UCLA Researchers Win Grant for STEM Ed Research
Researchers from the UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies (GSEIS) have won a $2.8 million grant from the National Science Foundation to develop and study a professional development program to help middle
and high school science educators teach their students to argue
During the four-year study, the researchers will work with 30 teacher leaders in the Montebello Unified School District to help them bring their teaching methods into alignment with the Next
Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Montebello USD was selected for
participation in the study because it is an urban school district, and
one component of the research project is to determine "how challenges
are influenced by the urban schooling contexts in which project
teachers work," according to the NSF award abstract.
William Sandoval, principal investigator of the research project, one
of the main challenges teachers face in implementing NGSS is replacing
"cookbook" classroom experiments with actual scientific inquiry. "What
the Next Generation standards are trying to do is … have kids use the
data they get from their experiments to learn the scientific concepts
we want them to learn," said Sandoval in a news story on UCLA's site.
"It's a big change for teachers to focus on practices of
experimentation, modeling, arguments and data analysis … and helping
them to understand that is one big job."
The science teachers
from Montebello USD will take part in intensive summer institutes to
learn strategies to promote the development of scientific argumentation
skills, and the researchers will conduct two school-based lesson study
cycles each year. The researchers will document which aspects of the
new teaching strategies the teachers find easier or more difficult to
implement. Ultimately, the researchers said they hope to further "understanding of
how site-based professional development can be structured to support
teacher learning and improvement," according to the NSF award abstract.
research project is led by William Sandoval, professor of education at
UCLA and head of the Urban Schooling Division at GSEIS. Other members
of the research team include Jody Priselac, associate dean for
community programs is the co-principal investigator on the project, and
Lynn Kim-John, director of the UCLA Science Project at Center X.
Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at [email protected].