Designing Professional Development for Teachers of Science and Mathematics

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Susan Loucks-Horsley, Katherine E. Stiles, Susan Mundry, Nancy Love & Peter W. Hewson

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  • Dedication

    We dedicate this edition to our friend and coauthor Susan Loucks-Horsley (1947–2000) whose seminal ideas and leadership continue to significantly impact our work and our lives.

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    Foreword

    Educators who are committed to high levels of learning for all students and who understand the link between student learning and educator learning will find guidance and inspiration in this third edition of Designing Professional Development for Teachers of Science and Mathematics by Susan Loucks-Horsley, Katherine E. Stiles, Susan Mundry, Nancy Love, and Peter W. Hewson. Like its predecessors, this edition places the design of professional development firmly within the context of standards-based reform and a performance-based culture that seeks to continuously improve professional practice and student achievement.

    The third edition continues in the tradition of its predecessors by linking professional learning and student achievement, with a particular focus on closing the achievement gaps that exist between rich and poor students, and students of color and White and Asian students. As Designing Professional Development for Teachers of Science and Mathematics points out, the planning and implementation of effective professional development efforts always occur within a particular setting that presents unique goals, strengths, resources, and barriers. Because there are no formulas, successful planning and implementation require—as the authors make clear—the blending of research, “practitioner wisdom,” and “a repertoire of strategies from which to choose,” with the emphasis always on “a process of thoughtful, conscious decision making.”

    This edition extends the groundbreaking work presented in the first two editions by expanding its discussion regarding the intended outcomes of professional development strategies, including developing leadership, and ways to combine approaches to serve various purposes; extending its discussion on the role of evaluation in promoting continuous reflection and improvement; updating its discussion of knowledge, beliefs, and recent research; and elaborating on the contextual factors that influence professional development, with a new emphasis on practical approaches for assessing context in relationship to each factor. Of particular interest to readers of the third edition will be the authors’ discussion of professional learning communities, an approach that has taken hold in many K-12 schools in the past few years.

    Although Susan Loucks-Horsley passed away in 2000, she remains the first author of this book, an ongoing testament to the power of her ideas and colleagueship. The high regard in which she was held by her coauthors and the effects she had on their professional lives and that of countless others (including myself) clearly demonstrate the influence Susan continues to have on the field of professional development a decade after her untimely death.

    DennisSparksEmeritus Executive Director National Staff Development Council Ann Arbor, Michigan

    Acknowledgments

    From its conception, this book has been a complex undertaking. The first edition originally represented a year of collaboration among people from vastly different “communities”: practitioners and researchers; scientists, mathematicians, and educators; people working in elementary, middle, and high schools and higher education settings; and those with school, district, state, and national perspectives. Our challenge was to avoid simply gathering and describing efforts to support professional learning but rather to examine and understand those efforts, search for common themes and struggles, and write a book that represented the collective wisdom of the field. The success of the first and second editions of this book rests in large part on the contributions of hundreds of voices.

    Hearing these voices was originally made possible by a five-year grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for the creation and funding of the National Institute for Science Education (NISE). The NISE was a partnership between the Wisconsin Center for Education Research at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and the National Center for Improving Science Education, now at WestEd. It was headquartered in Madison, Wisconsin, from 1996 to 2001. The work of the NISE was carried out by several different teams, one of which was the Professional Development Team, whose members authored the first edition of this book.

    First and foremost, we are grateful to our original collaborators: Hubert Dyasi, who, along with Rebecca Dyasi, contributed the case on the Workshop Center at City College, New York; Susan Friel, who contributed the case on Teach-Stat; Judy Mumme, who contributed the case on the Mathematics Renaissance; Cary Sneider, who contributed the Global Systems Science case; and Karen Worth along with Melanie Barron, who contributed the case on the Cambridge public schools. These exceptional professional developers shared their learning, their struggles, and their enthusiasm for their work. Their stories, updated for this edition, illustrate the main ideas we formulated together.

    We thank our colleagues for their careful reviews and substantive contributions to the first edition (Joan Ferrini-Mundy, Iris Weiss, Deborah Schifter, Josefina Arce, Ed Silver, Ned Levine, Mark St. John, and Vernon Sells) and to the second edition (Harold Pratt, Page Keeley, Susan Koba, Gay Gordon, and Kathy DiRanna). In support of the first and second editions, we are grateful for the vision and guidance of the leadership of the NISE—Andy Porter, Terry Millar, and Denice Denton—and the National Center for Improving Science Education—Senta Raizen and Ted Britton. We appreciate the original support from the National Science Foundation, especially that of Susan Snyder, Margaret Cozzins, Larry Suter, and Daryl Chubin.

    In the years following the publication of the first and second editions, many projects and individuals were instrumental in extending the work of Designing Professional Development for Teachers of Science and Mathematics. The relatively lengthy list of those we want to thank reflects the sustained impact of the book on our and our colleagues’ work in professional development.

    • The NISE Cases Group—Ned Levine, Ed Silver, Margaret Smith, and Mary Kay Stein—worked with the NISE Professional Development Team to develop four cases of professional development practice that elucidated the ways in which the design framework is implemented in different contexts.
    • Through their participation in the NISE Strategies Working Group, Carne Barnett-Clarke, Virginia Bastable, Mark Driscoll, David Hartney, Barbara Miller, Judy Mumme, Lynn Rankin, Ann Rosebery, Susan Jo Russell, Mary Kay Stein, and Jo Topps enriched our understanding of three professional development strategies—curriculum implementation, immersion in inquiry and problem solving, and case discussions.
    • The NISE professional development cadre disseminated the first book to thousands of educators, and we thank them for their commitment to getting the ideas in the book into the hands of so many practitioners.
    • We are grateful to the many professional developers who opened their doors to video cameras so that WestEd and WGBH's Teachers as Learners project could capture images of effective professional development in action and teach us all more about teachers as learners.
    • Our colleagues in WestEd's National Academy for Science and Mathematics Education Leadership have greatly enhanced our understanding of what it takes to translate the ideas in this book into action in districts and schools across the country, and we thank this community of learners for contributing to our own learning over the last 11 years.
    • The National Science Foundation continues to support our work through a current grant to develop a professional development simulation and accompanying learning modules designed to bring the research and foundational ideas in this book to life through active engagement and learning. We especially thank Robert Gibbs at NSF for his guidance and support, as well as the members of our simulation development team, Carol Bershad, Eliza Spang, and Nancy Hurley; and the design team, Anita Bernhardt, Brenda CampbellJones, Stephen Getty, Margaret Holzer, Mike Klentschy, Susan Koba, Carolyn Landel, Ramon Lopez, and Jim Short. We also thank the numerous professional developers who have field-tested the simulation and contributed to our reflections on the content in this third edition.

    We want to thank our colleague Eliza Spang for her contributions to several chapters in this book. She updated literature reviews and helped us revise the professional development design framework. Jennifer Novakoski diligently stuck with us through each iteration of the development of the graphics in the third edition and constantly challenged us with thoughtful questions. Deanna Maier once again worked her magic and formatted the manuscript with meticulous attention to detail. For his enduring patience and encouragement as our editor, we heartily thank Dan Alpert at Corwin Press.

    Finally, for their patience and support through the lengthy period of writing yet another book, we thank our families. Without your constant encouragement none of this would be possible.

    The contributions of the following reviewers of the third edition are gratefully acknowledged:

    Nan Dempsey, Regional Coordinator

    Upstate Mathematics and Science Regional Center

    Duncan, SC

    Mark Kaufman, Director

    Regional Alliance for Mathematics and Science Education TERC

    Cambridge, MA

    Susan Koba, Science Education Consultant

    Omaha, NE

    Douglas Llewellyn, Professor

    St. Johns Fisher College

    Rochester, NY

    About the Authors

    Susan Loucks-Horsley was the lead author of the first edition of Designing Professional Development for Teachers of Science and Mathematics, and she directed the professional development research group for the National Institute for Science Education on which the book is based. At the time of her death in 2000, Susan was associate executive director of Biological Sciences and Curriculum Study (BSCS) and senior research associate for Science and Mathematics at WestEd. She had previously served as director of Professional Development and Outreach at the National Research Council's Center for Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Education, where she promoted and monitored standards-based education, especially the National Science Education Standards. Susan was a leading researcher, writer, and professional developer who enjoyed collaborating with others to address education's toughest problems. She was the senior author of several books, including Continuing to Learn: A Guidebook for Teacher Development (1987), An Action Guide for School Improvement (1985), and Elementary School Science for the 90s (1990). In addition, she wrote numerous reports on teacher development for the National Center for Improving Science Education, as well as chapters and articles on related topics. While at the University of Texas/Austin Research and Development Center for Teacher Education, she worked on the development team of the Concerns-Based Adoption Model (CBAM), a classic framework for understanding and leading change efforts. Susan remains the first author on this third edition of the book in recognition of her seminal ideas that are still the foundation for the book.

    Katherine E. Stiles is currently a senior program associate at WestEd in the Mathematics, Science, and Technology Program, where she leads projects focused on enhancing leadership and professional development in science and mathematics education and conducts evaluation of state and district education initiatives. She is codirector of WestEd's National Academy for Science and Mathematics Education Leadership and several other projects designed to enhance the knowledge and skills of leaders. She is coauthor of books and articles focused on professional development and leadership, including Designing Professional Development for Teachers of Science and Mathematics (Corwin, 2003) and Leading Every Day: 124 Actions for Effective Leadership(Corwin, 2002, 2006), which received the National Staff Development Council's 2003 Outstanding Book of the Year Award, and is lead author of the Facilitator's Guide to Leading Every Day (Corwin, 2006). Katherine is project director for an NSF-funded project to develop asimulation game and learning modules basedon the research that is the foundation for the Professional Development Design Framework and the content of the third edition of this book.

    As a senior staff member on the Using Data Project, a collaboration between TERC and WestEd, she codeveloped the professional development program to support teachers and leaders as they engaged in collaborative inquiry into data and is coauthor of the book that resulted from the project's work, The Data Coach's Guide to Improving Learning for All Students: Unleashing the Power of Collaborative Inquiry (Corwin, 2008). Katherine has over 10 years of experience evaluating science and mathematics education and professional development programs, including NSF-funded statewide projects and state-funded Mathematics and Science Partnerships. In 2002, Katherine was awarded the Paul D. Hood Award for Distinguished Contribution to the Field from WestEd. Prior to joining WestEd in 1995, Katherine worked at the National Science Resources Center in Washington, D.C., as a science curriculum developer and authored four curriculum units for the Science and Technology for Children program. With degrees in psychology, special education, and education, and teaching experience in elementary programs, she brings 20 years of experience to her current work in science and mathematics education and professional development.

    Susan Mundry is currently deputy director of Learning Innovations at WestEd and associate director of WestEd's Mathematics, Science, and Technology Program. She directs several national and regional projects focused on improving educational practice and oversees the research and evaluation projects of Learning Innovations. She was codirector of a research study examining the distribution of highly qualified teachers in New York and Maine for the Northeast and Islands Regional Education Laboratory and project director for the evaluation of the Intel Mathematics Initiative, a professional development program for elementary and middle grade teachers aimed at increasing student outcomes in mathematics. She is also a principal investigator for two National Science Foundation projects that are developing products to promote the use of research-based practice in science and mathematics. Since 2000, Susan has codirected the National Academy for Science and Mathematics Education Leadership, which provides educational leaders with training and technical assistance on professional development design, leading educational change, group facilitation, data analysis and use, and general educational leadership, as well as access to research-based information to improve teaching and learning. Building on this work, she provides technical assistance to several large urban school districts engaged in enhancing leadership and improving math and science programs.

    As a senior research associate for the National Institute for Science Education (1997–2000), Mundry conducted research on attributes of effective professional development. She served on the national evaluation team for the study of the Eisenhower Professional Development program led by the American Institutes for Research where she worked on the development of national survey instruments and the protocols for case studies. From 1982 to 1997, Mundry served in many roles from staff developer to associate director at The NETWORK Inc, a research and development organization focused on organizational change and dissemination of promising education practice. There, she managed the work of the National Center for Improving Science Education and the Center for Effective Communication, provided technical assistance to schools on issues of equity and desegregation, oversaw national dissemination programs, and codeveloped the “Change Game” (Making Change for School Improvement), a simulation game that enhances leaders’ ability to lead change efforts in schools and districts.

    Susan has written several books, chapters, and articles based on her work. She is coauthor of A Leader's Guide to Science Curriculum Topic Study (Corwin, 2009), Designing Effective Professional Development for Teachers of Science and Mathematics (second edition) (Corwin, 2003), Leading Every Day: 124 Actions for Effective Leadership (Corwin, 2002, 2006), which was named a National Staff Development Council Book of the Year in 2003, and The Data Coach's Guide to Improving Learning for All Students (Corwin, 2008).

    Nancy Love is director of Program Development at Research for Better Teaching in Acton, Massachusetts, where she leads this education-consulting group's research and development. She is the former director of the Using Data Project, a collaboration between TERC and WestEd, where she led the development of a comprehensive professional development program to improve teaching and learning through effective and collaborative use of school data. This program has produced significant gains in student achievement as well as increased collaboration and data use in schools across the country. Love has authored several books and articles on data use, including The Data Coach's Guide to Improving Learning for All Students: Unleashing the Power of Collaborative Inquiry (Corwin, 2008) and Using Data to Improve the Learning for All: A Collaborative Inquiry Approach (Corwin, 2009). She is also well-known for her work in professional development both as a presenter and author of articles. In 2006, she was awarded the Susan Loucks-Horsley Award from the National Staff Development Council in recognition of her significant national contribution to the field of staff development and to the efficacy of others.

    Peter W. Hewson is professor of Science Education at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. He teaches in the undergraduate science teacher education and graduate science education programs and coordinates a professional development school in Madison. He has been deeply involved in the development of a conceptual change framework that informs the teaching and learning of science; the framework also has major implications for teacher education and professional development. He has published extensively on these and related topics. He played a major role in opening a dialogue between researchers in South Africa and the United States; this led to the establishment of an annual Research School in South Africa with particular emphasis on the professional development of new researchers in science and mathematics education. In 2009, he received the Distinguished Contributions to Science Education Through Research Award from the National Association for Research in Science Teaching. He received his DPhil in theoretical nuclear physics from Oxford University and taught physics and science education in South Africa before moving to the United States.

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