Study: Eighth-grade students still lag in science

Just 31 percent of students were considered proficient or better on the test.

Eighth-graders in the U.S. are doing slightly better in science than they were two years ago, but seven out of 10 still are not considered proficient, the federal government said May 10. What’s more, just 2 percent have the advanced skills that could lead to careers in the field.

The information comes from the 2011 National Assessment of Educational Progress, also known as the Nation’s Report Card, released by the U.S. Department of Education (ED). The average score was 152, up from 150 in 2009.

Gerry Wheeler, interim head of the National Science Teachers Association, said the results showed “minuscule gains” in student achievement in science.…Read More

Teachers get a taste of real-world science—with impressive results

Students of teachers who participate in lab and field research tend to improve achievement in STEM fields.
Students of teachers who participate in lab and field research tend to show better achievement in STEM fields.

Giving teachers hands-on science experience not only helps improve student achievement, but also reduces teacher attrition, according to results from a Columbia University study.

Of the 145 teachers who completed Columbia University’s Summer Research Program (CUSRP) between 1994 and 2005, 32 New York teachers with similar backgrounds participated in a study to determine if taking part in hands-on science research enabled them to better teach their students.

“Teachers who participated in focused, intensive, and hands-on summer research programs produced a 10 percent increase in the pass rate of their students in New York state science Regents,” said Sam C. Silverstein, who founded the CUSRP and published the results of the study in Science magazine last fall.…Read More