The National Science Foundation has awarded $1,228,857 to the learning community of the Pen West California School of Science.
The three-year project, Research-Based Professional Development for Science Teachers and its Impact on Student Learning, is led by PennWest Instructor Dr. Peter Cormas from the Department of Education. Dr. Louise Nicholson, Department of Biology, Dr. Kyle Fredrick, Department of Earth Sciences. and Dr. Min Li of the Department of Chemistry.
The grant will conduct a type of professional development known as a learning community, determine how this community relates to student learning, and extend its framework to other STEM (science, technology, engineering, Mathematics) used to contribute to best practices for extending beyond the department. educational institution.
The project aims not only to produce literate science students, but also to determine how to achieve this.
“This project takes a scientific approach, allowing learning communities – in this case groups of teachers with a common interest in science education – to make a difference in student science learning and, more broadly, science literacy. We’ll see if we can do that,” said Nicholson. “Learning communities have been shown to be an effective means of professional development in the K–12 environment, and this project applies the same concepts to the University of California School of Science. We are rigorously investigating whether learning communities influence science education and, if so, how changes might occur.We are looking at faculty participants and students in the courses they teach We analyze data at all levels, from both
According to Cormas, the grant is one of the largest NSF-funded grants to improve undergraduate STEM education. This amount reflects the large number of faculty participants who receive scholarships, as well as funding for conference trips to present their findings to science faculty at other universities.
The project will also partner with RAND Corp., one of the largest US policy and evaluation think tanks, to evaluate the project.
The award started on August 1st. The group hopes to complete the planning and preparation phase in the fall and launch its first learning community in the spring. The group should complete the project with data analysis and final report by 2025.
The Science Department will publish the findings after the project is closed and will take the project to other Penwest campuses and all other state system colleges.
The National Science Foundation supports the research, innovation and discoveries that underpin this country’s economic growth.