Educating teachers of science maths


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Educating teachers of science maths

  1. 1. EDUCATING TEACHERSof Science, Mathematics, and Technology New Practices for the New Millennium Committee on Science and Mathematics Teacher Preparation Center for Education National Research Council NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS Washington, DC
  2. 2. NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20418NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of theNational Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy ofSciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of thecommittee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard forappropriate balance.This study was supported by Contract/Grant No. DUE 9614007 between the National Academy ofSciences and the National Science Foundation. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendationsexpressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of theorganizations or agencies that provided support for the project.Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication DataEducating teachers of science, mathematics, and technology : newpractices for the new millennium / Committee on Science and Mathematics p. cm.Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 0-309-07033-31. Science teachers—Training of—United States. 2. Mathematicsteachers—Training of—United States. 3. Engineering teachers—Trainingof—United States. I. National Research Council (U.S.). Committee onScience and Mathematics Teacher Preparation. II. Title. Q183.3.A1 E39 2000 507.1073—dc21 00-011135Additional copies of this report are available from the National Academy Press, 2101 ConstitutionAvenue, N.W., Lockbox 285, Washington, D.C. 20055; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313 (in theWashington metropolitan area); Internet, http://www.nap.eduPrinted in the United States of AmericaCopyright 2001 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
  3. 3. National Academy of SciencesNational Academy of EngineeringInstitute of MedicineNational Research CouncilThe National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguishedscholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science andtechnology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by theCongress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government onscientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences.The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the NationalAcademy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in itsadministration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences theresponsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsorsengineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recog-nizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. William A. Wulf is president of the National Academyof Engineering.The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure theservices of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining tothe health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy ofSciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its owninitiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Kenneth I. Shine is president ofthe Institute of Medicine.The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associatethe broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge andadvising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by theAcademy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy ofSciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public,and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies andthe Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts and Dr. William A. Wulf are chairman and vice chairman,respectively, of the National Research Council.
  4. 4. COMMITTEE ON SCIENCE AND MATHEMATICS TEACHER PREPARATIONHERBERT K. BRUNKHORST, California State University, San Bernardino, Co-ChairW. J. (JIM) LEWIS, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Co-ChairTOBY CAPLIN, Cambridge, MA, Public SchoolsRODNEY L. CUSTER, Illinois State UniversityPENNY J. GILMER, Florida State UniversityMARTIN L. JOHNSON, University of MarylandHARVEY B. KEYNES, University of MinnesotaR. HEATHER MACDONALD, College of William and MaryMARK SAUL, Bronxville, NY, Public SchoolsM. GAIL SHROYER, Kansas State UniversityLARRY SOWDER, San Diego State UniversityDAN B. WALKER, San Jose State UniversityVIVIANLEE WARD, Genentech, Inc.LUCY WEST, Community School District 2, New York CitySUSAN S. WOOD, J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College v
  5. 5. NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL STAFF JAY B. LABOV, Study Director (since October 1998) JANE O. SWAFFORD, Senior Program Officer (January – October 1999) NANCY L. DEVINO, Senior Program Officer (through October 1998) TERRY K. HOLMER, Senior Project Assistant Consultants PAUL J. KUERBIS, Special Consultant, Colorado College KATHLEEN (KIT) S. JOHNSTON, Consulting Editorvi
  6. 6. Reviewers This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverseperspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by theNational Research Council’s Report Review Committee. The purpose of this inde-pendent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institu-tion in making the published report as sound as possible and to ensure that thereport meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness tothe study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential toprotect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the followingindividuals for their participation in the review of this report:DAVID C. BERLINER, Arizona State UniversityFRANK CARDULLA, Lake Forest High School, Lake Forest, ILJERE CONFREY, University of Texas at AustinSARAH C. ELGIN, Washington University, St. Louis, MOHENRY HEIKKINEN, University of Northern ColoradoTOBY M. HORN, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State UniversityWILLIAM G. HOWARD, JR.*, Independent Consultant, Scottsdale, AZRONALD L. LATANISION*, Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyCHRISTINE WEST PATERACKI, Cario Middle School, Mt. Pleasant, SCJUDITH ROITMAN, University of KansasTHOMAS ROMBERG, University of Wisconsin, MadisonJAMES STITH, American Institute of Physics, College Park, MD While the individuals listed above have provided many constructive commentsand suggestions, responsibility for the final content of this report rests solely withthe authoring committee and the National Research Council. *Member of the National Academy of Engineering vii
  7. 7. Foreword The United States is finally getting commissions and professional organiza-serious about the quality of our children’s tions; the increasing use of high-stakeseducation, and it is rare to pick up a standardized testing to measure thenewspaper today without finding some academic performance of students,discussion of education issues. In the teachers, and schools; and the reality ofcurrent maelstrom of the education the many challenges that teachers anddebate, the need to improve the quality students actually face in today’s class-of our teachers’ preparation and profes- rooms.sional development deserves a central The entire nation must recognize thatplace. Teachers stand at the center of teaching is a very difficult and demand-any education system, since everything ing profession. Teachers must of courserests on their skills and energy. have a deep understanding of theirQuestions regarding teaching quality, subject areas, but this is not enough.teaching effectiveness, and teacher They must also be skilled at motivatingrecruitment and retention have become their students to want to learn in a societyparticularly important in science and in which young people are exposed tomathematics, as we enter a century that so many outside distractions. Mostwill be ever more dependent on science importantly, improvements in teacherand technology. education need to be aligned with Many interacting and often-conflicting recommendations about what studentsvariables have influenced attempts to should know and be able to do at vari-improve teaching in science and math- ous grade levels, which means thatematics. These include a multitude of teachers need to become expert at whatreports and recommendations from is called content-oriented pedagogy. ix
  8. 8. The National Academies recently current data and issues. Importantly, it called for a decade of research to be also offers a series of recommendations, devoted to improving education (National based on extensive evidence from Research Council, 1999c). A primary research, about how various stakehold- focus of that effort will be devoted to ers might contribute individually and resolving issues about the most effec- collectively—even systemically—to the tive ways to improve teaching. It is in improvement of teaching in these this context that the Academies also subject areas. A number of critical established the Committee on Science points are emphasized: and Mathematics Teacher Preparation. If the nation is to make the continuous 1. Teacher education must no longer improvements needed in teaching, we be viewed as a set of disconnected need to make a science out of teacher phases for which different communi- education—using evidence and analysis ties assume the primary responsibil- to build an effective system of teacher ity. As this study progressed, com- preparation and professional develop- mittee members realized that the ment. What do we know about what committee’s name (Committee on works based on experience and research? Science and Mathematics Teacher After two years of studying and synthe- Preparation) was too limiting, sizing the immense body of research because “preparation” is only one data—as well as recommendations from phase of “teacher education.” professional organizations and the diver- Teacher education should instead be sity of current practices—the committee a seamless continuum that begins has issued this report. Educating Teachers well before prospective teachers of Science, Mathematics, and Technology: enter college and that supports New Practices for the New Millennium will them throughout their professional help readers understand areas of emerg- careers. Accordingly, this report ing consensus about what constitutes calls for school districts, institutions effective structure and practice for of higher education (both two- and teacher education in these subject areas. four-year colleges and universities), The extensive list of cited references, business, industry, research facili- many from peer-reviewed journals, reflect ties, and individual scientists and the committee’s efforts to produce a other members of the community to report that will advance the scholarship of work closely together in integrated, teacher education. collaborative partnerships to sup- The report does more than review port teachers and teacher education.x FOREWORD
  9. 9. 2. Responsibility for teacher education on ongoing professional develop- in science, mathematics, and tech- ment that enables teachers to grow nology can no longer be delegated in their profession and to assume only to schools of education and new responsibilities for their col- school districts. Scientists, math- leagues, their employers, and for ematicians, and engineers must future generations of teachers. become more informed about and 4. The ultimate measure of the success involved with this effort. Those who of any teacher education program is commit part of their professional how well the students of these lives to improving teacher education teachers learn and achieve. Thus, must be recognized and rewarded the partnerships that the committee for their efforts. Moreover, since envisions in this report would be prospective teachers of science, structured in ways that facilitate mathematics, and technology are student learning and the assessment sitting in most college classrooms, of that learning. all faculty who teach undergradu- ates in these subject areas need to Improving the quality of science and think about how their courses can mathematics teaching, the professional- better meet the needs of these ism of teaching, and the incentives and critical individuals. The committee rewards in teaching are issues that are has emphasized that changing now deemed to be critical to the national courses in ways that address the interest. For this reason, in 1999 U.S. needs of prospective and practicing Secretary of Education Richard Riley teachers would also enhance the established the National Commission on educational experience for most Mathematics and Science Teaching in the undergraduates. 21st Century, chaired by former Senator3. If teaching is to improve, then John Glenn of Ohio. In the same spirit, teachers must be accorded the same Educating Teachers of Science, Mathemat- kind of respect that members of ics, and Technology: New Practices for the other professions receive. As in New Millennium is being made freely other professions, beginning teach- available on the Worldwide Web, so as to ers cannot be expected to have offer its valuable information and insights mastered all that they will need to to as broad an audience as possible. know and be able to do when they first begin teaching. Rather, the Bruce Alberts, President committee calls for a new emphasis National Academy of SciencesFOREWORD xi
  10. 10. Preface In 1998, the National Research Coun- Members examined the relevant litera-cil (NRC) established the Committee on ture and current calls for reform of K-16Science and Mathematics Teacher science and mathematics education asPreparation (CSMTP) and charged it well as more general principles ofwith identifying critical issues in exist- effective teacher education that can being practices and policies for K-12 derived from analysis of actual classroomteacher preparation in science and practice. Research on what is currentlymathematics. In its Statement of Task, known about effective teacher prepara-the NRC’s Governing Board also asked tion and professional development andthe committee to identify recommenda- the committee’s reflections on thetions from professional organizations compelling evidence for teacher educa-regarding teacher preparation and the tion to become a career-long continuumquality of the K-12 teaching of science lie at the foundation of the committee’sand mathematics and to examine rel- discussion, conclusions, and subsequentevant research. The committee’s report vision and recommendations.was to synthesize critical issues, recom- In reflecting on the committee’s find-mendations, and relevant research. ings, members developed six principles In carrying out its responsibilities, to frame their conclusions about thethe committee explored practices and need for changes in the predominantpolicies in K-12 teacher education in ways K-12 teachers of science, math-general—for both prospective and ematics, and technology are currentlycurrently practicing teachers—then prepared and professionally supported.focused on issues involving the teaching The principles call for teacher educationof science, mathematics, and technology. and teaching in science, mathematics, xiii
  11. 11. and technology improvement to be tists, and mathematicians in institutions viewed as a top national priority; for the of higher education. As they exist on a education of teachers to become a small scale today, these partnerships are career-long process—a continuum—that devoted to improving student learning stimulates teachers’ intellectual growth through improving the education and as well as upgrades their knowledge and professional support of teachers. skills; for teaching as a profession to be After exploring what is known about upgraded in status and stature; for two- the effectiveness of such collaborative and four-year colleges and universities approaches, the committee calls in its to assume greater responsibility and be vision and specific recommendations for held more accountable for improving a fundamental rethinking and restruc- teacher education; for institutions of turing of the ways that the K-12 and higher education and K-12 schools to higher education communities work work together—along with the larger toward improving teacher education, community—to improve teacher educa- from initial preparation through life-long tion; and for more scientists, mathemati- professional development. cians, and engineers to provide teachers To assist action on these principles, with the appropriate content knowledge the committee calls in its recommenda- and pedagogy of their disciplines. tions for K-12 schools and districts and The report then describes how teacher the higher education community—with preparation might be redesigned in light support and assistance from the broader of research and new knowledge about community—to engage in collaborative how teachers learn the content, the art, partnerships. In these partnerships, and craft of their profession. The report school districts and their higher educa- also examines and provides examples of tion partners together would promote exemplary and promising current prac- high-quality teacher education, includ- tices for improving teacher education, ing sharing responsibility for teacher including establishment of close local or preparation and on-going professional regional partnerships between school development for the K-12 partner districts and teacher educators, scien- schools’ teachers.1 1The committee emphasizes in this report that all colleges and universities, including those that do not have formal teacher education programs, should become more involved with improving teacher education because the nation’s teacher workforce consists of many individuals who have matriculated at all types of two- and four-year institutions of higher education. Although many of these schools do not offer formal teacher education programs, virtually every institution of higher education, through the kinds of courses it offers, the teaching it models, and the advising it provides to students, has the potential to influence whether or not its graduates will pursue careers in teaching.xiv P R E FA C E
  12. 12. Such partnerships will require a preparation in science, mathematics,fundamental rethinking of the currently and technology education can no longerdisparate phases of teacher education work in isolation if they are to helpand, therefore, a fundamental restruc- improve teacher education. All profes-turing of current organizational and sional stakeholders in teacher educationfinancial relationships between the K-12 are addressed. They include teachers ofand higher education communities in science, mathematics, and technology,science, mathematics, engineering, and those in policy making institutions,technology (SME&T). Committee accrediting agencies, and professionalmembers readily acknowledge that this societies, as well as scientists, mathema-will not be a straightforward, easily ticians, educators, and administratorsaccomplished, or inexpensive process. inside and outside of academe.In these new partnerships, responsibil- The committee is confident that theity for preparatory student teaching report will prove useful to the manyexperiences would be vested primarily dedicated people who are working toin school district partners. In turn, improve the quality of the education ofresponsibility for ongoing professional teachers of K-12 science, mathematics,development would fall primarily within and technology. The report also shouldthe purview of the higher education help increase the numbers of teacherspartners. These changes will require a who are teaching in ways that allowtremendous shift in the structure, their students to understand and appre-allocation of support resources, and ciate science, mathematics, and technol-relationships between the K-12 and ogy and the relevance of these disci-higher education communities. And the plines to virtually every aspect of ourresult will be nothing less than the lives in the new millennium.fundamental revamping of teaching as aprofession. Herbert K. Brunkhorst The report before you addresses a W.J. (Jim) Lewisbroad audience because it is evident Co-Chairsfrom the research that anyone who is Committee on Science andresponsible for any aspect of teacher Mathematics Teacher PreparationP R E FA C E xv
  13. 13. Dedication Just prior to the publication of this report, we learned of the untimelyand tragic death of Dr. Susan Loucks-Horsley. From 1998 until 1999,Susan was Director of K-12 Professional Development and Outreach in theNational Research Council’s Center for Science, Mathematics, andEngineering Education. Dr. Loucks-Horsley’s work in professionaldevelopment for teachers and the continual improvement of education forchildren was associated with many national organizations throughout herremarkable thirty-year career. One of Susan’s proudest personal achieve-ments, for which she was senior author, was the publication in 1998 ofDesigning Professional Development for Teachers of Science and Mathe-matics. Earlier, she led the development team of Facilitating SystemicChange in Science and Mathematics Education: A Toolkit for ProfessionalDevelopers, the product of ten regional education laboratories. She alsowas on the development team of the Concerns-Based Adoption Model,which described how individuals experience change. At the time of herdeath, Susan was Associate Executive Director of the Biological SciencesCurriculum Study in Colorado Springs. With this report and other publications that will surely follow on theimportance of providing quality professional development for teachers,Susan’s legacy of groundbreaking research, published works, and profes-sional development and leadership initiatives for science education willcontinue. As some of her work is cited in this report, and she was acolleague, friend, and mentor to many on our committee and staff, wededicate this report to Susan Loucks-Horsley. She will be greatly missed. xvii
  14. 14. Acknowledgments The members and staff of the Com- Terr y Woodin, Program Officer,mittee on Science and Mathematics Division of Undergraduate Education,Teacher Preparation are grateful to National Science Foundationmany people for their professional input Judith Wurtzel, Learning Firstand perspective to this study. We ac- Allianceknowledge the following people forproviding presentations, additional data,and their invaluable insight and exper- We also acknowledge and thanktise to the committee during committee several colleagues from the Nationalmeetings: Research Council for their guidance and support: Ismat Abdal-Haqq, AmericanAssociation of Colleges for Teacher Rodger Bybee, now Director of theEducation Biological Sciences Curriculum Study, Angelo Collins, Interstate New served as Executive Director of theTeacher Assessment and Support National Research Council’s Center forConsortium Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Linda Darling-Hammond, National Education from the time that thisCommission on Teaching and America’s project was conceived through JuneFuture, and Stanford University 1999. Rodger’s contributions to this Emily Feistritzer, National Center study are numerous, especially infor Education Information helping the committee to set its priori- Glenn F. Nyre, Westat ties and in guiding the committee’s staff Abigail Smith, Teach for America for much of the study. Jan Somerville, Education Trust William Thompson, Interstate New Joan Ferrini-Mundy, now AssociateTeacher Assessment and Support Dean for the Division of Science andConsortium Mathematics Education at Michigan State University, served as Associate xix
  15. 15. Executive Director of the National the National Research Council’s report Research Council’s Center for Science, review process. They assisted with Mathematics, and Engineering Educa- recruiting reviewers, maintaining tion from the time that this project was communication between the committee conceived through June 1999. Joan’s and the review monitor and coordinator knowledge and insights about math- during the response to review process, ematics education, her understanding of and working with National Academy the critical role of quality teacher Press and the National Academies’ education in promoting learning and Office of News and Public Information. academic achievement for all students, and her advice for completing this study Tina Winters worked with the are especially appreciated. committee’s staff during a portion of 1998 in searching the literature on Eugenia Grohman, Kirsten teacher education issues. Sampson Snyder, and Yvonne Wise were responsible for helping to shep- To all of these people, we express our herd the committee’s report through gratitude and thanks.xx ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
  16. 16. ContentsFOREWORD ixPREFACE xiiiDEDICATION xviiACKNOWLEDGMENTS xixEXECUTIVE SUMMARY 1 Current Problems and Issues in Teacher Education and the Teaching Profession 1 The Evidence That High-Quality Teaching Matters 4 Teacher Education as a Professional Continuum 4 Vision and Recommendations 6 General Recommendations 10 Specific Recommendations 101 INTRODUCTION AND CONTEXT 15 The Reform Movement in Education: Current Challenges 16 Roadblocks to Changes in Teacher Education 22 Increasing Expectations for Teaching and Learning 24 Origins of the Study 27 xxi
  17. 17. 2 THE CONTINUUM OF TEACHER EDUCATION IN SCIENCE, MATHEMATICS, AND TECHNOLOGY: PROBLEMS AND ISSUES 30 Teacher Education Issues 31 The Teaching Profession 35 3 THE CRITICAL IMPORTANCE OF WELL-PREPARED TEACHERS FOR STUDENT LEARNING AND ACHIEVEMENT 44 The Evidence That High-Quality Teaching Matters 45 Teacher Quality and General Student Achievement: Three Studies 47 Teacher Quality and Student Achievement in Science and Mathematics 49 The Importance of Teacher Certification 49 Data from National and International Tests 52 Content Preparation Is Critical for High-Quality Teaching in Science and Mathematics 55 The Nature and Importance of Content Knowledge in the Education of Teachers of Science and Mathematics 59 4 RECOMMENDATIONS FROM THE PROFESSION AND THE DISCIPLINES 66 5 TEACHER EDUCATION AS A PROFESSIONAL CONTINUUM 72 Systemic Approaches to Improving Teacher Education 74 Some Exemplary Approaches to Teacher Education 75 The Effectiveness of PDS and Similar Collaborative Efforts in Improving Student Learning 77 Educating Elementary School Teachers in the Teaching of Science and Mathematics: Special Considerations 79 6 A VISION FOR IMPROVING TEACHER EDUCATION AND THE TEACHING PROFESSION 85 Teacher Education in the 21st Century 87 Articulation of the Vision 88 Articulation of the Committee’s Vision for Teacher Education 91 Institutional Leadership and Commitment 93 Changing Roles for Schools, Districts, and Higher Education in Teacher Education 96xxii CONTENTS
  18. 18. Other Benefits of Partnerships for Teacher Education in Science and Mathematics 99 Financial Support for Partnerships for Teacher Education 104 Potential Obstacles to Sustaining an Effective Partnership for Teacher Education 1057 RECOMMENDATIONS 109 General Recommendations 109 Recommendations for Governments 110 Recommendations for Collaboration Between Institutions of Higher Education and the K-12 Community 116 Recommendations for the Higher Education Community 118 Recommendations for the K-12 Community 124 Recommendations for Professional and Disciplinary Organizations 128REFERENCES 131APPENDIXESA Standards for Teacher Development and Professional Conduct 143B Overview of Content Standards from the National Science Education Standards and the Principles and Standards for School Mathematics 148C Overview of Teaching Standards from the National Science Education Standards and the Principles and Standards for School Mathematics 154D Examples of Local and Statewide Programs That Provide Ongoing Professional Development Opportunities to Beginning and Experienced Teachers 159E Examples of Formal and Informal Partnerships Between Institutions of Higher Education and School Districts to Improve Teacher Education 164F Biographical Sketches of Committee Members 177GLOSSARY OF EDUCATION TERMS 185INDEX 193CONTENTS xxiii
  19. 19. 1 EDUCATING TEACHERS / 2 of Science, Mathematics, and Technology
  20. 20. Executive SummaryCURRENT PROBLEMS AND ISSUES much of the system of teacher prepara-IN TEACHER EDUCATION AND tion and professional development,THE TEACHING PROFESSION including the recruiting, preparing, inducting, and retaining of teachers. A large and growing body of research Indeed, many teachers themselvesdata—as well as recommendations from report frustration with current methodsprofessional societies—indicate that the of and approaches to teacher education.preparation and ongoing professional After extensive review of the researchdevelopment of teachers in science, literature and the recommendations ofmathematics, and technology1 for professional societies, the Nationalgrades K-12 needs rethinking and Research Council’s Committee onimprovement, and not just on a small Science and Mathematics Teacherscale. There is now a great deal of Preparation (CSMTP) has determinedevidence that this situation permeates that fundamental restructuring of 1With the recent release of standards from the International Technology Education Association(ITEA) (2000), teaching and learning about the history and roles of technology in modern society arelikely to become increasingly important. Thus, although the authoring committee of this report iscalled the Committee on Science and Mathematics Teacher Preparation, its report places technologyeducation on the same footing with science and mathematics education. Including consideration of theemerging subject area of technology also is consistent with the NRC’s Statement of Task to thecommittee. The new technology standards do not specifically address or offer recommendations about educatingteachers in this subject area. Hence, new research and recommendations will be required to determinethe most effective ways to teach and learn about technology. In addition, because there has been little ifany consensus about appropriate ways to teach about technology prior to the release of these stan-dards, little research has been undertaken about effective teaching and learning in this subject area.Therefore, the vast majority of references discussed in this report focus on science and mathematics. 1
  21. 21. teacher preparation and professional do not have sufficient content knowl- development is needed to best serve the edge or adequate background for interest of students’ learning and of teaching these subject areas. Indeed, in their future success as individuals, some states, middle school teachers workers, and citizens. The committee (typically, grades 6-8) with generalist also has concluded that such change is backgrounds are being assigned to in the best interest of teachers of sci- teach science or mathematics exclu- ence and mathematics themselves, who, sively. Many faculty in science, math- quite incontrovertibly, are not accorded ematics, engineering, and technology the respect and recognition due profes- (SME&T) at the nation’s colleges and sionals who hold such responsible universities may not be sufficiently positions in our society. aware of these changing expectations to Increasing expectations under na- provide the appropriate type and level of tional, state, and local content standards instruction needed by students who are raising the stakes for what K-12 would be teachers. Nor do most of students need to know and to be able to these faculty have the kinds of profes- do in science and mathematics. Con- sional development experiences in comitantly, expectations have risen for teaching that would enable them to what K-12 teachers need to know and to model effectively the kinds of pedagogy be able to do. These expectations are that are needed for success in grade K- reflected in part by bolstered state 12 classrooms. Similarly, some faculty requirements for the type of in schools or colleges of education, postsecondary education and degrees especially those who are engaged with required of new teachers. graduate programs, may have had little Most instructors of these new or no recent direct contact with teachers teachers—including postsecondary in classroom environments. faculty in science, mathematics, engi- Once teachers reach the classroom, neering, technology, and education— they often do not receive the support have not been able to provide the type of they need to keep their pedagogical education that K-12 teachers need to skills and content knowledge current. succeed in their own classrooms. Unlike in other professions, in educa- Numerous studies and the results from tion, few specific requirements and even a variety of the Praxis and other teacher fewer opportunities exist for teachers to licensing and certification examinations engage in meaningful professional demonstrate that many teachers, espe- development (often called inservice cially those who will teach in grades K-8, education). Whereas other professions2 E D U C A T I N G T E A C H E R S O F S C I E N C E , M A T H E M AT I C S , A N D T E C H N O L O G Y
  22. 22. expect their practitioners to pursue professions not only also expect theiradvanced programs of study that in- practitioners to upgrade their knowl-crease and broaden their specific edge and skills throughout their careerscompetencies for the profession, in but also have in place an enablingeducation, most state regulations continuing education system. Impor-require only that teachers obtain post- tantly, most other professions do notbaccalaureate credits or a master’s view those who have recently entereddegree within a certain period of time the profession as being fully qualified orafter being hired and then earn addi- expert. Rather, there are full expecta-tional credits every few years thereafter. tions that neophytes will continue toContent areas typically are not specified. learn and grow through participation inThese kinds of amorphous require- regular professional developmentments for teachers may actually reduce programs and as a result of mentoringthe number of experienced teachers in by more senior colleagues. This trendclassrooms, since many teachers who is now infiltrating teaching; beginningcontinue with their education pursue teachers are sometimes now referred todegrees in educational administration, as “competent novices” (for example,allowing them to take better paying jobs Schempp et al., 1998).outside of the classroom. In sum, In addition, performance standardscurrent expectations for continuing exist for many professions, often devel-education may not contribute to the oped and maintained by members ofretention of experienced teachers. In those professions through accreditingaddition, recruitment and retention of boards and professional societies.high-quality teachers, especially those Professionals who meet or exceed thewho are qualified to teach science and standards are rewarded in tangible andmathematics, has become a problem in appropriate ways. Although such guide-some school districts across the coun- lines exist for the teaching professiontry, especially where numerous profes- (for example, as developed in 1994 forsional opportunities exist not only practicing teachers by the Nationaloutside of teaching but outside of Board for Professional Teaching Stan-education. dards and in 2000 by the National Unlike in teaching, in many other Council for Accreditation of Teacherprofessions, coherent, well-recognized Education), to date only a few of theseprocedures and policies have been guidelines have been incorporateddeveloped to attract, educate, and place systematically into the fabric and cultureprofessionals. Many of these other of the teaching profession.EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 3
  23. 23. THE EVIDENCE THAT HIGH- within the classroom, has been found to QUALITY TEACHING MATTERS relate positively to the number of education courses taken by teachers, As noted in the extensive body of their grades as student teachers, and evidence cited throughout this report, teaching experience. Some recent research is confirming that good teach- studies also have found that teacher ing does matter. In reviewing the quality accounts for a greater amount of literature, the Committee on Science the variance in student achievement and Mathematics Teacher Preparation than do variables such as the racial (CSMTP) found that studies conducted composition of schools or students’ over the past quarter century increas- economic levels. ingly point to a strong correlation The CSMTP believes that these and between student achievement in K-12 other studies have clear implications for science and mathematics and the teacher preparation. Science and math- teaching quality and level of knowledge ematics educators as well as practitio- of K-12 teachers of science and math- ners have concluded that content ematics. Other studies have found knowledge must be a central focus of a positive correlations between teachers’ science or mathematics teacher’s performance on state examinations, preparation, with the result being a years of teaching experience, and deeper understanding of the fundamen- advanced degrees and student tests tal science, mathematics, or technology scores in reading and mathematics. that he or she will need to teach. These Specific content preparation of teachers conclusions are consistent with an also has been found to make a difference emerging body of research in cognitive in student achievement. Several studies science that is contributing to our conducted over the past 15 years and understanding of the processes by detailed in the committee’s report have which people learn. concluded that “in-field” teachers—i.e., teachers holding specific certificates in certain subject areas—not only know TEACHER EDUCATION AS A more content in their subject area than PROFESSIONAL CONTINUUM their “out-of-field” colleagues but also use their content knowledge more Many national organizations have effectively in the classroom. recommended improvements in the Teaching effectiveness, defined as the education of teachers of K-12 science ability to produce desired changes and mathematics, including the National4 E D U C A T I N G T E A C H E R S O F S C I E N C E , M A T H E M AT I C S , A N D T E C H N O L O G Y
  24. 24. Association of Biology Teachers (1990), must be seen in the future as muchthe National Council of Teachers of more continual and seamless than it isMathematics (1991), the Mathematical today. The college education that leadsAssociation of America (1991), the to initial certification to teach (alsoNational Board for Professional Teaching known as preservice education) shouldStandards (1994), the National Science be viewed as only the first part of aFoundation (1996, 1998), the National complex, career-long learning processResearch Council (1996a, 1997a,b), the that involves continual intellectualAssociation for the Education of Teachers growth both inside and outside theof Science (1997), the National Science classroom.Teachers Association (1998), the Ameri- Standards for K-12 teaching coupledcan Institute of Physics (1999), and the with increasing demands for improvedConference Board of the Mathematical teacher quality have created unprec-Sciences (in preparation). edented opportunities for all players in In recently released teacher educa- the education community (with inputtion standards, the Interstate New and cooperation from the larger commu-Teacher Assessment and Support nity, including industrial and researchConsortium (INTASC, formed by the scientists and mathematicians) toCouncil of Chief State School Officers) design and implement new collaborativehas specified that teachers of K-12 approaches to teacher education. Inscience and mathematics need to meet fact, over the past 10 years, manythe National Research Council’s stan- institutions have begun to develop suchdards for science and the National collaboration, often called a ProfessionalCouncil of Teachers of Mathematics’ Development School (PDS). Through-standards for mathematics. INTASC out the report, the committee has usedhas emphasized further that teacher this term to describe an intentionaleducation should focus understanding partnership between a college or univer-of content in subject areas and knowing sity and the K-12 sector for teacherhow to apply that understanding in education and the improvement ofproblem-solving and inquiry-based teaching and learning in the schools.situations in the classroom. More than Although the objectives and infrastruc-30 states now belong to INTASC. tures of PDS arrangements can vary Based on its review of the literature widely, the committee found that someand of the recommendations of profes- PDS models have become living labora-sional organizations, the CSMTP has tories for observation, experimentation,concluded that teacher preparation and extended practice—sites whereEXECUTIVE SUMMARY 5
  25. 25. teachers, students, and college and invest the time and money needed to university faculty create new knowledge sustain the partnership, they can im- about effective teaching and experiment prove the quality of teacher education with, evaluate, and revise teaching and teaching in general. The practices. committee’s vision to improve teacher Like student learning, teacher learn- education that builds on the PDS ap- ing and professional development are proach is detailed in Chapter 6. Specific part of an extremely long and complex recommendations to various stake- process. Thus, a PDS encourages holder communities are provided in educators to restructure teacher educa- Chapter 7. tion comprehensively, as opposed to incrementally and in a series of dis- jointed reforms. The PDS provides VISION AND more systematic teaching experiences RECOMMENDATIONS for preservice and novice teachers, where content and pedagogy are inte- Vision grated and where teacher education After examining what is known about takes place in environments that more the effectiveness of the PDS approach, closely resemble the classrooms in the committee concluded that the entire which these future teachers will work. professional community’s2 level of At present, there are more than 1,000 commitment to and input in both indi- PDS models in the United States, with vidual schools and districts can have some institutions of higher education significant effects on student achieve- exploring several different models. ment. Systemic support from the larger Examples of such partnerships are community in which a school is located provided in Appendix E of the report. also can make a critical difference in the The committee has concluded that success of teachers and their students when the partners in these kinds of (Smith and O’Day, 1991). This larger collaboratives establish mechanisms for community includes policymakers, making decisions that are mutually superintendents, district administrators, supportive and collegial and when they teacher unions, faculty and administra- 2The professional community includes all individuals and organizations that should be responsible for preparing, providing professional development for, and supporting teachers throughout their careers. Recent efforts to improve teacher education and professionalism must involve members of the K-12, higher education (including both two- and four-year colleges and universities), and business and industry communities.6 E D U C A T I N G T E A C H E R S O F S C I E N C E , M A T H E M AT I C S , A N D T E C H N O L O G Y
  26. 26. tors from local colleges and universities, It was in this regard, then, that theindividual school staff, and parents. It committee took particular note of thealso includes scientists and mathemati- partnerships between medical schoolscians outside of academe, who can bring and their teaching hospitals that involvetheir understanding and everyday collaboration between teaching andapplications of science and mathematics clinical faculty in the education of newconcepts and skills to K-12 teaching and generations of physicians. The commit-learning improvement. tee emphasizes that the primary goal of The approaches taken by PDSs, the any partnership arrangement would bevast body of literature that is reported to improve teacher education in waysand analyzed here, and the many exam- that contribute to enhanced studentples of effective teacher education learning and achievement.programs and policies and practices of In reflecting on its findings andother professions in the United States conclusions, the CSMTP established thereviewed for this report by the CSMTP following six guiding principles on whichled committee members to develop a further action to improve K-12 teachervision for a new type of partnership for education in science, mathematics, andteacher education. In the committee’s technology should be based:vision (articulated in Chapter 6), thevarious communities involved with 1. The improvement of teacher educa-specific aspects of teacher education tion and teaching in science, math-work much more closely together toward ematics, and technology should becommon goals. The current separation viewed as a top national priority.of programs to educate prospective and 2. Teacher education in science,practicing teachers lessens considerably mathematics, and technology mustto the point of becoming a seamless become a career-long process.continuum. Institutions that collaborate High-quality professional develop-in these partnerships re-examine and, in ment programs that include intellec-some cases, redefine their roles in tual growth as well as the upgradingteacher education. The ultimate goal of of teachers’ knowledge and skillsthe partnerships under the committee’s must be expected and essentialvision is to offer teachers ongoing features in the careers of all teachers.opportunities to improve their under- 3. Through changes in the rewards for,standing of the subjects they teach, the incentives for, and expectations ofways they teach, and their standing as teachers, teaching as a professionprofessionals. must be upgraded in status andEXECUTIVE SUMMARY 7
  27. 27. stature to the level of other efforts to provide the appropriate professions. content knowledge and pedagogy of 4. Both individually and collectively, their disciplines to current and two- and four-year colleges and future teachers.3 universities must assume greater responsibility and be held more To initiate action based on these accountable for improving teacher principles, the committee envisions a education. new partnership arrangement between 5. Neither the higher education nor K-12 schools and the higher education the K-12 communities can success- community, with support and assistance fully improve teacher education as from the broader community, that is effectively in isolation as they can by designed to promote high-quality working closely together. Collec- teacher education over the continuum of tive, fully integrated efforts among a teacher’s career. Two- and four-year school staff and administrators in colleges and universities, and especially individual schools and districts, those that have teacher education teacher unions, faculty and adminis- programs, would enter into long-term trators in institutions of higher partnerships with one or more school education, policymakers from local districts. Large school districts could colleges and universities, parents, partner with more than one institution and the private sector are essential of higher education (for example, with for addressing these issues. their local community college and a 6. Many more scientists, mathemati- four-year institution). The objectives of cians, and engineers must become such partnerships would include the well informed enough to become sharing of responsibility for teacher involved with local and national preparation and providing on-going 3In a recent study of Columbia University’s Summer Research Program for Science School Teachers, Silverstein (2000) found that students of teachers who had participated in summer research received higher scores and pass rates on the New York State Regents Examination than the students of teachers from the same schools who did not participate in such programs (teachers who participated in this program were drawn from a broad spectrum of schools in the New York City area). Additionally, participation in Westinghouse/Intel Talent Search projects, science clubs, and extra-curricular activities in science was higher for students whose teachers participated in this program compared to students from the same schools whose teachers did not participate. Additional information about this program is available at <>. The program at Columbia University is one of approximately 70 such programs across the U.S. that are part of the Science Work Experiences for Teachers(SWEPT. A listing of SWEPT programs is available at < physio/swep.html>.8 E D U C A T I N G T E A C H E R S O F S C I E N C E , M A T H E M AT I C S , A N D T E C H N O L O G Y
  28. 28. professional development for the school within the purview of the higher educa-districts’ teachers.4 The committee tion partners. The committee’s visionenvisions that each of the contributors also would involve a correspondingand stakeholders in these partnerships rethinking of how each partner uses itswould be recognized and utilized for resources in support of the partnership.their particular professional expertise in Thus, in the new teacher educationscience, mathematics, and technology partnership envisioned in this report,education. The partners would work master teachers in partner schoolcollectively toward improving teaching districts could have adjunct facultyand ongoing professional development appointments in the partner two- andfor all teachers in the partnership four-year colleges or universities. Thesecommunity, including those in higher teachers would take on a much moreeducation. These partnerships collec- significant role in the mentoring of futuretively would establish and implement teachers during their practicum experi-goals for improving the learning and ences. In turn, faculty in both the schoolacademic achievements in science, of education and in science, mathematics,mathematics, and technology of stu- and engineering departments at partnerdents in affiliated institutions, including colleges and universities would assumestudents in teacher education programs much greater responsibility for provid-and the children in the schools that are ing ongoing professional developmentmembers of the partnerships. opportunities for the school districts’ It is important to note that this new teachers. The partnerships would basetype of partnership envisioned by the their approaches to improved teachercommittee would involve a restructur- education on the scholarly literature,ing of the various phases of teacher recommendations about improvingeducation. Responsibility for student teacher education from professional andteaching experiences would be vested disciplinary organizations, and anprimarily in school districts that partici- ongoing analysis and evaluation of thepate in the partnership. In turn, profes- partnership itself. A major componentsional development would fall primarily of this evaluation would be the academic 4The committee emphasizes in this report that all colleges and universities, including those that donot have formal teacher education programs, should become more involved with improving teachereducation because the nation’s teacher workforce consists of many individuals who have matriculated atall types of two- and four-year institutions of higher education. Although many of these schools do notoffer formal teacher education programs, virtually every institution of higher education, through thekinds of courses it offers, the teaching it models, and the advising it provides to students, has thepotential to influence whether or not its graduates will pursue careers in teaching.EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 9
  29. 29. achievement in science, mathematics, lessly from college preparation for and technology of the students in the teaching to careers in teaching schools that are members of the part- these subject areas. nership. The partnerships also might 2. Teacher education be viewed as a undertake directed research within the career-long process that allows member organizations to find ways to teachers of science, mathematics, improve further teacher education and and technology to acquire and student outcomes in science, mathemat- regularly update the content knowl- ics, and technology. Faculty in schools edge and pedagogical tools needed of education could play an especially to teach in ways that enhance critical role in directing some of their student learning and achievement in research efforts to evaluating systemi- these subjects. cally the efficacy of teacher education 3. Teacher education be structured in programs in these partnerships. ways that allow teachers to grow The committee acknowledges that individually in their profession and achieving this vision will not be straight- to contribute to the further enhance- forward, easily accomplished, or inex- ment of both teaching and their pensive. It will require fundamental disciplines. rethinking and restructuring of the relationships between the K-12 and As outlined, then detailed in its vision, higher education communities in the CSMTP believes that the goals and SME&T, including financial relation- objectives of these general recommen- ships. It also will require fundamental dations can be achieved by all two- and revamping of teaching as a profession. four-year colleges and universities (those with and without programs in teacher education) working with school GENERAL RECOMMENDATIONS districts to establish partnerships for teacher education. The CSMTP recommends that 1. Teacher education in science, SPECIFIC RECOMMENDATIONS mathematics, and technology be viewed as a continuum of programs The CSMTP further offers the follow- and professional experiences that ing specific recommendations: enables individuals to move seam-10 E D U C A T I N G T E A C H E R S O F S C I E N C E , M A T H E M AT I C S , A N D T E C H N O L O G Y
  30. 30. For Governments school districts, or teacher education Local, state, and federal governments partnerships to offset the costs ofshould recognize and acknowledge the continual professional development.need to improve teacher education in For Collaboration Betweenscience and mathematics, as well as Institutions of Higher Educationassist the public in understanding and and the K-12 Communitysupporting improvement. Governmentsshould understand that restructuring Two- and four-year institutions ofteacher education will require large higher education and school districtsinfusions of financial support and make that are involved with partnerships fora strong commitment to provide the teacher education should—workingdirect and indirect funding required to together—establish a comprehensive,support local and regional partnerships integrated system of recruiting andfor improving teacher education in these advising people who are interested indisciplines.5 They also should encour- teaching science, mathematics, andage the recruitment and retention of technology.teachers of science and mathematics— For the Higher Educationparticularly those who are “in-field”— Communitythrough financial incentives, such assalaries that are commensurate and 1. Science, mathematics, and engineer-competitive with those in other profes- ing departments at two- and four-sions in science, mathematics, and year colleges and universitiestechnology; low-interest student loans; should assume greater responsibil-loan forgiveness for recently certified ity for offering college-level coursesteachers in these disciplines who that provide teachers with strongcommit to teaching; stipends for teach- exposure to appropriate content anding internships; and grants to teachers, that model the kinds of pedagogical 5A recent survey by the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) has concluded that nearly 40percent of science teachers in the United States are considering leaving their jobs. The primary reasoncited was job dissatisfaction, with low pay and lack of support from principals the most likely causes ofthis dissatisfaction (Education Week, April 19, 2000). A report from the Texas State Teachers Associa-tion pointed to similar levels of dissatisfaction among teachers in that state (Henderson, 2000). Incomparison, for all subject areas, nearly 20 percent of 1992-93 teacher graduates who entered publicschool teaching in 1993-94 had left the profession within three years. The brightest novice teachers, asmeasured by their college-entrance exams, were the most likely to leave. Teachers who did notparticipate in an induction program, who were dissatisfied with student discipline, or who wereunhappy with the school environment were much more likely to leave than their peers (EducationWeek, 2000).EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 11
  31. 31. approaches appropriate for teaching tion should assume primary respon- that content. sibility for providing professional 2. Two- and four-year colleges and development opportunities to universities should reexamine and experienced teachers of science, redesign introductory college-level mathematics, and technology. Such courses in science and mathematics programs would involve faculty from to better accommodate the needs of science, mathematics, and engineer- practicing and future teachers. ing disciplines and from schools of 3. Universities whose primary mission education. includes education research should set as a priority the development For the K-12 Education and execution of peer-reviewed Community research studies that focus on ways 1. Following a period of collaborative to improve teacher education, the planning and preparation, school art of teaching, and learning for districts in a partnership for teacher people of all ages. New research education should assume primary that focuses broadly on synthesizing responsibility for providing high- data across studies and linking it to quality practicum experiences and school practice in a wide variety of internships for prospective teachers. school settings would be especially 2. School districts in a partnership for helpful to the improvement of teacher education should assume teacher education and professional primary responsibility for develop- development for both prospective and ing and overseeing field experiences, experienced teachers. The results student teaching, and internship of this research should be collated programs for new teachers of science, and disseminated through a national mathematics, and technology. electronic database or library. 3. School districts should collaborate 4. Two- and four-year colleges and with two- and four-year colleges and universities should maintain contact universities to provide professional with and provide guidance to teach- development opportunities to ers who complete their preparation experienced teachers of science, and development programs. mathematics, and technology. Such 5. Following a period of collaborative programs would involve faculty from planning and preparation, two- and science, mathematics, and engineer- four-year colleges and universities ing disciplines and from schools of in a partnership for teacher educa- education. Teachers who participate12 E D U C A T I N G T E A C H E R S O F S C I E N C E , M A T H E M AT I C S , A N D T E C H N O L O G Y
  32. 32. in these programs would, in turn, 2. Professional disciplinary societies in offer their expertise and guidance to science, mathematics, and engineer- others involved with the partnership. ing, higher education organizations, government at all levels, and busi-For Professional and Disciplinary ness and industry should becomeOrganizations more engaged as partners (as1. Organizations that represent institu- opposed to advisors or overseers) tions of higher education should in efforts to improve teacher assist their members in establishing education. programs to help new teachers. For 3. Professional disciplinary societies in example, databases of information science, mathematics, and engineer- about new teachers could be devel- ing, and higher education organiza- oped and shared among member tions also should work together to institutions so that colleges and align their policies and recommen- universities could be notified when a dations for improving teacher newly certified teacher was moving education in science, mathematics, to their area to teach. Those col- and technology. leges and universities could then plan and offer welcoming and These recommendations are elabo- support activities, such as opportu- rated in Chapter 7. nities for continued professional and intellectual growth.EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 13
  33. 33. 1 Introduction and Context Nearly everyone can drive a car. But tion. Which training method is prefer-can everyone drive a tractor-trailer or fly able? The foreign carrier pilots do notan airliner? What minimum qualifica- appear to have more accidents, but theytions and background are required to also do not have the experience andcarry out these demanding tasks com- flexibility that results from a longer-petently? How does one define an term training program.“expert” in each of these categories? Like pilots who fly aircraft and areHow much training and experience responsible for cargo, crew, and passen-would travelers want the truck driver gers, teachers have demanding jobs,or pilot to have had? with responsibilities that can have long- These kinds of questions were raised term impacts on their students, commu-recently in an article comparing methods nities, and society in general. Thus, asused around the world for the training with the skills required of airline pilots,of commercial airline pilots for United one might reasonably ask, “Can every-States and foreign carriers (Mangan, one teach?” The answer to this is likely2000). Pilots for the U.S.-based airlines “Yes!” That is, virtually everyone hasgo through training over a six-year taught something to someone else, evenperiod that includes a four-year college if it was as a parent or friend. “Teachingdegree (or military piloting experience). as telling” is a common human behavior.They then move through the ranks from But what does it require to be a highlyflight instructor to pilot of a regional competent teacher in a classroom?carrier. By contrast, new pilots for In the prevailing cultural norms in themany foreign carriers are given one United States, there seems to be anyear of rigorous training and instruc- assumption that certain professions do 15
  34. 34. not require all that much background— remains concerned about the academic that anyone can be a professional writer, performance of U.S. children on national for example, or teacher, with the relative (e.g., National Assessment of Educa- outcomes the same regardless of tional Progress—NAEP) and inter- education, experience, or professional national (e.g., the Third International development. But as this report will Mathematics Science Study—TIMSS) show, highly knowledgeable, highly skilled teachers do make a difference in terms of student learning. And, there- fore, if for no other reason, careful The key difference between the current and attention must be paid to how they are previous calls for reform in teacher prepara- educated and professionally supported tion is a focus on strategies that coordinate and nurtured throughout their careers. the preparation of high quality teachers with improvements in K-12 student achievement. THE REFORM MOVEMENT Rodriguez, 1998 IN EDUCATION: CURRENT CHALLENGES Although education has been a central assessments compared with the aca- focus of concern for the U.S. public for demic performance of students in many many years, the first contemporary other countries. What might these poor national expression of concern was performances bode for our future issued in 1983, in a U.S. Department of international and economic stature? Are Education-funded report entitled A schools accomplishing what we want for Nation at Risk (National Commission on our children? For all of our children? Excellence in Education). That report Following publication and national warned of a “rising tide of mediocrity” discussion of A Nation at Risk, a spate of that threatened the United States both other reports appeared. Those reports economically and militarily. At the time, offered criticisms of and proposed the nation was especially concerned solutions for the entire landscape of with the rise of Japanese economic K-12 education (e.g., reviewed by power and Soviet military might. Six- Darling-Hammond, 1997). In science teen years later, the United States and mathematics, the American Associa- stands as the world’s sole economic and tion for the Advancement of Science military superpower, but our nation still (AAAS) initiated its comprehensive16 E D U C A T I N G T E A C H E R S O F S C I E N C E , M A T H E M AT I C S , A N D T E C H N O L O G Y
  35. 35. project, “Project 2061”1 in 1986. Project voluntary standards, published in 1996,2061 resulted in the publication of reflected input from thousands ofScience for All Americans (1989), which scientists, mathematicians, and sciencearticulated AAAS’ vision for scientific and mathematics educators. Theliteracy. Benchmarks for Science Literacy, National Science Education Standardswhich offered goals and objectives for addressed not only content but alsowhat U.S. students should know and be critical related issues, such as theable to do in science, appeared in 1993. professionalism of teachers, the roles ofIn 1986, the National Council of Teach- colleges and universities in preparingers of Mathematics began its work on teachers to implement and teach cur-K-12 content standards for mathematics, ricula that are consistent with thewhich were released in 1989 and subse- content standards, appropriate assess-quently revised in 2000. By the end of ment of knowledge, and the educationalthe 1980s, the National Science Teach- infrastructure that would be needed toers Association (NSTA) had started support these new approaches tocrafting a new approach to teaching teaching and learning.2 The develop-science (Scope, Sequence and Coordina- ment of these national standards re-tion), which recommended that stu- flected the concern that U.S. studentsdents in grades 9-12 be exposed to needed to become much more knowl-every science subject each year (NSTA, edgeable about science and mathemat-1996). In 1991, the National Research ics than they had been in the past. TheCouncil was asked by the president of national standards presaged a growingthe NSTA and other scientific organiza- researched-based consensus about howtions, the U.S. Department of Education, people learn and should be taughtthe National Science Foundation, and (summarized in NRC, 1999d,e).the co-chairs of the National Education All 50 states are now at varying stagesGoals Panel (a project supported by the of developing and implementing theirNational Governors’ Association) to own curriculum frameworks and learn-coordinate the development of national ing outcomes for students in gradesscience education standards. These K-12 (Education Commission of the 1“Project 2061” was so named because it was launched in 1986, the year that Halley’s comet made itsmost recent close pass by Earth. The next time that the comet returns will be in 2061. The title servesas a metaphor for what AAAS views as a generation of change for fundamentally new approaches toteaching and learning science. 2In mathematics, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics issued a separate set of recom-mendations for teacher education (NCTM, 1991) two years after the release of its content standards formathematics.INTRODUCTION AND CONTEXT 17
  36. 36. States, 2000). Many of these state learn, there have been calls for restruc- initiatives are based at least in part on turing teacher preparation and profes- the national standards. Thus, a growing sional development. The leading consensus is emerging about the proponents of education reform have science and mathematics content that all argued that the attainment of high students in grades K-12 should know, standards for students—standards that understand, and be able to do to prepare demand understanding and the ability to themselves for living and working in the perform—will be unlikely until teachers 21st century. are educated in ways that enable them While there continues to be a recog- to implement and teach curricula that nized need to improve the content of are consistent with the vision, goals, and science and mathematics education for content of the national standards. If K-12 students, a near revolution in children are to be able to engage in understanding human learning has inquiry and problem solving as they been taking place through the emerging learn science and mathematics, then field of cognitive science. This re- surely their teachers also need to search, summarized recently by a study experience and practice inquiry and committee of the National Research problem solving in their own education Council (1999d), indicates that teachers (NRC, 2000a). should incorporate content-appropriate Three other recent reports have methods of teaching that improve their served to catalyze attempts to improve students’ chances of knowing and teacher education: understanding content in areas such as mathematics. This new understanding, • In 1996, the Council of Basic coupled with research that substantiates Education (CBE) cited several problems the importance of guiding beginning that it claimed compromised the educa- teachers so that they learn to employ a tion of teachers. These problems variety of instructional practices, implies included inadequate and poorly super- the need for and benefit of sound vised school-based practicum experience, preparation in both subject matter and the mediocre academic credentials of pedagogical training for prospective students who enroll in teacher educa- teachers (Stoddard and Floden, 1995; tion programs, and the questionable Ball, 1997). quality of faculty in the schools of Concomitant with the reform of education who prepare those students content in K-12 science and mathemat- (Rigden, 1996). ics and knowledge about how people • In the same year, a report from the18 E D U C A T I N G T E A C H E R S O F S C I E N C E , M A T H E M AT I C S , A N D T E C H N O L O G Y
  37. 37. National Commission on Teaching and all newly prepared teachers; enhancingAmerica’s Future (NCTAF, 1996) mentoring of beginning teachers byadmonished educators of teachers for setting standards for the selection ofnot attending to problems of uninspired mentor teachers and providing funds toteaching in their own courses, a curricu- professionally prepare and compensatelum that lacks both substance and mentors; and the funding of professionaldepth, and a lack of coherence and development tied to state contentarticulation in teacher education pro- standards for students.grams between schools of education and • Mundry et al. (1999) noted the lackother disciplines. Although critical of focus and coherence in teacherabout how teachers are prepared, the education programs. That study alsoNCTAF report also pointed to research highlighted the failure of teacher educa-data showing that the United States tors to establish a “coherent set orlabors with fatal distractions in its ‘continuum’ of career-long learningreform efforts, including the misguided experiences for all K-12 teachers ofbeliefs that 1) anyone can teach, espe- science and mathematics, primarily tocially if they have adequate content improve teaching and learning in theknowledge, and that 2) teacher prepara- classroom.” Significant effort is neededtion programs contribute little to the to bridge the gap between preserviceproduction of qualified teachers and and inservice teacher education. How-high-quality teaching. ever, the authors noted that a “discon- In a second report, NCTAF (1997) nect” in teacher education programscited 12 partner states that have begun actually stems from a major problemfar-reaching sets of reforms that could that teacher educators face. In theaffect virtually all aspects of teaching. current education system, most teach-In North Carolina, for example, the ers do not have access to high-quality,state’s Excellent Schools Act of 1997 ongoing opportunities for professionalenacted “nearly all of the recommenda- development. Thus, schools of educa-tions of the National Commission that tion attempt to prepare prospectivewere not already in place in the state,” teachers for the demands of the presentincluding increasing teachers’ average system of K-12 education as well as forsalaries by 33 percent over four years; both probable and unanticipatedimproving teacher education by estab- changes to the education system in thelishing school-university partnerships to future. Partly as a result of thesecreate clinical school settings and attempts to cover such broad ground inrequiring special education training for teacher preparation programs, manyINTRODUCTION AND CONTEXT 19
  38. 38. graduates and their supervisors report Research Council (1989, 1991, 1995, that their teacher preparation programs 1999h) have criticized the nearly exclu- were inadequate, idealistic, or too sive use of lecture-based teaching that theoretical. prospective teacher candidates experi- ence in many of their undergraduate science and mathematics courses. As Too often, teacher preparation programs noted in the National Science Education Standards (NRC, 1996a), science is not are characterized by a lack of coherence something that is done to students, it is and articulation across the general educa- something that students do. If teachers tion, science education, and professional are to implement standards-based education curriculum strands. In each of teaching approaches, then they too must experience these models of in- these three areas, expectations typically are struction in their undergraduate classes. defined by a list of courses. These courses Furthermore, prospective teachers need in turn usually are defined by a body of to experience science and mathematics basic knowledge within the respective learning through inquiry, problem- based approaches, and direct, hands-on disciplines without major attention to the experiences in the classroom, labora- nature of the investigative modes that tory, and field (e.g., Howard Hughes produced them. Similarly, few courses Medical Institute, 1996; NRC, 1999h). address the application of this knowledge to Although calls for reform persist, teacher educators at some major re- societal issues or other matters—dimensions search universities have been working that the Standards say need significant for many years to reform teacher attention in K-12 education in science. education. Representatives from many National Research Council, 1997b of these universities banded together in 1986 to produce the hallmark Holmes Group Report (Holmes Group, 1986). This report was to be the first in a series In the past decade, the criticism of of efforts to deal with the reform and teacher preparation programs also has revitalization of teacher education. The extended to content preparation. Numer- Holmes report called for prospective ous reports, including those from the teachers to acquire a solid background American Association for the Advance- in the liberal arts as undergraduates and ment of Science (1990) and the National then to engage in substantive post-20 E D U C A T I N G T E A C H E R S O F S C I E N C E , M A T H E M AT I C S , A N D T E C H N O L O G Y
  39. 39. Teaching science through inquiry allows students to conceptualize a question and then seekpossible explanations that respond to that question. For example, in my field of cell biology,cell membranes have to be selectively permeable—they have to let foodstuffs like sugarspass inward and wastes like carbon dioxide pass out, while holding the many big moleculesthat from the cell inside. What kind of material could have these properties and yet be ableto expand as the cell grows?It is certainly easy to remember another and more familiar type of science teaching from mychildhood. In this approach—which remains depressingly common today—teachers providetheir students with sets of science facts and with technical words to describe those facts. Inthe worst case, this type of science teaching assumes that education consists of filling astudent’s head with vocabulary words and associations, such as mitochondria being “thepowerhouses of the cell,” DNA being the “genetic material,” and motion producing “kineticenergy.” Science classes of this type treat education as if it were preparation for a quizshow or a game of trivial pursuit.This view of science education has many problems. Most students are not interested in beingquiz show participants. They fail to see how this type of knowledge will be useful to them inthe future. They therefore lack the motivation for this kind of “school learning.”Most important, this kind of teaching misses a tremendous opportunity to give all students theproblem-solving skills that they will need to be effective workers and citizens in the 21st century. Bruce Alberts Excerpted from the Foreword in National Research Council (2000b)INTRODUCTION AND CONTEXT 21