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New NSF Funded Study Looking To Recruit PD Providers

Dear Professional Development Provider,

We are delighted to say that we have received NSF funding for a new study, titled Professional Development Models and Outcomes for Science Teachers (PDMOST). We plan to recruit up to 150 PD providers nationwide who will be sponsoring PD programs in summer 2015.

The basics for our study are as follows. We plan to examine participating teachers' PD experiences, as well as the changes in their Subject Matter Knowledge and Pedagogical Content Knowledge as a result of participation in PD programs. The project’s assessment tools (pre and post program surveys) are based on the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Our pilot studies have shown that there is a wide variation in the approaches used in PD programs (e.g., on-line inquiry activities, field trips, work with scientists, etc.), and there appear to be substantive differences in resultant teacher gains. While individual programs use evaluation to improve their offerings, there are few "comparative studies" like PDMOST that identify successful approaches across a variety of fields, grade bands, and teacher backgrounds.

Our department is well equipped to carry out this large-scale study, having successfully completed several similar research projects on behalf of NSF and NIH, as well as numerous PD programs. We are passionate about uncovering the kinds of experiences that best help those who work hard to foster their students’ interest in the sciences. In addition to having the participants complete the pre and post program survey, we will ask as well that you complete a short survey about your program. For your participation, we offer to provide summary statistics about the teachers in your PD program, as compared with the averages of all participants in this study.

If you are interested, please reply to this email and answer the following questions:

  1. What science(s) are offered or taught in the summer workshop(s)?
  2. What grade levels are served at the summer workshop(s)?
  3. What is the length of the summer workshop(s)?


Thank you in advance,

Philip M. Sadler, Ed.D.
F.W. Wright Senior Lecturer in the Department of Astronomy
Director, Science Education Department
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
60 Garden Street, MS-71
Cambridge, MA  02138

Contact: R. Bruce Ward, Ed.D. at