GSA Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado, USA - 2016

Paper No. 10-5
Presentation Time: 9:15 AM


PYLE, Eric J., Department of Geology & Environmental Science, James Madison University, MSC 6903, Harrisonburg, VA 22807,

In a recent report from the US Department of Education, most states report shortages of qualified science teachers. In states where secondary Earth science is offered, similar shortages of Earth science teachers are noted. This relatively high demand could be seen as encouraging, but new teachers under-qualified in Earth science could be “press-ganged” into service as Earth science teachers, to the peril of the quality of education their students receive. The Council for the Accreditation of Educator Programs (CAEP) has frameworks for accrediting teacher education programs and uses specialist professional associations (SPAs) for national recognitioncriteria. The National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) has served as the SPA for science teacher preparation programs, with standards for secondary and middle school science, and elementary science specialist programs. However, only the secondary standards are employed on a consistent basis for recognition, with as few as 10% of the new science teachers each year completing licensure programs that have both CAEP accreditation and NSTA recognition. There is also a lack of assessment data to demonstrate the impact of these standards on the quality of the new science teachers.

The NGSS (and the Framework for K-12 Science Education) are useful as a guide for the development of new curricula the classroom level as well as for new teachers of science. The nature of Earth & Space Science in these documents represents an opportunity for setting a comprehensive structure that will not only ensure congruence between curricula and teacher preparation, but also for the cooperation of professional organizations in the development and application of recognition standards. This presentation will outline the collaboration between NSTA and the Association for Science Teacher Education (ASTE), with preparation standards being guided by the K-12 Framework. The vision for these standards includes a peer-review process that ensures high quality teachers of science as well as procedures for the assessment of impact of this recognition. There is a keen interest in the work of NAGT and NESTA to help achieve this vision, with an invitation for further collaboration to ensure that the next generation of teachers of Earth science can best support their students’ Earth science learning.