ERIC Number: ED518457
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Oct
Reference Count: N/A
Science: It's Elementary. Year One Evaluation Report
Banilower, Eric R.
Horizon Research, Inc. (NJ1)
The "Science: It's Elementary" (SIE) program is overseen by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) and managed by ASSET Inc. SIE is an initiative aimed at improving elementary science instruction across the commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The program is focused on helping schools and districts implement an inquiry-based, hands-on science education program, with the ultimate goal of improving student learning. To accomplish its goals, SIE provides participating schools with module-based science instructional materials; teacher professional development around those modules and inquiry-based science teaching; and opportunities for strategic planning to help create supportive systems for science education reform. This report summarizes the activities and findings of Horizon Research, Inc. (HRI) in its external evaluation of the "Science: It's Elementary" (SIE) program in the period September 2006 through June 2007. In its first year, the SIE program can be credited with a number of accomplishments. The program has conducted two Strategic Planning Institutes (one for schools in the western part of the state and another for schools in the eastern half) and Vision Conferences; provided schools with opportunities to explore the various modules being offered by SIE; provided three days of professional development to nearly 1,300 teachers across the state; and delivered a ready-to-use science module to each teacher participating in the program. Overall, teachers, principals, and district staff have reported positive experiences with each of the elements of the SIE program. Although the project has accomplished a great deal in its first year, as is the case with most programs in their early stages, a substantial amount of work remains to be done. In the spirit of a critical friend, HRI offers the following recommendations to assist the program in reflection and planning for the future. These are: (1) Provide greater support to districts, schools, and teachers in developing articulated curricula that incorporate the SIE-provided modules and that also ensure that all state science standards will be addressed; (2) Continue to refine the initial three-day professional development provided to teachers; (3) The program's plans for future professional development wisely include a focus on deepening teachers' understanding of the content in their first module. In addition, the program should work to strengthen teachers' vision of effective inquiry-based science instruction; and (4) With the necessary addition of a large number of trainers for the program's second year, the program should consider additional ways to build structures to support their work. Appendices include: (1) District Curriculum Alignment Questionnaire and Summary of Data; (2) Teacher Questionnaire; (3) Selected Teacher Curriculum Survey Results; (4) Composite Definitions; and (5) Regression Tables from Student Achievement Analyses. (Contains 17 figures, 27 tables and 23 footnotes.)
Descriptors: Elementary School Science, Strategic Planning, Hands on Science, Program Effectiveness, Instructional Materials, Educational Change, Science Instruction, Inservice Teacher Education, Curriculum Implementation, Program Evaluation, Guidelines, Standards, Alignment (Education), Questionnaires, Teacher Surveys, Observation, Interviews, Pretests Posttests, Experimental Groups, Control Groups, Comparative Analysis, Teacher Attitudes, Science Achievement, Trainers, State Programs, Educational Policy, Instructional Improvement, Achievement Gap
Horizon Research, Inc. 326 Cloister Court, Chapel Hill, NC 27514. Tel: 919-489-1725; Fax: 919-493-7589; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Web site: http://www.horizon-research.com
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: Adult Education; Elementary Education; Elementary Secondary Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: Horizon Research, Inc.
Identifiers - Location: Pennsylvania