Project Goals and Objectives:
Building Inquiring Minds has as its overarching goal to develop and maintain high quality inquiry-based science instruction in district early childhood centers and improve student learning outcomes in science. Specifically, the project will:
- Improve achievement among participating students in Ecology, Earth Science and Science Inquiry.
As measured by project-developed and administered pre/post tests of targeted content and scores on the science section of the Terra Nova assessment, students will increase their scores on the Science Inquiry and Earth Science strands of the Terra Nova 3% in year 1; 5% in year 2, and perform at the 85% level on project/teacher-developed criterion referenced tests and science inquiry performance assessments.
- Increase teachers’ knowledge and understanding of key concepts in Ecology, Earth Science and Science Inquiry.
As measured by project-developed and administered pre/post tests of targeted content and Teacher Evaluation Survey items, teachers will increase their content knowledge 20%.
- Improve teachers’ pedagogical practices utilizing research-based best practices in environmental education and inquiry-based instruction, including planning for rigorous differentiated instruction.
As measured by a Classroom Practices Survey, project administered observations, and “paint the picture” walk-through data, teachers’ pedagogical content knowledge and practices will improve at least 10 percent over baseline in year 1, 20% in year 2.
- Improve teachers’ knowledge and skills in designing and implementing assessment tools and use assessment data to monitor the effectiveness of their instruction.
As measured by Teacher Evaluation and Classroom Practices Surveys, and “paint the picture” walk-through data, teachers’ effective use of assessment data will improve at least 5% over baseline in year 1, 10% in year 2.
- Improve the preparation of preservice teachers through increased involvement in targeted field experiences and improvements in science pedagogy courses, including improving the ability of preservice teachers to work with diverse learners.
As measured by a Higher Education Impact Survey, faculty and preservice students will report greater understanding of effective approaches to science instruction for diverse learners by year 2.