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ERIC Number: ED449032
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2000-Jun
Pages: 113
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
The Components of an Effective Mathematics and Science Middle School: Standards, Teaching Practices, and Professional Development.
Adams, Kurt; Brower, Sharon; Hill, Denise; Marshall, Irma
The purpose of this study was to identify current educational reform issues that would increase student achievement in mathematics and science in South Texas middle schools, specifically grades 4-8. Areas of research included common teacher and student needs, state and national standards in mathematics and science, competent teaching practices, and strategies of professional development. The target population of the study was grades 4 through 8 mathematics and science teachers in the state of Texas. Twenty-five (25) schools from Texas Education Regions 1, 2, 3, and 20 were randomly selected to receive surveys. The 100 selected schools yielded approximately a sample population of 350 teachers. Fifty-six (56%) of the targeted schools returned surveys resulting in a survey response rate of 51% (177 surveys). The instrument used was a self-developed survey. It solicited responses concerning subject(s) and grade levels taught, knowledge of state and national standards, professional development, effective teaching practices, and technology. Descriptive statistics included a breakdown of teacher responses to each item on the questionnaire utilizing both raw data and percentages. Each result was discussed in relation to the original question with additional discussion given when a significant difference was noted. The results indicated that there is a wide discrepancy in content knowledge, instructional methodologies utilized, program implementation, and hours of content related professional development activities between mathematics-only, science-only, and mathematics and science teachers. Mathematics teachers rated their abilities associated with content, curriculum standards, and program implementation higher than science teachers did. In general, survey results indicated a greater need in the area of science education than mathematics education and for teachers who teach both mathematics and science respectively, than for single subject teachers. The literature review and survey responses indicated hands-on activities as the most important factor when creating the ideal classroom, but responses indicated that seatwork was used most frequently. Teachers indicated that technology was important; however, it was one of the instructional methodologies utilized least frequently. The study identified three components that would enhance reform in middle school mathematics and science in South Texas. First, implement interdisciplinary teaming. Second, implement varied instruction including integration of learning experiences. And finally, implement exploratory programs exposing students to a range of vocational, academic, environmental, and recreational areas. The study identified the following practices as necessary to enhance mathematics and science middle school reform in South Texas. The curriculum should demand depth of a significant core of skills and emphasize the development of the students' reasoning abilities and problem solving abilities. Teaching should incorporate hands-on activities and the tools of technology. Finally, assessment needs to involve interdisciplinary tools. The study found that professional development must incorporate the following initiatives to secure effectiveness: teachers must be the key to student learning; teachers must develop further expertise in content areas; development should focus on implementing effective teaching methodologies; teachers should have the opportunity to develop and plan collaboratively; and professional development should be sustained, ongoing, intensive, and fully supported by the administration. (Contains 43 references.) (ASK)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Texas