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Instructional Materials to Support the Next Generation Science Standards: Results of a Proof-of-Concept Study

Abstract

"The problem of how to improve elementary student science achievement in the United States is multi-faceted. To be effective, interventions must consider challenges associated with teaching, learning, and implementing instructional changes at a large scale. In this paper, we present findings from a study of an educative curriculum materials-based intervention that has three central design principles: 1) the materials are aligned with current knowledge about how people learn; 2) the educative components support teacher content and pedagogical content knowledge, and facilitate instructional implementation; and 3) the instructional activities use low-cost, readily available materials amenable to large-scale implementation. Our findings indicate that student learning gains are greater in classes where teachers implement the intervention than in comparison classes. In addition, the extent of materials implementation and fidelity to the pedagogical approach embodied in the materials are positively associated with student achievement gains. Implications of these findings for supporting implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards are discussed."

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