Through its programs and services, the NSRC provides school districts with tools and resources for initiating and sustaining effective science education programs. Using the NSRC model for science education reform, these school districts implement research- and standards-based science instructional materials, provide professional development for their teachers, and continually assess student progress. Further, they develop a system-wide support structure that provides science materials to the classroom and builds support from school district administration and the community. These programs have led to significant, documented improvement in student achievement. An emerging body of research indicates that inquiry-based science programs are effective at improving the learning and teaching of science.NSRC's Impact on the Adoption of Research-Based Science Curriculum
When school district leaders are provided access to information about research and best practices, given time to develop a strategic plan, and become members of a sustained learning network, they are highly likely to implement a research-based science curriculum. For example: More than 1,200 school districts have sent representatives to the NSRC’s Leadership and Assistance for Science Education Reform (LASER) strategic planning institutes and predecessor leadership institutes. Participants at these institutes have developed plans for moving from a traditional, textbook-based instructional model to research-based, inquiry-centered science learning and teaching. Independent evaluations of LASER show that more than 90% of these districts have successfully begun the reform process and that many are well on their way to institutionalizing it. Through the work of the NSRC’s Centers of Excellence—Building Awareness of Science Education, Leadership and Assistance for Science Education Reform (LASER) Center, and the Professional Development Center—more than 1,200 diverse school districts representing 30% of the United States K–8 student population are now implementing research-based, inquiry science programs in their communities.
Today, about 80% of Washington State students, 100% of Delaware public school students, and large percentages of Pennsylvania, Alabama, South Carolina, and North Carolina students are benefiting from research-based science education based on the NSRC leadership development programs and the applications of the NSRC Systemic Science Education Reform Model.
Since 1992, a sustained and growing coalition of major corporations and foundations has been investing time and resources to implement the NSRC’s science education reform model with hundreds of school districts throughout the country. More than fifty percent of NSRC program support is obtained from private foundations and corporations. This support has been leveraged by grants that the NSRC has received from the National Science Foundation. More about business and industry’s involvement with science education reform.
Through the LASER Center These leaders have received 48 hours of professional development related to current research, case studies representing best implementation practices, strategic planning, and the nature of organizational change. More than half of these leaders have participated in follow-up LASER Center services and have requested ongoing support for their reform efforts.
Case Studies of Science Education Reform:
Examples of Science Education Reform following the NSRC model (from Science For All Children):
A Large Suburban School District Works to Build a Cadre of Effective
A City School District Struggles to Put the Pieces Together
Corporate Sponsorship and an Emphasis on Strong Professional
A Small School District Builds a Strong Corporate Partnership
A University-School District Partnership Creates a Multidistrict Program Step by Step
Pasadena Develops a Model for Teacher-Scientist Partnerships
A University Works Collaboratively with a City School District
The Einstein Project Builds a Science Program Through Community Partnerships
“As a new teacher, without an extensive science background, I found the STC/MS program to be very easy to use….The activities are thought provoking, yet easy to set up and manage. The lessons provide opportunities for constant assessment, which gives the teacher better understanding of how the students are progressing.”
“Scope and sequence are STC’s strengths. The program engages children in inquiry-based process skills and science concepts. STC has a really nice flow.”
“We liked the quality of the STC kits and the design of the instruction that comes with them….The Teacher’s Guide is logically arranged, so teachers can go through the unit in sequence. The guide makes it pretty easy for teachers – even if they’re a little uncertain about science activities.”
“In my 38 years as an educator, I have seen and used a variety of approaches for teaching elementary science. The STC kits have moved science instruction away from reading comprehension and demonstration to hands-on activities. As a result, my students find science more enjoyable, while they gain a better understanding of the basic processes.”
“I have used the STC/MS program in my class for quite a few years now…I really like the fact that on a daily basis, my students are not reading about certain content area…rather, they are ‘doing it.’ I have found that the program allows me to address the needs of a broad spectrum of student abilities all in one lesson! I have especially seen a dramatic change in students’ attitudes towards science. They just can’t wait to find out what we’re doing next!”
“STC units have helped me to completely change the way I teach science. They promote not only a hands-on, but a minds-on approach to science. They have helped my students to learn to become better thinkers and problem solvers. I cannot imagine going back to a textbook approach to teaching science.”
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