News: News Archives
Award for AAAS's Project 2061 Staff
for Paper on Evaluating Textbooks
At its annual meeting in Philadelphia on 25 March, the National Association for Research in Science Teaching (NARST) presented two Project 2061 staff members with NARST's 2003 Distinguished Paper Award. Project 2061 is a long-term initiative of AAAS, which is dedicated to reforming science and mathematics education.
Entitled "How Well Do Middle School Science Programs Measure Up? Findings from Project 2061's Curriculum Review," the article describes in depth how Project 2061 conducted its landmark study of middle school science textbooks to evaluate how likely they are to support the teaching and learning of key science ideas. The evaluators found that the majority of the texts fall short in presenting the material effectively. Authored by Sofia Kesidou, a program director with Project 2061, and Jo Ellen Roseman, the director of Project 2061 and principal investigator for the study, the paper was published in the volume 39, number 6 issue of the Journal of Research in Science Teaching (JRST), the leading international journal for science educators.
The award has been given to the best JRST article published each year since 1974. All articles published by JRST are considered, but the 20 NARST members on the Awards Committee narrowed the field to 10 articles in the final round. Each article was judged on seven criteria: significance of the problem or issue, presentation of background information, adequacy of its approach to the problem, interpretation of conclusions, potential impact of the article, uniqueness and originality, and overall conduct and reporting of the research.
The judges' comments reflect the importance of the subject matter and the value of the article's contribution to the field. One judge declared it: "A solid and much needed study," while another wrote: "It offers an excellent instance of testing assumptions about textbooks and programs through a careful study focusing on learning goals (rather than contents) and using research based criteria, which constitutes an advance on previous studies on similar subjects. The interpretation of data is careful and reflective, always taking into account alternative explanations."
Continuing its work on curriculum materials, Project 2061 has teamed up with three major research universities to form the Center for Curriculum Materials in Science, a program which trains graduate students and postdoctoral students in research on and design of effective curriculum materials. The Center will also provide training to education students and current teachers-as well as serving as a forum where education researchers can share their work on the role of curriculum materials in teaching and learning science. The results of Project 2061's science and mathematics textbook evaluations are available online at www.Project2061.org.
27 March 2003