GLENVIEW, IL -March 29, 2007 -International comparisons of eighth grade science teaching practices demonstrate that high achieving countries consistently link science learning activities to strong concept development. Yet, in U.S. classrooms, science lessons are often characterized by a variety of activities that may engage students in science work but do not necessarily connect to the development of science content ideas.1

To help teachers better connect hands-on inquiry-based learning to the development of science content understanding, Pearson Achievement Solutions today introduces Enhancing Instruction in Science (EIS). Designed for science teachers in grades two through eight, EIS is a professional development program that helps teachers work with their students to draw coherent connections between classroom content and activities and larger conceptual ideas about science. Pearson Achievement Solutions unveiled EIS at the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) 2007 National Conference on Science Education in St. Louis last week.

The EIS approach to professional development was inspired by the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) 1999 Video Study. The video study examined teaching practices in the United States and in four countries that outperformed the United States in science achievement on the 1999 TIMSS assessment: the Czech Republic, Japan, Australia and the Netherlands. According to a 2006 report titled, "Teaching Science in Five Countries: Results from the Third International Mathematics and Science (TIMSS) 1999 Video Study," what differentiated the four higher-achieving countries from the United States was their focus on science content. The report revealed that although each of these countries had a unique approach, they all had strategies for engaging students with core science concepts and ideas.

"Enhancing Instruction in Science is a professional development solution that deepen teachers´ understanding of how to teach science content," said Beth Wray, CEO of Pearson Achievement Solutions. "This approach will help districts achieve consistent improvement in science education by helping teachers develop a deeper understanding of the science ideas in their state and local standards, along with flexible strategies for connecting those science ideas to classroom instruction."

EIS is a collection of seven professional development modules. Six modules focus on specific discipline-based content knowledge in physical science, life science or earth/space sciences. One module focuses on scientific inquiry and explanation. Each module is 18 hours and can be delivered on-site, online, or through a combination of on-site and online training. The EIS modules help teachers gain a better understanding of core science concepts, and learn to identify student misconceptions and make wise decisions about science lesson planning. By connecting science concepts with examples in the "real world," students will be able to develop more scientific, evidence-based explanations and ways of knowing.

"In addition to ensuring that there is a clear connection between science activities and content, it is critical that teachers address the student perspective around science concepts," said Wray.
"Students often come into a science classroom with their own ideas and conceptions –or misconceptions –based on their personal experiences. Enhancing Instruction in Science helps teachers understand the content in such a way that they can predict and identify student misconceptions, and then address misconceptions during lesson planning and classroom teaching, using inquiry methods to foster deeper content understanding in their students."

About LessonLab Research Institute
LessonLab Research Institute, the independent research arm of Pearson Achievement Solutions, engages in a variety of research projects, focused on teaching and improvement of teaching. Current projects are focused on science and mathematics teaching and are funded by the U.S. Department of Education Institute of Education Sciences and the National Science Foundation. All projects are designed and conducted by LessonLab´s research scientists, in collaboration with researchers around the globe.

About Pearson Achievement Solutions
Pearson Achievement Solutions develops and delivers sustainable district-wide professional learning programs that transform the culture of teaching and result in schools organized for success with increased student achievement and teacher retention. Drawing from a collection of research-based programs, evidence-based practices and program implementation processes, the company´s solutions include expanding district and school improvement efforts, optimizing the decision-making process, enhancing instruction and maximizing professional growth, among others.

Pearson Achievement Solutions is committed to improving teaching and ensuring that every child has equal access to an exceptional education. The company is part of Pearson Education, the world´s leading integrated education company, which in turn is part of Pearson (NYSE: PSO) the international media company For more information on how Pearson Achievement Solutions can help your district meet and exceed federal and state mandates, go to http://www.pearsonachievement.com/.

About the Author:

eSchool News