Engineering Standards (2006) — Grade spans for K-8 (preK-2, 3-5, 6-8) and full-year courses in Earth/Space science, biology, chemistry, introductory physics, and technology/engineering — Notable features include excellent treatment of technology/engineering, description of inquiry skills, and related mathematics
Design: Massachusetts’ approach Engineering Design 1. Identify and explain the steps of the engineering design process. The design process steps are identify the problem; research the problem; develop possible solutions; select the best possible solution(s); construct prototypes and/or models; test and evaluate; communicate the solutions; and redesign. 2. Understand that the engineering design process is used in the solution of problems and the advancement of society. Identify and explain examples of technologies, objects, and processes that have been modified to advance society.
Developing science standards: recommendations Take advantage of good work already done • State standards that external reviewers have judged as exemplary, such as, Massachusetts, Delaware, Indiana K-8, Virginia and South Carolina • NAEP 2009 Framework and related Test Specifications • TIMSS new 2007 Assessment Framework Anchor standards in real world expectations • Begin with high school and work backwards to K • Vet with postsecondary faculty and employers so standards reflect their expectations for college and work success Consider assessment issues at the same time… what gets measured, gets taught
Developing science standards: additional considerations • Science for all students vs. science preparation for STEM careers • History of science
Assessment not yet in the service of instruction Current problems • Large-scale and classroom science assessments have different but equally important purposes, but they are not aligned • Quality and rigor are found wanting • In an alignment study of items on TIMSS, NAEP, and New Standards to NSES inquiry standards, analysts found • 1/6 of multiple-choice items matched; • 1/3 of constructed- response items matched; • 2/3 of items embedded in performance tasks matched Source: Kreikmeier, et al., Testing the Alignment of Items to the National Science Education Inquiry Standards, paper presented at annual meeting of American Educational Research Association, San Diego, 2004.
Characteristics of A comprehensive assessment system Comprehensive – a range of assessments, including formative and summative, are used to provide a variety of evidence to support decision-making; Coherent – all levels of the system from the classroom to the state share a common vision of the goals for science education with curriculum, instruction and assessment all aligned with the standards; Continuous – assessments measure student progress over time and are integrated with instruction; Integrated – assessment fits into the larger system that provides professional development to build teacher capacity; and, High Quality – all assessments meet the professional standards that are relevant given their different purposes and constraints. Source: Shepard, Assessment in Support of Instruction and Learning, pp. 5-6.
The process of constructing science standards: A recommended approach Assemble a writing team with representatives from K-12, postsecondary and business 1) Decide on the big, overarching ideas, such as matter, energy and systems, and describe their most important characteristics 2) Begin with high school, identify essential core content for each area– biology, chemistry, Earth/space science and physics– and connect these to one or two of the most closely related big ideas. 3) Pay attention to the research base on where key concepts can be optimally taught and where common misconceptions can be effectively addressed.
The process of constructing science standards: A possible approach 4) Verify that the standards are clearly written 5) Build a K-12 matrix and check the progression of concepts and skills across grades to reveal redundancies or omissions for each standard. 6) Check the content expectations for each grade level to make sure topics cluster in a sensible way that facilitates connections and promotes powerful, yet manageable teaching units.