TEN-YEAR STUDY MAPS ROUTE TO QUALITY MATHEMATICS AND SCIENCE TEACHING
Good teaching requires well-prepared teachers. With the nation poised to reinvigorate US achievement in mathematics and science, findings released by Horizon Research, Inc. of Chapel Hill, NC demonstrate that what makes a difference in mathematics and science teaching is ongoing, content-focused professional development.
Directed by Dr. Iris Weiss, the Horizon Research, Inc. study examined 88 mathematics and science projects nationwide over a ten-year period. The National Science Foundation funded the projects under the Local Systemic Change Initiatives through Teacher Enhancement program. Rather than offering “one-shot” workshops, Local Systemic Change (LSC) projects engaged teachers in year round, continuing education, which allowed them to develop and apply new knowledge in a supportive school district culture.
The Horizon Research, Inc. study of LSC projects found impacts on teachers and teaching evident after approximately 30 hours of participating in professional development. As a result of the programs which included training in the implementation of district-designated instructional materials:
- The overall quality of mathematics/science lessons improved, including the
quality of content in lessons;
- Teachers used more investigative practices and high-quality questioning of content in lessons;
- The amount of time spent on science instruction at the elementary level increased; and
- Teachers were more likely to use the designated instructional materials.
For more information about findings from the study of Local Systemic Change (LSC) professional development for mathematics and science teachers, visit www.pdmathsci.net. (Summary from Triangle Coalition Electronic Bulletin, March 16, 2006, Vol. 12, No. 11, used with permission).