Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Nancy Songer comments on NAEP results; believes science education improving

Tags: digital signage, educational studies, science education, songer, testing

An article published on the Education Week website on June 19, 2012, reports on the just-released science activity results from the 2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress. The article cites several people who find the results disappointing. Nancy Songer, however, sees a silver lining:

Ms. Butler Songer, who is also one of many advisers providing feedback on the development of the new national science standards, said she finds it promising that NAEP and national organizations like Achieve are continuing to recognize the need to change science education and build “fused knowledge,” or content knowledge plus science practices. These current efforts are part of the necessary “pieces coming together” to improve science education, she said, which include professional development to help teachers teach science better, curriculum and standards to guide teaching, and tests to measure how well students are understanding these concepts.

“We’ve maintained a misconception in what it meant to know science,” she said. “While it’s taken awhile to uproot this idea, what we know now is that you can’t get to a deeper level of understanding in science without working in science in a sophisticated way. You have to use models or gather and apply evidence from experiments to that concept in order to really know science. It’s no longer enough to settle for memorizing facts.”

Nancy Songer is a professor in the School of Education.

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