Date of this Version
Lewis, E.B., Lucas, L., Tankersley, A., Hasseler, E., & Helding, B. (2020). Critical Factors for Effective and Equitable NGSS Science Teaching Practices. Paper set proposal for the annual meeting of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching (NARST): March 15-18, 2020: Portland, OR.
With the widespread adoption and adaption of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and its implicit focus on inquiry-based instruction, reformed science teaching practices are critically important to meeting the U.S. vision of scientific literacy for all students. Thus, the role of teacher learning through both teacher preparation and professional development must be well understood and informed through empirical findings. Accordingly, the theme of this NARST conference paper set is to identify effective science teaching practices using the lens of the NGSS science and engineering practices (SEPs), science subject matter knowledge, and equitable teaching practices. We found that inquiry-based instruction and use of SEPs varied by subject area. Teachers with more discipline-specific science coursework were associated with higher levels of inquiry-based instruction. In another part of the study, focused on teacher professional development, nearly all teachers were engaged in PD, 66% of teachers had access to PD in their school districts, but only 39% of in-district PD had a science content focus. Each year only half of the study’s teachers sought out-of-district PD, which focused on science content and/or how to teach a particular science subject. Thus, if science education reform is a priority, then it is recommended that teachers be not only well-prepared in their content area, but also required to engage in regular teacher PD to maintain their state teaching certification.