Contextualized Content Courses: Lessons Learned and Implications
Authors: Joan Karp, Hannah Sevian, Marilyn Decker, Christos Zahopoulos, Bob Chen, Arthur Eisenkraft

1. Context of the Work
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1. Context of the Work
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The Boston Science Partnership (BSP) is in Year 4 of a five-year partnership between the Boston Public Schools (BPS), the University of Massachusetts Boston (UMB), and Northeastern University (NEU). One of the project's aims is to strengthen BPS middle and high school science education, primarily by raising teacher quality, in order to increase student achievement, numbers of students taking higher-level science courses, and students entering STEM higher education programs. Additional goals include improving university-level teaching, training STEM faculty to be knowledgeable partners in science education reform efforts, and creating institutional changes at the universities that will ensure a continuation of support for and involvement with K-12 science education. The Program Evaluation and Research Group (PERG) at Lesley University is the external evaluator. The Education Development Center (EDC) provides a research component.

Contextualized Content Courses (CCC) is one of several key strategies the BSP is using to reach its goals. These courses offer graduate credit and aim to provide high-level content to middle and high school teachers while modeling good instructional practices that are embedded in the BPS curriculum. There are many documented positive outcomes of this approach to professional development, including increased self-efficacy in science understanding and teaching (1, 2, 3), positive impacts on student achievement (4), and teacher shifts from more traditional, more lecture-based instructional models to more inquiry approaches (5).

The CCCs also bring together many STEM faculty and BPS teachers as co-instructors, involving STEM faculty in science education and exposing them to new instructional strategies. Courses were originally taught during two-week summer sessions only; semester long after-school courses have been added during the past year.

This presentation will include preliminary results of ongoing data collection from both evaluation and research efforts. The panel of presenters will include PIs and a member of the external evaluation team.

1 Cantrell, P.; Young, S.; Moore, A.D.; Factors affecting the science teaching efficacy of preservice teachers; J. Sci. Teacher Educ. 2003, 14(3), 177-192.

2 Khourey-Bowers, C.; Simonis, D.G.; Longitudinal study of middle grades chemistry professional development: Enhancement of personal science teaching self-efficacy and outcome expectancy. J. Sci. Teacher Educ. 2004, 15(3), 175-195.

3 Palmer, D.; Durability of changes in self-efficacy of preservice primary teachers; Intl. J. Sci. Educ. 2006, 28(6), 655-671.

4 Hill, H.C.; Rowan, B.; Ball, D.L.; Effects of teachers' mathematical knowledge for teaching on student achievement; Am. Educ. Res. J. 2005, 42(2), 371-406.

5 Irving, M.M.; Dickson, L.A.; Keyser, J.; Retraining public secondary science teachers by upgrading their content knowledge and pedagogical skills. J. Negro Educ. 1999, 68(3), 409-418.