The following HTML text is provided to enhance online
readability. Many aspects of typography translate only awkwardly to HTML.
Please use the page image
as the authoritative form to ensure accuracy.
Preparing Teachers: Building Evidence for Sound Policy
What instructional opportunities are necessary to prepare successful teachers?
THE RESEARCH BASE
Although there is a wealth of material on science learning and teaching, a recent committee that considered science learning and teaching described this work as mostly “short in duration and limited in scope, focusing on a few students or a few classrooms, [examining] some small part of the vast domain of science” (National Research Council, 2007, p. 212). The report adds that science learning is complex and that “the research on learning cannot be reduced to a few ‘what works’ bullets without losing much of its value” (p. 212). We are greatly indebted to the work of this and several past National Research Council (NRC) committees that have produced a number of reports that were extremely useful to us.
First, National Science Education Standards (National Research Council, 1996) provided a definitive resource for the question of what students need to learn about science. These standards were designed as a way to coordinate and update previous science standards that had been developed by the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).
Another key resource for our committee was Taking Science to School (National Research Council, 2007). This report summarized the evidence and drew conclusions from the research on science learning and on how science should be taught in K-8 classrooms. The report drew on many sources of evidence about science and learning and built on findings from previous NRC reports on learning in young children as well as older children and adults, mathematics learning, and assessment. The report synthesizes disparate sources of insights related to science education, such as work that describes the building blocks of science learning in young children, and that maps the development of proficiency in different aspects of science.1
These and other reports, as well as meta-analyses conducted by Davis, Petish, and Smithey (2006) and by Shroeder and colleagues (2007), were particularly useful to us in meeting our charge of identifying consensus in the field and considering the extent to which teacher preparation programs in science reflect that consensus.2 In general, however, we note that the literature on science education includes more professional judgments and
The opening chapter of Taking Science to School provides a detailed discussion of trends in scholarship on science learning.
A report from the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Institute for Advanced Study (2009) draws on a variety of sources to make recommendations regarding teacher quality and preparation, standards for student achievement, and other issues.