Paper No. 12
Presentation Time: 11:10 AM


HERBERT, Bruce, Geology and Geophysics, Texas A&M Univ, College Station, TX 77843-3115,

Development of the learning sciences has enhanced our knowledge of student learning, effective teaching practices, and learning assessment. The research base to support systemic change of educational programs and organizations is much more limited. PLC-METS, a professional development program for early career, K12 science teachers, created a professional learning community (PLC) that supported intern and induction teachers in their efforts to introduce inquiry-based learning into their classrooms. We used design-based research and program evaluation to explore the scaffolding that allowed early-career teachers to overcome the intrinsic and extrinsic barriers that limit their implementation of a standards-based science curriculum that incorporates inquiry lessons. Our research design used a partially mixed, concurrent, quasi-control research design with qualitative and quantitative data sources, including quantitative pre-post surveys, interviews, lesson plans developed by early-career teachers, and classroom observations of inquiry lesson implementation. The persistence of teachers in the program was high, with 86% staying active for 3 full semesters. Our participants showed statistically significant improvement in their understanding of scientific inquiry, the ability to design lessons that reflect key features of scientific inquiry, success in implementing these lessons in their classrooms and classroom management. The effectiveness of our program was explained by a production function, where the factors that impact overall program effectiveness are multiplicative. This model explained how small differences in a program’s ability to meet a teacher’s needs created large differences in the impact of the program to support change in teacher practice.