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Report Makes Recommendations on State Science Assessments
With NCLB science-testing
requirements quickly approaching, the National Research Council
(NRC), a division of the National Academies, is releasing a report
that provides guidance to states on science assessments. The report,
“Systems for State Science Assessment,” explores ideas
and tools that are needed to assess science learning at the state
level. According to a July 13 article in Education Week,
the report highlights the need for assessment questions to be aligned
with standards and curriculum, and for teachers to be better trained
in using the exams to improve student learning.
the article, “the authors say the tests should be built around
‘organizing principles’ or ‘big ideas’ of
science, such as evolution and molecular theory, to give students
a stronger sense of how different aspects of the discipline connect.”
In addition, “states should consider using more than one test,
with pieces of assessments written at the state and district levels….”
A draft of the
report can be read online or pre-ordered at http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=11312.
To read the Education Week article, go to http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2005/07/13/42science.h24.html
(free registration required).
NSTA SciGuide is Online Resource for NASA Exploration of Moon, Mars,
and Beyond for Grades 5-8
Exploration: The Moon, Mars, & Beyond is now available
as part of the growing list of SciGuide titles for science educators
from NSTA. Since their launch in March, grade- and topic-specific
SciGuide subscriptions have proven popular with teachers—delivering
key science concepts, lesson plans, student work samples and vignettes
using targeted web resources aligned to the National Science Education
Standards. The newest SciGuide, developed under the sponsorship
of NASA Explorer Schools, is the first of a planned schedule of
new titles to be added to the core content list, and is for educators
of grades 5–8. Explorer School team members tested the lessons
and provided the student work samples.
of this newest SciGuide focuses on the history of NASA exploration
on the Moon, the current push to return to the Moon and Mars, and—in
the long term—exploration beyond Mars. NASA Exploration:
The Moon, Mars, & Beyond features NASA education web resources,
lessons, and activities.
on this and the entire SciGuide list of content topics available
by grade-level, and for a free sample SciGuide on Organisms, visit
Scopes Monkey Trial 80 Years Later
July 10 marked
the 80th anniversary of the infamous Scopes Monkey Trial in which
John Scopes, a high school science teacher from Dayton, Tennessee,
was convicted for teaching evolution, which was a violation of state
law. Tennessee’s law at the time forbade teachers to teach
“any theory that denies the story of the divine creation of
man as taught in the Bible.” Presidential candidate William
Jennings Bryan prosecuted Scopes, who was defended by lawyer Clarence
Darrow. According to news reports, the jury found Scopes guilty
after only nine minutes of deliberation. He was fined $100. The
trial was the inspiration for the Broadway play and film, Inherit
the Wind, as well as numerous books.
The media reported
heavily on the anniversary of the trial and the ensuing challenges
to the teaching of evolution. Visit http://www.nsta.org/nstaexpress/nstaexpress_2005_07_18_highlights.htm
of some of the news coverage.
in Science Education: The Funworks
Every few weeks
in NSTA Express we feature a promising new (or not so new)
idea, strategy, and/or innovative program in science and math education
that we think merits the attention of more than 200,000 NSTA
Express readers. This column is an interactive endeavor, so
send your ideas of a large-scale, innovative program in science
and math education to firstname.lastname@example.org.
middle school students from around the country worked on the Funworks
website, created by the Education Development Center to link students’
interests and hobbies to future careers in science, technology,
engineering, and math. The site—chock full of graphics, photos,
interactive games and more—can also be a wealth of information
for guidance counselors, teachers, and parents. Learn more at http://www.thefunworks.org.
an Earlybird Registrant for NSTA Fall Conventions; Save Maximum
is the earlybird deadline for maximum savings on registration for
NSTA’s Hartford fall convention, October 20-22, but why wait
‘till the hectic early days of the new school year to register
when you can do it online ahead of time? “Connections for
Student Achievement” is the convention theme, with professional
development content strands set for Managing Transitions: Effective
Teaching Strategies and Assessment; Coastal and Wetland
Environments; Next-Generation Technology: Will We Be Prepared?;
Science + Technology = Achievement; and Elementary
Science: Improving Student Performance. Go to http://www.nsta.org/conventions
to browse full details of daily agendas, short courses, speakers,
field trips, the Assessment Techniques for the Elementary Classroom
professional development institute, and more. Then use the online
Personal Scheduler to build and print out your own custom-tailored
convention itinerary for new learning and use it as backup detail
in your funding request. If Connecticut isn’t your neck of
the woods, it’s not too early to be an earlybird registrant
for Chicago, November 10-12, or Nashville, December 1-3.
Trend Study Shows Gains for Young Students; High School Scores Flat
have made considerable gains in the last five years in both reading
and math, according to results from the 2004 National Assessment
of Educational Progress (NAEP) long-term trend assessment released
last week. The study looks at national trends in reading since 1971
and in mathematics since 1973.
to the gains posted by 9-year-old students, 13-year-old students
also showed improvement in math, but not in reading, and black and
Hispanic student groups made progress in both subjects in comparison
to the first assessment year. The scores for 17-years-olds on both
reading and mathematics have remained flat since 1999. For full
results on the NAEP long term study, visit http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard.
In other news
the U. S. Department of Education has granted states more leeway
under No Child Left Behind, part of Education Secretary Margaret
Spellings claim to take a more “common sense” approach
to implementing the law. To read more, go to the July 13 issue of
Education Week at http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2005/07/13/42ayp.h24.html
(free registration required).
Now that you
have time on your hands, take a look at NSTA's new topic-specific
SciGuides for classroom internet use... check out the demo and download
a free sample at http://www.nsta.org/main/SciGuides.
Blog with Science
and Children Online and Explore PreK-2 Science Learning in
"The Early Years" at http://www.nsta.org/earlyyearsblog.
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