With Rhode Island’s decision to adopt the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), a multi-state effort based on research showing how students learn best, educators have an immediate need for high-quality, accessible resources that effectively bolster student knowledge and interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Effective materials are not developed in a vacuum of research; they are collaboratively tested in an applied setting that evaluates their utility for educators and impact for students alike. Over a 12-month period, JASON Learning will work in partnership with school administrators and educators from West Warwick, Newport, and Smithfield, to help better ready these districts for NGSS by 1) collaboratively designing, piloting and evaluating an NGSS ready STEM unit (an effort which has statewide implications for future work), and 2) equipping STEM educators for their duties by providing access to an existing suite of NGSS adaptable JASON resources (professional development workshops, robust digital platform, etc.).
TERC will iteratively study the design and implementation of the JASON program in order to understand how this model influences teachers’ attitudes and learning, and how they translate their learning into NGSS classroom practices. Furthermore, TERC will explore the extent to which the program affects student interest, efficacy, and progress towards selected NGSS performance expectations. Via a two-cycle iterative research design, TERC will study both the extent and the ways in which the JASON program impacts teachers and students. In the first cycle, formative analysis of the research instruments and refinements made to the curriculum will take place. Ongoing formative and summative analysis will occur during the second cycle of research in order to study teacher and student outcomes.