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7 Other Modes and Contexts for Teaching Science INTEGRATING BIOLOGY WITH OTHER SCIENCES In Chapter 3, we assumed that the high-school science curriculum in most schools in the immediate future will retain the structure it has now: it will include biology as a separate course, usually the first science course taken in high school. (It usually comes after a variable and generally inadequate exposure to "health" and general science in middle school, but this can and must change.) A high-school science curriculum that proceeds from biology to chemistry to physics entails some substantial educational problems. We touched on some of the issues in Chapter 3, but we take them up again here, because an adequate solution will require a long-term approach. The fundamental problem arises from the increasing need to understand some chemistry in order to understand much biology. Students now enter high-school biology knowing little or no chemistry and physics. The pragmatic "solution" has been either to teach aspects of chemistry in the biology course, to require students to memorize biochemical names and organic chemical structures in a context destined to kill interest, or to combine the two. If students have not even studied enough chemistry to know that "carbon has a valence of 4" or even to comprehend what that statement means, there is no justification for expecting them to know the much more complicated molecular structures of glucose and alanine. Suppose the sequence of courses were reversed, with physics preceding chemistry and biology coming last. That arrangement also has its difficulties, in that physics and chemistry are more successfully taught to students who have more mature capacities for abstract reasoning and more extensive experience with mathematics. 81
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82 FULFILLING THE PROMISE The solutions to the dilemma are educationally interesting. If children in elementary school were to have a steady involvement in science with an emphasis on natural history, as proposed in Chapter 3, they would enter high school more aware of the world around them, the diversity of life, the relationships among living things, and the structure of their earth, the atmosphere, and the planets and stars. Students coming from such a background would already be aware of fossils, for example, and would step naturally into a study of how evolution can be inferred from the fossil record. They would already know enough about plants and animals to appreciate the differences among most of the commonly observed taxa. Students would be exposed to integrated subject matter before they entered high-school biology, and they would have a far better base for learning biology than most students now have when they start the subject. But that is just the start; another kind of integration of subject matter could occur during middle school and high school. In almost every developed nation but not the United States secondary schools teach biology, chemistry, physics, and mathematics either in parallel streams or in integrated multiyear courses. The pedagogical advantages of those approaches are clear and obvious. The entire problem of how or when or whether to teach the more molecular aspects of biology would disappear, because the necessary chemistry could be presented before the corresponding part of the biology curriculum is reached. All the subjects would be integrated as soon as the relevant bits were presented. The sense that the sciences truly constitute a unified, integrated body of knowledge would no longer depend on whether (and when) a student could fit 4 years of separate packages into a conceptual whole. The student who took only 1 or 2 years of high-school science would learn some of the most basic and important concepts of all three disciplines biology, chemistry, and physics instead of missing one or two of the disciplines almost totally. One drawback of having integrated or parallel courses is that it would require much work to prepare them and much more cooperation among teachers than does the present system of separate sequential courses. In the view of this committee, that is an insufficient reason for not developing an integrated or parallel science program. The benefits in scientific literacy, in coherent and logical presentation of subject matter, and in arranging the subject matter to fit students' developing conceptual sophistication far outweigh the short-term difficulties of redesigning a curriculum. Recommendations We should begin now to plan and support models for integrated or parallel programs in biology, chemistry, physics, and mathematics, both for high schools and for grades K-12. The details of the curriculum might turn out to be the easiest part of the task, because to effect the change on a broad scale will require in the short term the creation of appropriate inservice support, the development of new patterns of cooperative teaching, and the cooperation of teachers. The new National Science Teachers Association Scope, Sequence and Coordination project (Aldridge, 1989) is a move in
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OTHER MODES AND CONTEXTS FOR TEACHING SCIENCE 83 that direction. In the longer term, preservice programs will have to be altered, as will expectations for licensing and certification of teachers. But the disadvantages of compartmentalizing the natural sciences at the high- school level will only worsen with time. We therefore propose as a first step a study of the benefits that might accrue from such a change in the curriculum and an analysis of the inherent obstacles to the implementation of this change. There will be wide-ranging implications for university curricula and a need to engage college and university faculties, as well as teachers, in these reforms. Chapter 8 presents a possible mechanism to help advance our recommendation. ADVANCED-PLACEMENT BIOLOGY The Present Advanced-Placement Program in Biology The Advanced-Placement (AP) program in biology, which is sponsored by The College Entrance Examination Board (College Board), consists of a course description with suggested time percentages for major and minor topics, suggested textbooks, laboratory exercises, an examination, and a list of more than 2,000 colleges and universities that "normally use Advanced Placement Examination grades in determination of advanced placement and credit" in biology (College Board, 1987, p. 77~. In principle, the AP biology course is intended to be equivalent to an introductory college-level course in biology. To plan the most recent revision of the course, 80 colleges were surveyed in 1985 to determine the content of their introductory courses for biology majors. The AP course was designed on the basis of the results of the survey. Three major sections are outlined: molecules and cells (25% of allocated time), genetics and evolution (25%), and organisms and populations (50%~. Each section is divided into topics (with suggested allocations of time). The design of the course is predicated on the assumption that students have successfully completed year courses each in high-school biology and high-school chemistry. Laboratory work in the AP biology course is based on data that suggest that about one-fourth of the credit for college biology is derived from laboratory work. The course guide presents 12 laboratory activities, all experimental and quantitative, with detailed advice for all aspects of each activity. AP biology teachers are expected to integrate those activities into their curricula and to conduct additional laboratory activities. The laboratory activities are considered to be "basic introductions, or springboards, into further experiments, studies, or independent projects" (College Board, 1987, p. 7~. First-level college biology courses typically consist of 40-50 hours of lecture and 25-30 hours of laboratory work per semester, and equivalent time should be allocated for the AP biology course. School administrators and prospective AP biology teachers are warned of that requirement and warned that the AP biology course, if it is to be equivalent to a college-level course, will be substantially more expensive than a typical high-school biology course.
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84 FULFILLING THE PROMISE The AP biology examination consists of a 90-minute, 120-item multiple- choice section and a 90-minute section of "free responses" or essays based on four mandatory questions. There is one question each for the first two major content sections and two for the third. To ensure that laboratories are used in AP biology classes, some questions are related to the laboratory experiments. The examination is designed to have a mean score of about 50%. Teachers are asked not to prepare students to answer every question, but to teach for understanding of the concepts. The rationale is that students who understand on a conceptual level what they have studied will do better on the test. The examination is graded by more than 1,000 college and secondary-school teachers familiar with the AP program. The multiple-choice sections are scored with a correction factor to compensate for guessing. In 1988, 64% of students who took the AP biology examination earned scores of 3 or higher (MacDonald, 1989) grades deemed high enough to qualify for college credit or advanced placement in many (but not all) colleges and universities that recognize AP courses. Over the decade 1978-1988, enrollments in AP biology increased from about 11,000 to 31,000. MacDonald (1989) states that AP students perform in college as well as or (often) better than non-AP students taking the college- level course for which AP credit was sought and tend to demonstrate higher achievement than their non-AP counterparts. That is not surprising, considering the goals and motivation of most students who take both the AP biology course and the examination. There is also a "good correlation between scores on the AP biology examination and subsequent grades in introductory and upper- level biology courses in college" (MacDonald, 1989) again, not surprising or particularly revealing. Students often report that they found themselves well- prepared for the sequence of advanced college-level courses in which they could enroll, but that view is not universally shared by college faculty. The Success of AP Biology "7 ~ If the recommendations of the College Board are followed by a properly prepared teacher with adequate laboratory facilities, the AP biology program could provide the equivalent of an introductory college biology course. The course has recently incorporated experimental, quantitative laboratory activities as an integral part of the curriculum. Compared with other commonly used assessment instruments, the AP-biology examination questions are much more advanced in their reading level and more effective in assessing the major ideas of the course and the general quality of understanding of the students. The presence of AP biology provides an incentive for students with an interest in science and might serve as a device to recruit students to other science courses. And AP courses probably also help individual students in admission to college. It has also been an incentive for teachers who are willing to put in the extra work for an AP course in return for having a small group of motivated students. As an alternative to teaching in the common core curriculum, AP courses offer teachers some of the advantages of teaching a homogeneous group of motivated students.
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OTHER MODES AND CONTEXTS FOR TEACHING SCIENCE Opinions of Teachers and Parents 85 Although there have been no extensive studies of the reaction of teachers and parents to AP courses, concerns that are voiced by parents, students, teach- ers, counselors, and administrators influence decisions to install AP science courses. For example, parent advocates argue that AP courses are more chal- lenging than existing science courses and therefore more likely to motivate their children. They also argue that having their children take AP courses lowers their tuition costs (a spurious argument, except for students who graduate from college in less than 4 years) and that non-AP students in college classes with students who have taken AP courses are at a competitive disadvantage. They feel that it is appropriate for public schools to offer college-level classes for high-school students who can benefit from them. However, serious problems, both philosophical and practical, attend the AP biology program. Some teachers feel that AP courses require more preparation time and more laboratory equipment, that textbooks (which are provided to students) cost more, and that students take a second year of biology in place of other valuable science courses that are available. And high schools are often not able to provide the resources necessary for a college-level course. Many biology teachers report that their school districts do not or cannot support the kinds of laboratory activities and field trips considered desirable for even the regular biology courses.* Some teachers report that the AP course covers too many aspects of biology in too short a time, puts excessive emphasis on lecturing by the teachers, does not devote enough time to laboratory work, requires teaching to the examination, and induces some of the most academically able students to take a course merely to gain admission to college. Other teachers, however, feel that AP courses influence students to take more rigorous academic programs. Counselors feel that there are valuable, rigorous non-AP courses that students reject in favor of AP courses. Administrators are concerned with taking on college-level responsibilities, with the costs of college texts and laboratory materials, with personnel problems (AP teachers' teaching loads can usually not be reduced or their preparation time increased), and~with the impact on other course enrollments. We are concerned that the AP biology course has been modeled on in- troductory college biology courses that for many students are notoriously poor educational experiences. The time has come to stop designing curricula by the process of serial dilution, in which the high-school course is a thin version of the college course, and the middle-school course is a thin version of the high-school course. The question of how well the AP biology course prepares students for upper-level biology courses is difficult to answer. There are no comparative assessments of how well college introductory biology courses pre- pare students. Moreover, many colleges and universities do not exempt students *Biology teachers reported this state of affairs to the Committee on High-School Biology Education during a symposium at the NABT 50th Anniversary Convention, November 17, 1988, Chicago, Illi- nois.
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86 FULFILLING THE PROMISE with AP credit from their introductory biology courses, and others do so with misgivings. In some cases, students who have taken AP biology and passed the examination with a high grade are allowed into honors sections in college introductory biology; but it is not known how widespread or valuable this practice is. Another matter, although of less concern, is that some students who take the AP biology course do not take the examination. The extent of that practice and the reasons for it are not clear, but its impact on the examination scores might be significant. The statement that 64% of students achieve grades of 3 or higher (MacDonald, 1989) obviously refers to those who take the examination, not to all those who take the course. The requirement of payment (by the students or the school system) for the examination might be a factor in decisions not to take it. Critics feel that the AP biology course in particular and AP courses in general might contribute to tracking, can become elitist, and can compromise equity. Our committees however, does not feel that offering advanced courses to interested students should become an issue of equity. The major question should be whether the courses accomplish their goals. Conclusions Secondary schools need to provide opportunities for able students to be- come passionate about their interests, whether in art, music, sports, humanities, or the sciences. We do not question the desirability of second-year biology, only the nature of the existing AP course. The present version of the AP biology course can have the positive effect of providing second-level opportunities for motivated students to study the science. In a number of cases, AP biology has doubtless provided opportunities for teachers and students to extend their knowledge and engage in exceptional educational experiences. We are skeptical, however, about whether AP biology is commonly able to provide an exposure equivalent to that offered in most colleges. Recommendations · A consensus needs to be reached as to what the AP biology course should be. The present policy of modeling the AP course after a composite view of college courses is missing opportunities for generating a unique high-school experience, providing a more realistic introduction to experi- mentation, and providing better college preparation. Although the recent inclusion of quantitative experimentation in the AP program was needed and is commendable, an introductory college course may not be the sound- est educational experience for students who have time for a second course in biology in high school. Whether the AP course will develop into a strong component of biology education or will itself become an obstacle to reform is unclear. A national body of educators, high~school and college biology
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OTHER MODES AND CONTEXTS FOR TEACHING SCIENCE 87 teachers, and scientists should make specific recommendations about the AP curriculum, examinations, and college credit. (See also Chapter 8.) The College Board should be asked to study fully its own record of success, follow up on the college placement of students, and assess compliance of high schools with its recommendations for prerequisites. · Whatever their form, AP or other advanced biology courses should not be taken instead of chemistry, physics, or mathematics. Nor should they become the "honors" section, taken in lieu of the first high-school course in biology. The AP biology course should be taken as late in high SCHOOI as possible, preferably In the senior year, to enable the subject to be taught as an experimental science to students whose maturity is close to that of college freshmen. Even a properly designed AP course in biology is inappropriate for younger students and for those without maximal preparation in mathematics and the physical sciences. · We suggest that the terminal-year AP biology course provide inten- sive treatment of a few topics in molecular biology, cell biology, physiology, evolution, and ecology. Emphasis should be on experimental design, ex- perimentation and observation, data analysis, and critical reading. Thus, the course cannot be modeled after existing college courses, which broadly cover all biology. Engaging students in direct investigations of natural phenomena without attempting to "cover" the subject matter of the in- troductory college biology course is judged by this committee to be more educationally sound than the current program. A rigorous examination de- voted to problem-solving that requires the application of biological concepts should accompany such a revision. · This course should be taught only by teachers both capable of providing a sophisticated and broad knowledge of biology and having the ability, training, experience, resources, and time to oversee an independent experimental approach. For example, a teacher who has not had first- hand experience in independent research should not be assigned to teach AP biology. Specific inservice training and certification should be used to ensure that only qualified teachers teach the AP course. The College Board should take initiatives to see that the program meets those more demanding specifications, but school administrators must understand and cooperate as well. If AP science courses are to be offered, there should be a line item in the school budget to support them, and they should not be given at the expense of regular science laboratory activities. · The premise that AP courses provide college credit is not necessarily flawed; however, the nature of what the credit is for needs examination. A second course giving instruction in scientific reasoning, based on experimen- tal design, and using sophisticated physical, chemical, and mathematical, as well as biological, principles would in fact provide better preparation for college than the present broad review. Colleges and high schools should both recognize the value of a second course in experimental science taken at the end of high school. Such a course need not be sponsored by the College Board or be designated "advanced placement."
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88 FULFILLING THE PROMISE A CAPSTONE HIGH-SCHOOL COURSE IN SCIENCE Rationale: Integrating Science and Society After leaving high school, many persons become public officials, civic lead- ers, corporate officers, or holders of other positions who must reach conclusions on issues that have scientific content and require integration of multidisciplinary information. Moreover, all students become eligible to vote, and the general public needs greater understanding of how different kinds of information are related to societal problems. Courses in specific sciences or other disciplines are unable, by themselves, to provide appropriate experience in integrating information from disparate sources. Furthermore, entry-level courses do not provide appropriate depth of laboratory, library, and community experience to generate and assess such information. We are concerned that courses offered as "science, technology, and society" (STS) usually do not follow a study of the basic sciences. Instead, they typically replace basic-science courses, and that results in both a dilution of fundamental knowledge of basic sciences and a lack of the scientific breadth needed to study interdisciplinary topics more than superficially. Although in the teaching of basic science new facts and concepts must be related to the learner's understanding of the world, we see danger in formats that confuse scientific knowledge with political, economic, and moral judgment. The contribution of science to the solution of societal problems can be understood only when there is considerable understanding of science itself. We propose that an interdisciplinary "capstone" course be offered in the last year of high school, after students have already taken courses in biology and the physical sciences. The course would consider examples of current, major scientific technological-societal problems. It should use an integration of scientific, social, ethical, economic, political, and other disciplines to reach conclusions. Such a course would not be a simple extension of the science courses taken, but instead would focus on the integration of biological and physical sciences with the humanities and social sciences through consideration of contemporary problems. Such a course should not be substituted for chemistry and physics. Organization and Content The capstone course could be offered as a series of projects and could be taught by a team of teachers with particular interests in the individual topics relevant to the projects. The specific topics could be selected on the basis of the teachers' interests and expertise. The lead teacher should have advanced training in science. Examples of topics that could be included in the course today are acid rain; agricultural biotechnology; human applications of biotechnology; toxic wastes and pollution of groundwater; technology and development of the less-developed countries; environmental values; nuclear energy, fossil fuels, renewable energy, and commercial power requirements; and the ecological, sociological, and economic impacts of population growth.
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OTHER MODES AND CONTEXTS FOR TEA ClIING SCIENCE 89 The topics used need not have simple or even scientific answers. Students should define an issue, delineate the scope of the problem, and discuss the range of possible solutions, as well as the limits of available information. During analysis of the topic, students should debate the pros and cons, and teachers should not provide "answers." Thus, students will encounter the complexities of science and society firsthand and will recognize that simple answers are rarely possible or appropriate. The outcome of each project should include a comprehensive report written by each student that presents a description of the problem, alternative approaches and hypotheses, available data, and conclusions and recommendations. The writing component is essential: it not only ensures integration of information, but also requires the student to express analyses and conclusions clearly and concisely. The capstone experience is not intended as an advanced-placement course. It should provide increased depth and breadth of knowledge in science and other disciplines and experience in weighing different kinds of information in making decisions. But it should be considered a course in science. Benefits and Costs The primary benefit of the capstone course is the educational reward to students in discovering interdependences, complexities, dilemmas, ambiguities, and the need to synthesize information in designing solutions to society's problems. Such a course will develop skills in reading critically and will foster understanding that scientific inquiry is open-ended and that studying science is not simply reading and memonzing. Where appropriate resources are available, the capstone course can facilitate the use of technology in the analysis of data (e.g., use of computers to analyze data both graphically and numencally), as well as provide direct experience in conducting literature searches. It can also allow the development of relationships with resource persons and agencies in the community and provide new mechanisms for teachers to participate in continuing inservice training and development. A capstone course cannot be implemented without incurring substantial costs and difficulties or without rethinking of teaching practices. Incremental resources obviously will be needed to develop and test curricula, buy equipment, train teachers, and revise curricula continuously. Expenence at the high-school level in designing and teaching interdisciplinary courses is sparse. New inservice programs and support will be required, as will modification and improvement of the curriculum. Recommendations · Materials and syllabi for the capstone course need to be developed and tested before widespread adoption can be expected. Curricula for a variety of topics should be developed and tested, with models for inservice support for teachers. New materials should be developed, and existing ma- terials identified and modified. Carefully designed evaluation problems to
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9o FULFILLING THE PROMISE assess student outcomes should be part of the development and field-testing program. With appropriate foundation or other support, the development of the course could occur through a program of competitive grants to high schools, local school districts, or partnerships between the latter and interested university faculty or industry scientists. Some models for such a course exist in colleges and universities, and that experience should be ex- ploited wherever possible. Where available, regional mathematics-science centers could participate in the design, testing, and evaluation of pilot pro- grams, as well as revision of actual programs. Sufficient financial support should be provided to ensure not only the introduction of projects, but also their long-term monitoring, evaluation, revision, and the necessary inservice opportunities for engaging additional teachers. · Accompanying the development of modules for the capstone course, there needs to be an overarching process of evaluation that not only identifies the best modules, but provides a mechanism for their widest use. That means not only making materials available, but providing guidance and support for teachers who are new to the program. The involvement of more than one teacher and the use of resource people are highly desirable and should be the case wherever possible. Few teachers, even at the university level, are comfortable in taking on such a course by themselves, and part of the message that should be conveyed to students is that people must cooperate in addressing complex issues. THE ROLES OF SPECIAL SCIENCE SCHOOLS AND CENTERS Several types of specialized settings offer intensive programs in science and mathematics, usually for talented and "gifted" students. At the high-school level, they can be loosely categorized as follows: . Traditional urban public high schools that offer specialized curricula in science and mathematics. Newer urban public schools referred to as magnet schools. · State-sponsored residential schools of science and mathematics. · Local and regional centers for science and technology that present science courses. Students attend the centers for part of the school day and par- ticipate there in a wide variety of activities involving science and mathematics. Older, Specialized Public High Schools Some large urban areas have long publicly supported high schools with college-preparatory curricula that emphasize science and mathematics. Admis- sion to those public high schools is highly competitive and is often based on results of entrance examinations or other measures of performance or ability. The schools tend to serve "gifted" students. They offer more laboratory work than regular schools, and many are linked to local firms and research labora- tories that provide equipment, mentors, and opportunities for participation in research (OTA, 19881. Teachers are encouraged to devise new curricula and
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OTlIER MODES AND CONTEXTS FOR TEACHING SCIENCE 91 to develop new teaching materials in collaboration with their colleagues. New York City has several long-standing examples: Bronx High School of Science, Brooklyn Technical High School, and Stuyvesant High School. Philadelphia's Central High School, although not exclusively for science and mathematics, provides talented students with a wide variety of enriching activities, opportuni- ties for independent study, seminars, and extracurricular experiences. Baltimore Polytechnic Institute is another well-known example. Magnet Schools Magnet schools were recently introduced as vehicles for desegregation, as well as improved education, and are playing an increasing role in urban systems. They provide opportunities for all students to enroll in programs that interest them, rather than restricting entrance on the basis of ability. Most magnet schools share several characteristics. First, they feature a special curricular theme or method of instruction, which in some instances focuses on science and mathematics. Second, within a district magnet schools play a role in voluntary desegregation. Students and parents can choose a school, and there is open access to students from beyond the immediate school zone (Blank, 1989~. Magnet schools can be found at the elementary, middle, and secondary levels. Magnet schools have grown markedly in number and influence, particularly in the last 5 years, and there are now more than 1,000 (OTA, 1988~. According to Blank (1989), the average urban school district with a magnet-school program has over 50% more students in magnet schools than in 1983. In the average urban district, about 20% of students are in magnet schools, and the demand is . . ncreasmg. A national study identified four major factors contributing to the growth of local interest in magnet schools (Blank, 1989, p. 4~: Development of a voluntary approach to school desegregation. · Interest in educational options and diversity in curricular offerings (such as advanced programs, arts, science, and foreign languages) and in school organization (such as alternative schools, open schools, traditional or basic education, and individualized instruction) with the objective of improving the overall quality of education in a district. · Greater attention to the outcome of public education, including prepa- ration of students for careers and preparation for decisions on further education or training. · Renewed concern with the quality of education on the part of commu- nity leaders, parents, and educators, as exemplified by the well-known report of the National Commission on Excellence in Education, A Nation at Risk (19831. Magnet schools advance educational equity by attracting students with com- mon educational interests, but diverse abilities and socioeconomic backgrounds. The heterogeneity of students is accomplished by providing educational experi- ences generally not available in the other public schools in the area. Studies have been conducted to determine whether the goals of magnet schools have been reached. In some cases, assessment involves only the effects
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92 FULFILLING THE PROMISE of magnet schools on desegregation and on the choice and diversity of curricular offerings; such assessment shows that magnet schools meet these goals. Few districts, however, assess the deeper educational effects of magnet schools, and most are content if the schools meet the mechanical objectives of the program. For example, interest in assessing the educational effects of magnet schools on students with a wide range of backgrounds and abilities is usually modest, if the district's primary motivation for magnet schools is desegregation (Blank, 1989). With the growth of magnet schools as an important element in urban public education, several important policy issues have emerged. Although magnet schools were designed to serve students who seek the opportunities offered by choice and diversity, there is growing concern that magnet schools do not serve students who are at risk or students who are most likely to drop out of school. Thus, the goals of educational equity are not being met. Some are also concerned that the popularity of magnet schools is causing a division of public education into two tiers: a set of schools that offer special opportunities for some students and neighborhood schools that offer education of lower quality for the remaining students (Blank, 1989~. Those issues are sharpened by the lack of hard information on the educational accomplishments of magnet schools. Research to address the latter question requires sophisticated analysis of many variables measures of student outcomes in both magnet and nonmagnet schools, longitudinal studies of both student populations, analyses of district and school policies and organization, and so forth (Blank, 1989~. Few districts have conducted such a study, but, as costs of magnet schools increase, studies will be needed to justify increased expenditures. Residential Schools for Science and Mathematics A relatively new experiment in fostering quality education is the residential school for science and mathematics. Six are operating, and plans are being made to open residential schools soon in several other states. Admission is highly selective and is based on results of admission tests and high ability in the sciences and mathematics. Students are drawn from schools throughout their own states. The schools are state-supported, and instructors, also chosen from a highly competitive applicant pool, are given free reign to develop the curriculum. With one exception, the residential schools offer 2-year intensive programs in science and mathematics that are supplemented by core courses in the humanities; the school in Illinois is a 3-year institution. In addition, several of the schools plan to serve as resource centers for inservice training of teachers and as centers for developing and testing new science curricula and laboratories. To facilitate exchange of information among the schools what is working and what is not, sources of additional funding, and ideas for improving curricula-they have formed a National Consortium for Specialized Secondary Schools of Mathematics, Science and Technology, headquartered at the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy. The residential schools have been in existence only for a short time; the oldest, the North Carolina School for Science and Mathematics, was established
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OTHER MODES AND CONTEXTS FOR TEACHING SCIENCE 93 in 1980. Therefore, there are few data indicating whether students who attend them go on to study science, mathematics, or engineering in college. A recent survey, however, found that 80% of the graduates of the North Carolina School majored in science and engineering in college (OTA, 19881. Centers for Science and Technology Centers for science and technology offer another alternative for students interested in science. They are private and publicly funded regional centers that offer advanced courses in science and technology to students from many high schools. Students usually spend half their in-class time at their home schools and attend the science and technology centers specifically for their science classes. In some instances, they can earn college credit. Students are also encouraged to participate in scientific research projects with local mentors. Some centers have begun to develop new curricula and instructional materials and serve as resource centers for local high-school teachers. Appendix E lists examples of each type of school discussed above. Recommendations · The relative autonomy of both state-sponsored residential schools for science and mathematics and the centers for science and technology pro- vides a unique opportunity for these institutions to serve as "laboratories" for curricular reform. In addition to providing high-quality instruction, they should be encouraged to continue in the development of new curricula, instructional materials, and techniques for assessment. They can also serve as inservice centers for local high-school teachers. For educational exper- iments to have maximal impact nationally, mechanisms should be devised for comparing and assessing the programs at the residential schools and regional centers and disseminating the resulting information broadly. · Research is required to assess the educational effects of magnet schools both on their students and on the associated neighborhood schools.
Representative terms from entire chapter: