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Reform benefits proficiency in Ohio

01/20/1999

A united, educated village is what it takes to raise children's test scores, says a Miami University study assessing the effects of educational reform in Ohio.

Among findings in a report on Discovery, Ohio's statewide reform of mathematics and science education, is that in schools where more than half of teachers participated in Discovery-sponsored professional development and where state, district and Discovery efforts were coordinated and supported by parents and community, significantly more eighth-graders passed their Ohio proficiency tests in science and mathematics.

In schools with many Discovery teachers but with practices and policies that were not yet aligned with reform efforts, student passing rates did not vary substantively.

Among classroom activities that increase with teacher development in math and science are problem solving, working in small groups to solve problems, writing about problem solving and repeating experiments to check results.

Such activities are known to improve student understanding and achievement.

"Research shows that teachers who continue their professional development will change their classroom practices and that will often lead to better learning by students," says Jane Butler Kahle, Condit Endowed Professor of Science Education at Miami.

Discovery-Ohio's Systemic Initiative, begun in 1991 with a $10 million National Science Foundation grant, and funded by the general assembly since 1996, has grown to address many aspects of educational reform across Ohio. It targets schools with high minority student populations, and is succeeding at bridging learning gaps among student groups, uniting local and state efforts, and building collaborations among universities, urban districts, communities and parents.

Discovery is helping change the role of classroom teacher from "teller of facts" to scientific coach. Teachers trained in Project Discovery's "inquiry-based" methods guide students to develop their own understanding of scientific and mathematical principles.

For more details, contact the Discovery office at (513) 529-1686 or http://www.discovery.k12.oh.us.

A united, educated village is what it takes to raise children's test scores, says a Miami University study assessing the effects of educational reform in Ohio.

Among findings in a report on Discovery, Ohio's statewide reform of mathematics and science education, is that in schools where more than half of teachers participated in Discovery-sponsored professional development and where state, district and Discovery efforts were coordinated and supported by parents and community, significantly more eighth-graders passed their Ohio proficiency tests in science and mathematics.

In schools with many Discovery teachers but with practices and policies that were not yet aligned with reform efforts, student passing rates did not vary substantively.

Among classroom activities that increase with teacher development in math and science are problem solving, working in small groups to solve problems, writing about problem solving and repeating experiments to check results.

Such activities are known to improve student understanding and achievement.

"Research shows that teachers who continue their professional development will change their classroom practices and that will often lead to better learning by students," says Jane Butler Kahle, Condit Endowed Professor of Science Education at Miami.

Discovery-Ohio's Systemic Initiative, begun in 1991 with a $10 million National Science Foundation grant, and funded by the general assembly since 1996, has grown to address many aspects of educational reform across Ohio. It targets schools with high minority student populations, and is succeeding at bridging learning gaps among student groups, uniting local and state efforts, and building collaborations among universities, urban districts, communities and parents.

Discovery is helping change the role of classroom teacher from "teller of facts" to scientific coach. Teachers trained in Project Discovery's "inquiry-based" methods guide students to develop their own understanding of scientific and mathematical principles.

For more details, contact the Discovery office at (513) 529-1686 or http://www.discovery.k12.oh.us.

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