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NGSX: Scalable Professional Development for Three-Dimensional Science Learning

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NGSX (Next Generation Science Exemplar System) is a face-to-face professional development environment for teacher study groups, in which participants connect to an on-line system that poses tasks for each session. NGSX provides rich cases, supportive materials, and scaffolding tools to guide the work. A pilot pathway consist of series of 3 hour units with independent work between sessions (reading, writing assignments, trying things out in classrooms), resulting in a PD experience of approximately 25-30 hours across 8 weeks. The pathway focuses on explanation, argumentation, and modeling, key practices in the shifts involved in NGSS, set within the disciplinary ideas of matter and its interactions. Participants develop disciplinary ideas through science practices as they participate as learners. Participants then engage in in-depth analysis of video cases from classrooms at the elementary, middle, and high school level to analyze how science practices can take place in classrooms, and the pedagogical approaches for supporting students. Participants develop tools to engage learners meaningfully in the practices, develop a classroom culture that can support the practices, and develop the discourse strategies to scaffold the knowledge building elements of science practices. More than 300 teachers in 10 states have participated in field trails of NGSX. Analyses of teacher growth reveal growth in subject matter knowledge and shifts in beliefs about teaching and learning that undergird the shifts in NGSS. Initial analyses also suggest growth in pedagogical context knowledge underlying argumentation, explanation, and modeling.