Nurturing and Sustaining Effective Programs in Science Education for Grades K-8

BUILDING A VILLAGE IN CALIFORNIA

Summary of a Convocation

Steve Olson, Rapporteur

Jay B. Labov, Editor

NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES AND NATIONAL ACADEMY OF ENGINEERING OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS

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Steve Olson, Rapporteur Jay B. Labov, Editor

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THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20001 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Gov- erning Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engi- neering, and the Institute of Medicine. This study was supported by the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Fund of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering and a grant from the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recom- mendations expressed in this publication are those of the persons identified in the report and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Academies. International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-14366-0 International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-14366-7 Additional copies of this report are available from the National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, N.W., Lockbox 285, Washington, DC 20055; (800) 624-6242 or (202)334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area); Internet, http://www.nap. edu. Copyright 2009 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America Cover credit: Stock photos from Getty Images®. Suggested citation: National Academy of Sciences and National Academy of Engi- neering. (2009). Nurturing and Sustaining Effective Programs in Science Education for Grades K-8: Building a Village in California: Summary of a Convocation. Steve Olson, Rapporteur. Jay B. Labov, Editor. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

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The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal govern- ment on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the char- ter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstand - ing engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Charles M. Vest is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in pro - viding services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. Charles M. Vest are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council. www.national-academies.org

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CONVOCATION ORGANIZERS Alberts,* Professor, University of California, San Francisco Bruce Maureen Allen, Consultant/Instructor, Beckman@Science, Los Alamitos Raymond Bartlett, Senior STEM Consultant, Teaching Institute for Essential Science, Columbia, Maryland Eilene Cross, Consultant, California Council on Science and Technology, Pleasanton Angela Phillips Diaz, Special Assistant to the Chancellor, University of California, Riverside Jacqueline Dorrance, Executive Director, Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation, Irvine Susan Elrod, Director, Center for Excellence in Science and Mathematics Education, California Polytechnic State University Susan Hackwood, Executive Director, California Council on Science and Technology, Riverside Susan Harvey, Senior Program Officer, S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation, San Francisco Harry Helling, President and Chief Executive Officer, Crystal Cove Alliance, Newport Coast Michael Masterson, Systems and Research Manager, California STEM Innovation Network, California Polytechnic State University Sue Neuen, Director of Professional Development, California Science Center, Los Angeles Soo Venkatesan, Program Officer, S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation, San Francisco Staff Jay Labov (Convocation Director), Senior Advisor for Education and Communication, National Academy of Sciences and National Research Council Dorothy Majewski, Senior Project Assistant, Center for Education, National Research Council *Member, National Academy of Sciences. v

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Contents Preface ix Structure of the Report xiii Acknowledgments xv 1 The Challenges Facing California 1 2 The National Context 15 3 Science Education in Action 25 4 Exemplary Programs 35 5 Fostering Sustainable Programs 53 6 Rising to the Challenge 61 References 75 vii

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viii CONTENTS Appendixes A Convocation Agenda 79 B Convocation Participants 85 C Biographical Sketches of Presenters and Facilitators 93 D Summary of Selected National Academies Reports 105

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Preface S cience education in California is in a state of crisis. On the 2005 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), California eighth graders ranked second lowest among the students of all states in science. On the 2007 fifth grade California Standards Test in Science, only 37 percent of students scored at a proficient level, even though profi- ciency levels are set lower in California than for the NAEP test. In a recent survey of San Francisco Bay Area elementary school teachers, four of five teachers in kindergarten through fifth grade reported spending less than an hour on science each week; one in six teachers devoted no time at all to science. And all these problems are likely to intensify: an ongoing fiscal crisis in the state threatens further cutbacks, teacher and administrator layoffs, and less money for professional development. It is especially painful to watch the deterioration of science education in California given the increasingly pervasive roles that science and tech- nology play in the state. For decades, California has led the nation and the world through innovations in aerospace, energy production, digital technologies, biotechnology, agriculture, environmental technologies, and multimedia entertainment. Of the nation’s top 10 research universities (as measured by federal research funding), 4 are in California. Almost a third of the members of the National Academy of Sciences and more than a fourth of the members of the National Academy of Engineering live and work in California. The human and institutional infrastructure needed to rebuild science education in California is available. But the problems plaguing K-12 education in California have kept many teachers, schools, ix

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x PREFACE and school districts from taking advantage of the state’s rich resources in science and technology. On April 29-30, 2009, the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering, in association with the California Council on Science and Technology (CCST), the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation, and the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation, hosted a meeting at the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Center in Irvine, California, to confront the crisis in California science education, particularly at the kindergarten through eighth grade level. The convocation brought together key stakeholders in the science education system to enable and facilitate an exploration of ways to more effectively and efficiently sup - port, sustain, and communicate across the state concerning promising research and practices in K-8 science education. Through discussions organized and moderated by facilitators, convocation participants exam- ined data collected from several large science education initiatives, one in California and two in other states (Washington and New Jersey), that have been deemed successful on the basis of various kinds of evidence. Convocation participants were tasked with considering what additional kinds of research might be valuable as part of efforts like these. Importantly, the organizers of the convocation made clear to all attendees that the convocation was not a one-time event. Rather, it was specifically designed to launch a series of subsequent activities aimed at developing a workable model for sustaining effective education programs in California. These are to be overseen by CCST and other organizations in the state. The meeting was remarkable for the diversity of institutions rep- resented, including the state and federal governments, business and industry, K-12 teachers and administrators, higher education, philan - thropic organizations, and education researchers. Many participants observed that the meeting was their first opportunity to talk at length and in depth with such a wide-ranging group of stakeholders in the California education system. The current state of affairs is unacceptable, many participants said. Ways must be found to harness the existing base of experience, knowl - edge, and research-based evidence about effective education programs for all students to return science education in California to world-class status. All of the sectors with an interest in science education must agree on what needs to be done and then work together to achieve those objectives. While each group has an essential and unique role to play, improvement of science and technology education, especially at the K-8 level, will be possible only when all stakeholders share a common vision and goals. An idea that was extensively discussed at the workshop and described in Chapter 6 of this summary of the meeting is the formation of a broad-

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xi PREFACE based coalition designed to reform science education in California. Efforts to build such a coalition have continued since the meeting, and this report offers ideas about how those efforts can continue to progress and how new initiatives can foster and support more broadly based efforts to improve science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education. But time is short. Once a base of expertise among K-8 teachers and administrators is lost, rebuilding that base can be very difficult. A few days before the convocation, President Barack Obama spoke at the headquarters of the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, DC. Observing that “the progress and prosperity of future generations will depend on what we do now to educate the next generation,” he announced “a renewed commitment to education in mathematics and sci- ence.” The challenges are daunting, he said, but America has risen to such challenges many times before. “Even in the hardest times and against the toughest odds, we have never given in to pessimism, we have never sur- rendered our fates to chance, we have worked hard, we have sought out new frontiers.”1 The progress and prosperity of future generations will depend on what we do now to educate the next generation. —President Barack Obama Throughout its history, California has led the nation into the future. It has pioneered many of the innovations that have made the United States a world leader in industry and culture. It has served as a beacon of American energy and optimism. In the midst of the current crisis, with the support and creativity of the many people and organizations that both influence and depend on effective science education for students in grades K-8 and beyond, California has an opportunity to again demonstrate the clear-sighted vision that has resulted in so many past triumphs. We hope that the convocation marked a turning point and that this publication will help a much broader group of stakeholders better understand and act in concert to ensure an effective science education for all students in California and throughout the nation. Bruce Alberts Jay Labov 1Video and audio streaming and a transcript of President Obama’s speech are available at http://www.nationalacademies.org/morenews/20090428.html.

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Structure of the Report T his summary provides a narrative, rather than a chronological, overview of the presentations and the ensuing rich discussions that permeated the convocation. It brings together into individual chapter’s themes that were raised and recurred throughout the event. • Chapter 1, The Challenges Facing California, focuses on intro - ductory remarks that set the theme and the tone for the entire convocation about the multitude of challenges that are currently besetting science education in California, especially attempts to educate children in Grades K-8. • Chapter 2, The National Context, describes presentations and dis- cussion that helped to frame the current environment in California with concerns and science education initiatives nationally. • Members of the organizing group were concerned that some par- ticipants might never have experienced hands-on, inquiry-based approaches to science education. Thus, part of the morning of Day 1 was devoted to demonstrations of such approaches with ele- mentary school children from Orange County. Chapter 3, Science Education in Action, describes these activities. • Chapter 4, Exemplary Programs, focuses on presentations from Day 1 about three programs for K-8 science education considered by the organizing group to be exemplary based on evidence that has been systematically collected from their inception. These pre- xiii

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xiv STRUCTURE OF THE REPORT sentations served as the basis for further discussion during the afternoon breakout sessions on Day 1. • Day 2 was devoted to synthesizing information from the presen- tations, plenary discussions, and breakout sessions from Day 1. Chapter 5, Fostering Sustainable Programs, describes these very rich conversations and how they were used as preludes to the final breakout sessions of the morning. The breakout sessions enabled people from each of the sectors represented to meet with each other, discuss what they had heard, and begin to formulate plans for action that their sector could most effectively promote and execute. • Chapter 6, Rising to the Challenge, is devoted to reporting the ideas and plans for action that each of the sectors had developed. This chapter is now serving as the basis for subsequent activities that have begun to unfold across California. Throughout the report, footnotes provide links to websites of all the organizations and programs mentioned in the narrative. The References section contains complete citations to the data that were discussed during the presentations. Appendixes A and B provide readers with the convocation agenda and a list of participants, respectively. Appendix C contains biographical sketches of the convocation organizers and presenters. Appendix D pres - ents summaries of 10 major reports on various aspects of science, technol- ogy, engineering, and mathematics education published by the National Academies during the past decade. Each report was selected for inclusion for its direct implications for the topics discussed at the convocation.

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Acknowledgments T his publication summarizes the presentations made at the Convoca- tion on Sustaining Effective Science Education Programs for Grades K-8 in California. The summary is limited to material presented and statements made by individual participants at the convocation. This convocation summary has been reviewed in draft form by indi - viduals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the summary meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the process. We thank the following individuals for their careful and thoughtful review of this report: Lynn E. Baroff, Office of the Executive Director, California Space Education and Workforce Insti - tute, Pasadena; Richard Cardullo, Department of Biology, University of California, Riverside; Jim Gentile, President, Research Corporation for Science Advancement, Tucson; and Kathryn Scantlebury, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Delaware. Although the reviewers listed above provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the content of the report, nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Carlo Parravano, executive director, Merck Institute for Science Education. He was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this summary was xv

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xvi ACKNOWLEDGMENTS carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final con - tent of this summary rests entirely with the author, the editor, and the institution. We sincerely thank the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation and the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation for their support of this convocation and the production and dissemination of this report.