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The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine
Board on Science Education
Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education
 Science Teachers' Learning: Enhancing Opportunities, Creating Supportive Context

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Report Brief

Science Teachers Learning Brief


Currently, many states are adopting the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) or are revising their own state standards in ways that reflect the NGSS. For students and schools, the implementation of any science standards rests with teachers. For those teachers, an evolving understanding about how best to teach science represents a significant transition in the way science is currently taught in most classrooms and it will require most science teachers to change how they teach.

That change will require learning opportunities for teachers that reinforce and expand their knowledge of the major ideas and concepts in science, their familiarity with a range of instructional strategies, and the skills to implement those strategies in the classroom. Providing these kinds of learning opportunities in turn will require profound changes to current approaches to supporting teachers' learning across their careers, from their initial training to continuing professional development.

A teacher's capability to improve students' scientific understanding is heavily influenced by the school and district in which they work, the community in which the school is located, and the larger professional communities to which they belong. Science Teachers' Learning provides guidance for schools and districts on how best to support teachers' learning and how to implement successful programs for professional development. This report makes actionable recommendations for science teachers' learning that take a broad view of what is known about science education, how and when teachers learn, and education policies that directly and indirectly shape what teachers are able to learn and teach.

The challenge of developing the expertise teachers need to implement the NGSS presents an opportunity to rethink professional learning for science teachers. Science Teachers' Learning will be a valuable resource for classrooms, departments, schools, districts, and professional organizations as they move to new ways to teach science.

Sponsors: Merck Company Foundation

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 Related Reports

NGSS grey Next Generation Science Standards: For States by States (2013), published by the National Academy Press, is the authoritative print version of the standards.  The standards are based largely on the 2011 Framework report (see below).  

Framework greyA Framework for K-12 Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas (2012) proposes a new approach to K-12 science education and identifies core ideas, crosscutting concepts and practices all K-12 students should learn. 

Science Assessment greyImplementing a new vision for how students learn about science will require new kinds of assessments.  Developing Assessments for the Next Generation Science Standards recommends strategies for assessing student progress in learning science as laid out by the Next Generation Science Standards.

Project Information
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