Supporting Science Teachers in Alignment with State Curriculum Standards through Professional Development: Teachers' Preparedness, Expectations and Their Fulfillment

Sunhee Paik, Meilan Zhang, Mary A. Lundeberg, Jan Eberhardt, Tae Seob Shin, Tianyi Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

Since A Nation at Risk was released in the 1980s, standards-based reform has been the most dominant trend in American educational policy, and the No Child Left Behind Act pushed the trend further by requiring states to develop rigorous curriculum standards. Though much has been said about these new standards, less has been said about whether or how well professional development helps teachers link their instruction to these standards. This study examined the impact of a professional development program for K-12 science teachers in helping teachers meet state curriculum standards. Seventy-five science teachers in Michigan participated in a 2-week summer workshop that used Problem-Based Learning for improving teachers' content knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge. Researchers surveyed participating teachers about the change of teachers' preparedness for standards-based teaching, their expectations to meet state curriculum standards, and whether their expectations were met. In addition, the usefulness of workshop activities was examined. Data analysis showed that to align teaching with state curriculum standards, participating teachers expected to learn instructional strategies and enhance science content knowledge through professional development, and by and large their expectations were well met. Collaboration with colleagues and facilitators helped teachers achieve their goals in terms of teaching within state curriculum standards. These findings have important implications for designing professional development to help teachers align instruction with curriculum standards.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)422-434
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Science Education and Technology
Volume20
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2011

Keywords

  • Curriculum alignment
  • Problem-based learning
  • Professional development
  • Science teacher education
  • Standards-based reform

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