GSA Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, USA - 2019

Paper No. 253-3
Presentation Time: 8:30 AM


THOMAS, Jeff D., Geological Sciences, Central Connecticut State University, 1615 Stanley Street, New Britain, CT 06050 and DREW, Sally, Central Connecticut State University, 1615 Stanley St., Copernicus Hall, Central CT State University, New Britain, CT 06050

A design-based research(DBR) project recently investigated the context and impacts of a three year federally-funded professional development (PD) project, introducing 42 middle school science teachers to pedagogical shifts required to help students meet rigorous disciplinary expectations outlined in Next Generation Science Standards and Common Core State Standards for literacy. Teachers were provided with seven innovative standards-based earth and space science (ESS) units that seamlessly blended science and literacy practices. A goal of the PD was to improve teachers’ understanding of some of the major instructional and assessment shifts, including NGSS three-dimensional learning by leveraging disciplinarily literacy practices in order to improve students’ science literacy.

One of the central interventions of this PD project was to introduce dozens of disciplinary literacy instructional and assessment strategies within each of the seven ESS units. Disciplinary literacy (DL) refers to reading, writing, and communicating in a discipline in ways that address how disciplinary experts, such as scientists, think and the skills and tools they use within the discipline (Pearson, Moje, & Greenleaf, 2010; NRC, 2012, Windschitl, Thompson, Braaten, & Stroupe, 2012). Some of the DL practices for teachers to use with their students are more is the ability to use reading, writing, listening, and speaking as tools to access, remember, and communicate scientific content such as using science vocabulary in lab reports. These skills for secondary science students are critical in the development of students’ understanding of science. Complementary, derived science literacy, is the application of accumulated scientific knowledge and skills in school settings, scientific settings, and in everyday life. These practices, which work in concert with the fundamental literacy, align closely to NGSS science and engineering practices such as engaging in argument from evidence (Drew & Thomas, 2018; Norris & Phillips, 2003). Together, these DL practices are central to support students develop three-dimensional science learning in order to improve student achievement in science. The DL practices from this PD project will be shared as well as the data that highlights the shifts in teachers’ practices.