Science and Technology/Engineering
Implementation of an effective science and technology/engineering program requires collaboration with experts, appropriate materials, support from parents and community, ongoing professional development, and quantitative and qualitative assessment.
Implementation of an effective science and technology/engineering curriculum aligned with these learning standards at every grade level is a multiyear process. The district coordinator should be involved in articulating, coordinating, and piloting a district-wide (PreK-12) science and technology/engineering curriculum. Districts may choose to pilot and systematically evaluate several different programs in multiple classrooms. Following the choice of a program, implementation may proceed one grade at a time or by introduction of a limited number of units at several grade levels each year.
School districts should select engaging, challenging, and accurate curriculum materials that are based on research on how children learn science and on how to overcome student misconceptions. To aid their selection, districts may want to consult the Guidebook to Examine School Curricula in the TIMSS Toolkit or Appendix VII in this framework, "Criteria for Evaluating Instructional Materials and Programs."
Implementation also requires extensive professional development. Teachers must have the content knowledge and the pedagogical expertise to use the materials in a way that enhances student learning. A well-planned program for professional development should provide for both content learning and content-based pedagogical training. Each area of science study should be taught by teachers who are certified in that area. Because of the nature of the technology/engineering environment, it is strongly recommended that it be taught in the middle and high school by teachers who are certified in technology education, and who are therefore very familiar with the safe use of tools and machines. Science and technology/engineering coordinators for the elementary grades could help to ensure that teachers in elementary schools are supported in their efforts to help students learn science and technology/engineering.
Introduction of a new science and technology/engineering program can be more effective when families and community members are brought into the selection and planning process. Parents who have a chance to examine and work with the materials in the context of a Family Science Night, Technology/Engineering Fair, or other occasion will better understand and support their children's learning. In addition, local members of the science and engineering community may be able to lend their own expertise to assist with the implementation of a new curriculum. Teachers and administrators should invite scientists, engineers, higher education faculty, representatives of local businesses, and museum personnel to help evaluate the planned curriculum and enrich it with community connections.
When planning for the introduction of a new curriculum, it is important to identify explicitly how success will be measured. Indicators need to be determined and should be communicated to all stakeholders. Supervisors should monitor whether the curriculum is actually being used and how instruction has changed, and make this information available to a broad range of participants. Teacher teams, working across grade levels, should look at student work and other forms of assessment to determine whether there is evidence for the sought-for gains in student understanding.