2008 Joint Meeting of The Geological Society of America, Soil Science Society of America, American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies with the Gulf Coast Section of SEPM

Paper No. 7
Presentation Time: 9:45 AM

The Ohio Partnership for the Far East Region Science Teachers

BEIERSDORFER, Raymond E.1, SMITH, Shane V.1 and STURRUS, W. Gregg2, (1)Geological and Environmental Sciences, Youngstown State University, One University Plaza, Youngstown, OH 44555, (2)Physics and Astronomy, Youngstown State University, One University Plaza, Youngstown, OH 44555, ray@cc.ysu.edu

The Ohio Partnership for the Far East Region Science Teachers (OPFERST) is a three-year project funded by Federal Math Science Partnership Funds through a grant to the Ohio Dept. of Education. OPFERST is a partnership (opferst.ysu.edu) of Youngstown State University science and education faculty, trained facilitators and the county and city science consultants. Every (47) school district in the region has signed on. Three hundred forty seven teachers representing Ashtabula, Columbiana, Mahoning and Trumbull Counties, as well as Warren City and Youngstown City schools have participated.

Earth Science is included in the Ohio Academic Content Standards for all grades. Grade-level indicators include important concepts regarding earth materials and resources, landscape evolution, historical geology and plate tectonics.

The vision of OPFERST is to improve the teaching and learning of the Ohio Science Academic Content Standards. Project goals are: 1) Increase science content knowledge of teachers; 2) Implement effective instructional practices; 3) Improve students performance in science; and 4) Develop professional learning communities which will lead to programmatic changes within districts. Goals one through three are met by modeling inquiry-based methods for teaching science content standards. Goal four is met by ongoing meetings through-out the school year, classroom visits by YSU faculty and fieldtrips to the YSU Campus by classes led by OPFERST teachers. Evaluation of OPFERST includes demographic and classroom practice data, pre- and post-tests of participants, journals, homework and the administration of evaluation instruments with some OPFERST participants' students. Evaluation results from years one and two indicate that the percentage of teachers that show significant gain in content knowledge between the pre-test and post-test range between 41% and 74%. Based on an overall average, 57% of the participants show significant gain in teacher content knowledge.