2008 Fall Meeting          
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Cite abstracts as Author(s) (2008), Title, Eos Trans. AGU,
(53), Fall Meet. Suppl., Abstract xxxxx-xx

HR: 10:35h
AN: ED22A-02
TI: Teacher Research Programs: An Effective Form of Professional Development to Increase Student Achievement and Benefit the Economy
AU: * Dubner, J
EM: jd109@columbia.edu
AF: Columbia University, 630 W. 168 Street Room 11-444, New York, NY 10032, United States
AB: U.S. high school students perform markedly less well in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) than students in other economically advanced countries. This low level of STEM performance endangers our democracy and economy. The President's Council of Advisors in Science and Technology's 2004 report attributed the shortfall of students attracted to the sciences is a result of the dearth of teachers sufficiently conversant with science and scientists to enable them to communicate to their students the excitement of scientific exploration and discovery, and the opportunities science provides for highly rewarding and remunerative careers. Nonetheless, the United States has made little progress in correcting these deficiencies. Studies have shown that high-quality teaching matters more to student achievement than anything else schools do. This belief is buttressed by evidence from Columbia University's Summer Research Program for Science Teachers (SRP) that highly motivated, in-service science teachers require professional development to enable them and their students to perform up to their potential. Columbia's Summer Research Program is based on the premise that to teach science effectively requires experience in using the tools of contemporary science to answer unsolved questions. From its inception, SRP's goal has been to enhance interest and improve performance in science of students. It seeks to achieve this goal by increasing the professional competence of teachers. The reports of Elmore, Sanders and Rivers, and our own studies, show that professional development is a "key lever for improving student outcomes." While most middle and high school science teachers have taken college science courses that include cookbook laboratory exercises, the vast majority of them have never attempted to answer an unsolved question. Just as student learning depends on the expertise of teachers, the expertise of teachers depends on the quality of their professional development. Columbia University's teacher research program is a very effective form of professional development for pre- college science teachers and has a direct correlation to increased student motivation and achievement in science. The Program is premised on the beliefs that hands-on experience in the practice of science improves the quality and authenticity of science teaching, and that improved science teaching is correlated with increased student interest and achievement in science. The author will present the methodology of the program's evaluation citing statistically significant findings. The author will also show the economic benefits of teacher participation in a well-designed research program.
UR: http://www.ScienceTeacherProgram.org
DE: 0805 Elementary and secondary education
DE: 0825 Teaching methods
DE: 0830 Teacher training
DE: 0840 Evaluation and assessment
SC: Education and Human Resources [ED]
MN: 2008 Fall Meeting