MI-STAR TEACHER PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT TO SUPPORT IMPLEMENTATION OF NGSS-ALIGNED THREE-DIMENSIONAL CURRICULUM AND ASSESSMENTS (Invited Presentation)
Mi-STAR curriculum units are ordered within and across grades to promote progressive growth of students’ understanding and ability. Central to the curriculum are a series of “unit challenges” based on real-world problems or phenomena relevant to students’ lives and 21st-century society. These challenges naturally allow for the integration of content from multiple disciplines. Unit challenges require students to engage simultaneously with disciplinary core ideas, science and engineering practices, and crosscutting concepts repeatedly throughout a unit. Mi-STAR assesses the effectiveness of the curriculum by monitoring students’ three-dimensional mastery of science and engineering.
Teachers’ success at implementing the new curriculum is supported by ongoing PD, including an online Mi-STAR Academy, face-to-face micro-teaching events, just-in-time support for teachers who pilot test curriculum units, professional learning communities, and in-school partnerships.
The first Mi-STAR units were piloted during the 2015-16 academic year. Emerging findings indicate the curriculum increases student interest and engagement as compared with traditional curricula. Pre and post assessments of student learning, as well as embedded assessments, indicate that the curriculum advances students’ understanding of science and engineering. Teacher concerns, which must be addressed through PD, include the time required to implement NGSS-aligned curriculum and assessments, maintaining a student-centered classroom focus, and addressing all NGSS grade-band performance expectations. Almost all teachers who have participated in Mi-STAR to date express enthusiasm for the curriculum and PD because they are having a positive impact on their students.