the students are responding to the instruction, the teachers can then change their instructional practices accordingly.

Windschitl (2009) identified a number of features of professional development that could help science teachers implement new teaching approaches to cultivate students’ 21st century competencies in the context of science. These features are as follows:

  • Active learning opportunities focusing on science content, scientific practice, and evidence of student learning (Desimone et al., 2002).
  • Coherence of the professional development with teachers’ existing knowledge, with other development activities, with existing curriculum, and with standards in local contexts (Garet et al., 2001; Desimone et al., 2002).
  • The collective development of an evidence-based “inquiry stance” by participants toward their practice (Blumenfeld et al., 1991; Kubitskey and Fishman, 2006).
  • The collective participation by teachers from same school, grade, or subject area (Desimone et al., 2002).
  • Adequate time both for planning and for enacting new teaching practices.

More broadly across the disciplines, preservice teachers and inservice teachers will need opportunities to engage in the kinds of teaching and learning environments envisioned in this report. Experiencing instruction designed to support transfer will help them to design and implement such instruction in their own classrooms. Teachers will also need opportunities to learn about different approaches to assessment and the purposes of these different approaches. For example, as noted in the previous chapter, formative assessment can play a key role in fostering deeper learning and the development of 21st century competencies. However, most teachers are not familiar with formative assessment and do not regularly incorporate it in their teaching practice (Heritage et al., 2009; Herman, Osmundson, and Silver, 2010).


Research has shown that assessment and feedback play an essential role in the deeper learning of cognitive competencies. In particular, as noted in Chapter 6, ongoing formative assessment by teachers can provide guidance to students which supports and extends their learning, encouraging deeper learning and development of transferable competencies. Current educational policies, however, focus on summative assessments that measure mastery of content and often hold schools and districts accountable

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement