UA Researcher to Examine if Local Efforts to Improve Science Instruction
are Compatible with State's New Standards
Contact: Vincent Reda (518) 765-3721, or Janet Angelis
The University at Albany's School of Education has received a new $600,000
award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to examine the way
schools and teachers incorporate a local effort to improve science teaching
and learning with state assessments and standards.
The award is a supplement to the $2.5 million NSF-funded Local Systemic
Change Project that is supporting professional development for grade
K-8 science teachers in the Capital Region Science Education Partnership
(CRSEP). CRSEP is a collaboration between four local school districts
-- Schenectady, Bethlehem, Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake, and Watervliet
-- and UAlbany.
Sandra Mathison, associate dean and associate professor in the Department
of Educational Theory and Practice, will head this new study, which
will try to understand the tensions involved in launching a local effort
to improve science teaching during a time when state tests are becoming
Last May, CRSEP received funding from the NSF to provide opportunities
for the districts' 430 teachers of science, grades K-8, to improve their
science content knowledge and to strengthen curriculum and instruction
in science. As part of this effort, three teachers from the districts
are acting as Professional Development Specialists whose job is to develop
and deliver professional development to their colleagues.
During the summer and fall this group has been working with district
officials and UAlbany faculty to examine science curricular materials
and New York State Standards and Assessments, and to identify gaps in
the current curricula in the four districts - i.e. content areas called
for in the NYS standards but absent from packaged curricular materials.
The group's members are now preparing to work with their teaching colleagues
through a series of workshops, classroom visitations, and summer institutes
beginning in the spring.
Mathison's role will be to analyze the current state climate regarding
standards and assessment, study changes in teacher knowledge and classroom
instruction as a result of ongoing professional development, and document
the experience of a representative school in the partnership.
John Falco, superintendent of the Schenectady City School District,
and Audrey Champagne, UAlbany professor in the Department of Educational
Theory and Practice, are the principal investigators of the Local Systemic
Change Project. Vicky Kouba, associate professor in the Department of
Educational Theory and Practice, is responsible for developing materials
from the local project that science educators across the nation will
be able to use. Ann Crotty of the Schenectady City School District is
For more University at Albany information, visit its World Wide Web
site at http://www.Albany.edu.
November 28, 2000
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